Another Crash in Lunar Tunes
August 4, 2011
Our moon has two faces. One is the familiar man-in-the-moon side that always faces Earth. The other side is mountainous and heavily cratered, possessing a thicker crust with almost none of the large impact basins we see as dark maria on the Earth-facing side. The giant impact theory for the origin of the moon – that a Mars-size object hit the Earth and the debris coalesced into our planetary companion – has been controversial since it was first proposed. Will adding another impact help? It all depends on what one means by “scientific progress.”
July 29, 2011
Eruptions can come in two types: literal and figurative. Some planetary bodies are literally erupting. Others are causing figurative eruptions in theories. Here are some recent news stories about planets, moons, comets and other objects circling our sun and other stars. There hasn’t been much news from Mercury or Venus this month, so we’ll start on the home planet and work outward.
Dinosaur Protein Is Primordial
July 26, 2011
Scientists from 10 universities and institutions have verified that the collagen protein in dinosaur bone is primordial – i.e., from the dinosaur, not from later contamination. By first studying the molecular packing of collagen in living animals, and using X-ray diffraction modeling, they matched the surviving collagen molecules to those that would most likely survive degradation. They feel this establishes the authenticity of the protein fragments against claims of contamination and simultaneously offers a mechanism for its resistance to degradation.
The Rise and Fall of Submerged Landscapes
July 10, 2011
Under the sea lies a lost land of terrestrial life. On this submerged landscape in the North Atlantic Ocean, river channels and fossils of pollen and coal are now being covered up by the remains of sea creatures. Live Science compared it to the lost continent of Atlantis. How did this fossil terrestrial landscape rise above the water, only to sink again?
Complex Arthropod Eyes Found in Early Cambrian
June 29, 2011
Complex eyes with modern optics from an unknown arthropod, more complex than trilobite eyes, have been discovered in early Cambrian strata from southern Australia. The exquisitely-preserved imprints of the eyes in shale were reported by Lee et al. in Nature. The abstract started by quoting Darwin and affirming evolution, but then revealed evidence that complex eyes go further back in the fossil record than previously thought possible.
A Tale of Two Pollens
June 29, 2011
Ambiguity is a bad word in science. Scientists want to be objective. To scientific realists, scientific truth is “out there” in the world, waiting to be discovered. The 20th century tempered scientific realism somewhat from its extreme form (scientism, the belief that science is the only reliable guide to truth). Knowledgeable scientists are more or less aware of the role of paradigms, social pressure and webs of belief that can affect interpretations of scientific data. But there is still a widespread perception that science “finds” truth in the world. Whether that happens can be pondered while exploring two recent stories about fossil pollen that arrived at opposite conclusions: one (by evolutionists) that supports old-earth geology (and “climate change” politics), and one (by creationists) that undermines it, finding fundamental biases among evolutionists who refuse to accept the implications of the data.
National Geographic Rates Noah’s Flood
June 3, 2011
Pictures of the record floods in the eastern United States this year have been shocking and alarming (examples on Fox News). They raise questions about the potential for flooding on this planet: how big can they get? National Geographic News decided to look at some of the biggest floods in history and included the granddaddy […]
Mars as Anomalous Runt
May 26, 2011
The Mars rover Spirit is now dead in its tracks, but the planet under it continues to rumble, in theoretical overhauls and anomalies. Mars has been much on the mind of news reporters this week after a new paper speculated that the red planet grew up fast and then stopped as a runt.
Earth Still Privileged Planet
May 24, 2011
Astronomers have found over a thousand extrasolar planets now. How does our solar system compare? Thanks to the Kepler spacecraft, we now have a catalog of 1,235 alien planet candidates after just four months of operation. Of the 408 that have been found in multiple-planet systems, 170 of these containing two to six planets have been pictured in a “Kepler Orrery” posted by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The press release says, “most of those look very different than our solar system”.
Geology Sinks in the Mud
December 14, 2007
Question: what is the most abundant sedimentary rock in the world? Follow-up question: what would happen to the science of geology if the consensus theory of how this most abundant sedimentary rock was deposited turns out to be wrong? Prepare for a paradigm shift: experiments have shown mistakes in long-held assumptions about mudstone formation. Here’s […]
Is Making Planets Child’s Play?
December 5, 2007
Are star children good at child's play? Like making mudballs, it should be easy to roll up dust into planets.
Lord Kelvin’s Core Values Defended
July 2, 2007
Myth: Lord Kelvin held back the progress of geology for 100 years by insisting the Earth was younger than geologists and evolutionists believed. Myth debunked here.
How Not to Date a Volcano
November 13, 2006
Two teams of geologists looked at the same volcano field in Nevada, but came up with vastly different dates.
Paper View: Cambrian Explosion Damage Control
April 23, 2006
Like some federal official holding a press conference after a disaster, a Harvard paleontologist has tackled the unenviable job of explaining what Darwin called the most severe challenge that could be levied against his theory: the fossil record. The challenge starts with a bang...
Rethinking the Geological Layers
March 5, 2004
One of the most formative ideas in Darwin’s intellectual journey was the concept of gradualism, the principle of “small agencies and their cumulative effects.” This idea became a dominant motif in his philosophy of life. Describing how the assumption of gradualism permeated his last book (on earthworms) shortly before his death, Janet Browne, in her […]