Wednesday, August 16, 2017

And so we press on...

Belief in Creation Declines

http://www.icr.org/article/10136
For generations, a large portion of Americans have believed that mankind began only thousands of years ago, not millions. A 2013 poll indicated that this next generation is finally beginning to depart from their forefathers’ creation-leaning beliefs.1 New Gallup results confirm this anti-Bible trend. Meanwhile, rhetoric about this trend reveals confusion over key issues.
The 2017 Gallup poll found that only 37 percent of Americans hold creationist views of human origins, down from 46 percent in 2012.2,3 This trend may reflect a change in generations, as younger Americans who are convinced of human evolution replace their more Bible-minded forebears. What does this trend mean?
Tom Krattenmaker from Yale Divinity School noted in USA Today that although more Americans believe in human evolution, they still identify as Christians. He wrote,
These tea leaves tell us that more people are refusing the all-or-nothing choice between faith and science and opting instead for a third way: Acceptance of the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution while seeing a divine role in the process.4
This third way leads nowhere, since by definition evolution excludes the divine.
This perception of a divide between faith and science uses deceptive definitions of key terms. Many evolutionists like Krattenmaker define faith as believing as true that which has little or no supporting evidence. They assert that evidence demands our origins from apes and not Adam, while overlooking the fact that faith in evolution biased the way researchers interpreted that “evidence.”  
Biblical faith is quite different. It calls on people to trust Christ because of, not in spite of, the “many infallible proofs” that He left for us to discover in Scripture.5
Evolutionists also often misunderstand the meaning of science. They equate science with evolution. Real science investigates repeatable, ongoing processes and answers present-day questions like “What causes gravity?” The kind of evolution that supposedly transformed apes into men does not happen today, so it inhabits the past. Evolution is not science at all.
And those few scientific observations that do reach into the past completely rule out evolution. For example, fossils show stable life forms and no undisputed evolutionary transitions. Also, continual buildup of DNA mutations in every generation limits populations to time spans far shorter than what evolution requires. Last, all-or-nothing systems like hearts and certain protein complexes could never evolve step-by-step since they need all their parts together at once in order to work.6
The core disagreement is about history. Science cannot determine history, despite secular scientists’ confident claims about what they never witnessed, let alone measured.
The supposedly “overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution” is a total sham, just like the false choice between “faith” and “science.” If this next generation could just taste the basics of faith, science, and creation, instead of getting fed an evolution-only diet, then surely many more would side with Genesis—the Words of the One who created mankind.
References
  1. Thomas, B., and M. Stamp. Urgency & Opportunity: Poll Shows Evolving TrendsCreation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org July 29, 2013.
  2. Swift, A. In US, Belief in Creationist View of Humans at New Low. Gallup. Posted on gallup.com May 22, 2017.
  3. Newport, F. In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins. Gallup. Posted on gallup.com June 1, 2012.
  4. Krattenmaker, T. Creationism support is at a new low. The reason should give us hopeUSA Today. Posted on usatoday.com July 13, 2017, accessed July 14, 2017.
  5. Acts 1:3. See also the book of this same title.
  6. Thomas, B. 2009. ATP synthase: majestic molecular machine made by a mastermindCreation. 31(4):21–23.
*Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his M.S. in biotechnology from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Article posted on July 24, 2017.

Fossils formed recently?

Fossil Plants Contain Original Molecules



Researchers shined a laser light on fossil leaves and found some surprising results. Instead of mere impressions of leaves, the fossils turned out to contain original molecules—persisting after millions of supposed years.  
Research led by Lund University in Sweden used FTIR to find original molecular bonds still intact inside fossilized leaf wax. The technique detects stretches in specific chemical bonds.
Then the team compared the waxy cuticle that somehow persists in leaf fossils with the same cuticle molecules found in their living counterparts. Many of the scan results showed a match, even after all the years those fossils remained underground. The team published their results in Nature: Ecology & Evolution.1
They scanned leaves from living Araucaria trees—tropical conifers that today grow in New Guinea, Australia, and Argentina—and from fossil Araucaria leaves locked in Cretaceous stone. Only the living leaves had FTIR signatures indicating complex sugars like cellulose, but surprisingly the technique revealed the same alkanes, alkenes, and carbon-based ring structures in both living and fossil Araucaria.
Alkenes have double bonds. These tense bonds react more readily with other chemicals than many single bonds. They have not yet reached what chemists call thermodynamic stability—when they lose their potential to react. How can so much chemical potential persist in leaf molecules that are supposedly millions of years old?
Lund University News wrote, “The [waxy] membrane has been preserved in the fossil leaves, some of which are 200 million-years-old.”2 This age assignment clearly conflicts with short-lived original plant chemical bonds.
The second surprising result came from scan results between several fundamentally different kinds of plants. They found that specific chemical bond signatures signified the same basic plant kinds. For example, fossil and modern Araucariahad unique chemicals not shared with ginkgos. Lead author Vivi Vajda told Lund University,
The results from the fossil leaves far exceeded our expectations, not only were they full of organic molecules, they also grouped according to well-established botanical relationships, based on DNA analysis of living plants i.e. Ginkgoes in one group, conifers in another.
So they didn’t expect to find original organic molecules after supposed millions of years, nor did they expect to find those same molecules in similar plant kinds. It was as though millions of years of evolution never changed these plants’ basic forms or even their basic molecules.
Could ginkgos remain ginkgos and Araucaria remain Araucaria because they have been reproducing faithfully within separately created kinds from the beginning of creation?
The original biomolecules in fossil leaf cuticles point to their deposition thousands of years ago, not millions. Also, biochemical similarities between ancient and modern plants of similar groups show no hint of evolution, but fit just fine with the created kinds of Genesis 1:12.3
References
  1. Vajda, V. 2017. Molecular signatures of fossil leaves provide unexpected new evidence for extinct plant relationships. Nature: Ecology & Evolution. DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0224-5.
  2. Through fossil leaves, a step towards Jurassic ParkLund University News. Posted on lunduniversity.lu.se July 4, 2017, accessed July 24, 2017.
  3. "And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind."
*Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on August 3, 2017.

More Related Articles listed in article at ICR website (link above)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

2017 Fairs

We hope to see you at the fair this summer. This is where we plan to set up our museum-like displays and have some great conversations:
July 19-23
Dane County Fair
Waukesha County Fair

August 3-13
Wisconsin State Fair
We will be in a new location this year. Our location is the Central Marketplace near the Bank Mutual Stage.

August 31-Sept 4
Sheboygan County Fair


Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Wonders of Wisconsin- Creation and Biblical Flood Hike

Christians often view the Grand Canyon as an icon of Creation and The Flood, but did you know Wisconsin also has an area that is full of compelling evidences of the same? Posted her are a few pictures, and as I have time I will comment on them. An adventurous group hiked near Baraboo on Saturday and learned some fascinating geology correlating with Biblical history.
See our Facebook page for more pictures and explanations.






"Mysterious" potholes at Devil's Lake State Park, WI



Though full of debris from the winter, you can still see the pothole formations in the very hard quartzite. The runoff from the Biblical Flood  gives a very solid explanation for their formation. Secular geologist call them "mysterious", but Christians have the Biblical text that gives understanding to the past.



Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bullied at the West Bend Community Memorial Library

What's the Evidence? put up a beautiful fossil display at our local public library last week. Over the years we have collected some pretty neat fossils found worldwide, and in our fair booths we display them without shame as evidence for the Biblical Flood recorded in Genesis. I tweaked our posters to make them more friendly to the library patrons. In other words , the facts of fossils were spelled out, and The Flood evidences mentioned, but the Biblical references were mild, as you can see in the pictures. 
Despite the display being impressive, yesterday, after the display being up less than a week, I received this email from one of the librarians: Hi Mary,  Our director has asked me to ask you if you would just take out the display in the bottom right corner with the Bible quote on it, as our policy states that we cannot have displays that do this:
"Religious or political materials which have the primary purpose to effect or proselytize for a single point of view."  You can read it on our policy page.   There have been a few complaints about it.  She didn't really want you to have to take that out, but it is a board policy - maybe I'll just take out your little business card too and keep it on my cart in case anyone is interested?  

I emailed her back asking that she not remove anything until I speak with an attorney. She immediately wrote back assuring me that she would not take any of my display down until I contacted her. I then alerted an attorney from Liberty Counsel. He began to look into the issue and let me know that their policy is unenforceable  given their practice and the law.
This morning the librarian called me back and told me she talked with the director and board president and they determined I did 
not need to remove or cover any part of my display! Just the idea I was communicating with an attorney made them think twice about squashing my free speech.

The library is now going to revisit their display case policy. I believe it is important to advoate for this, among other things, language to be included in the policy: "In carrying out this policy, library staff shall not engage in viewpoint discrimination on the basis of religious or secular viewpoint." 
Feel free to contact library personel about this.
Amy Becker – Director abecker@west-bendlibrary.org
Board President:
Deb Bartnikowskidbart.public@gmail.com 
Update: 4/27/17 1650 pm
Through an open records request I found that one patron complained about the display being religious proselytizing. The teen service librarian then took photos of the display and emailed Amy Becker, the director, who then requested I alter my display and take down the Bible verses and the card that identified What's the Evidence? as the sponsor of the booth.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

More evidence for recent fossilization of animals

Fossil Feather Proteins Confirm Recent Flood


Ever since Dr. Mary Schweitzer's 20051 discovery of preserved original dinosaur proteins and blood cells, many secular scientists have remained skeptical. How could dinosaur fossils retain original organic material after millions of years? A new ancient bird fossil reveals more unexpected original chemicals, adding fuel to the fierce debate within the scientific community.2
Following publication of her original paper,1 some of Schweitzer's critics claimed that what she actually found was contamination from lab analysis or contamination during field collection. Others claimed these proteins were really from modern bacterial activity, and they merely simulated original soft tissues.3
In response, Dr. Schweitzer and her colleagues performed more studies on the soft tissues in question.4,5They even extracted collagen from a tyrannosaur leg bone and found a protein match of about 58% with bird collagen and 51% with frog and newt collagen—evidence these samples couldn't be from contamination. In further support that these are real dinosaur organic tissues, another study examined 89 amino acids extracted from a T. rex specimen, finding perfect matches with some modern animal proteins. Schweitzer's team has essentially demonstrated the "impossible." These dinosaur soft tissues are real!
This debate of original tissues versus bacterial microbes spilled into the study of microscopic pigment indicators, called melanosomes. Previously, scientists used powerful electron microscopes to examine the fibers from the tail of the theropod Sinosauropteryx, finding preserved melanosomes, which contain the pigment melanin.1 Different shapes of melanosomes produce different colors in today's animals. By comparing modern melanosomes to the ones found preserved in the fossils, scientists were able to speculate on the colors of this and other extinct animals. The melanosomes in the filaments/fibers of this Sinosauropteryx specimen indicate chestnut to reddish-brown bands along the tail and possibly the back.6
Another study found preserved melanosomes in feathers from the bird Archaeopteryx, showing a black color, somewhat like a modern crow or raven.7 An additional study of the feathered bird Microraptor also showed melanosomes indicating a black or dark blue color, but these melanosomes were more tightly packed, implying some degree of iridescence.8
More research on fossil ichthyosaurs, mosasaurs, and sea turtles supposedly 55 to 190 million years old has revealed actual preserved skin tissue and melanosomes that indicate a brown-black skin color.9
However, once again critics claim that these discoveries may not be melanosomes after all, but are just microbes that look like melanosomes, since both are similar in size and shape.10 One way to more clearly distinguish between melanosomes and microbes is to find keratin associated with the melanosomes. Keratin is a protein that surrounds modern feather melanosomes. The discovery of melanosomes and keratin together would resolve the dilemma. Since microbes are not found embedded in keratin, both the melanosomes and associated keratin would logically have to come from the fossilized (but not mineralized) bird.
To answer these critics, lead author Yanhoug Pan and co-authors, including Schweitzer herself, examined fossilized bird feathers from Early Cretaceous system rocks in China.2 They examined the feathers under an electron microscope, finding bundles of fibers that looked like keratin, but the team couldn't be sure from observation alone. So they conducted a series of chemical tests on the fiber bundles and the surrounding matrix, finding "strong evidence for the retention of original and phylogenetically significant [a sample substantial enough to compare with living animals] protein components in Eoconfuciusornis."2
Pan's team concluded, "Our work represents the oldest ultrastructural and immunological recognition of avian beta-keratin from an Early Cretaceous (~130-Ma) bird."10 In other words, the melanosomes and keratin found in this ancient bird are clearly real.
Their discovery again demonstrates the presence of preserved original proteins in fossils claimed to be many millions of years old. And yet, the authors offer no testable explanation for this preservation "miracle." Instead, they hypothesize that calcium, possibly mediated by bacterial activity, might have helped preserve the organic molecules. And yet, they found no calcium in the rock matrix surrounding the fossil, leaving any such source of calcium a mystery.10 Their hypothesis is a speculation without substance.
Secular science still has found no viable explanation for how these proteins were preserved. They maintain the fossils are millions of years old, in spite of the contrary data.
I summarized this preservation issue in my book Dinosaurs: Marvels of God's Design, stating, "The finding of actual soft tissue in fossils that are supposedly millions of years old has evolutionists scratching their heads to explain. They are scrambling, trying to come up with 'miracles' of preservation. Many secular scientists cannot fathom that dinosaurs are only thousands of years old because they 'walk in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of their ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart' (Eph. 4:17-18)."11
The case for thousands and not millions of years is growing stronger with each of these new finds.
References
  1. Schweitzer, M. H., et al. 2005. Soft Tissue Vessels and Cellular Preservation in Tyrannosaurus rexScience. 307 (5717): 1952-1955. 
  2. Pan, Y., et al. 2016. Molecular evidence of keratin and melanosomes in feathers of the Early Cretaceous bird Eoconfuciusornis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1617168113.
  3. Kaye, T. G., G. Gaugler, and Z. Sawlowicz. 2008. Dinosaurian soft tissues interpreted as bacterial biofilmPLOS ONE. 3 (7): E2808. 
  4. Schweitzer, M. H., et al. 2007. Analyses of Soft Tissue from Tyrannosaurus rex Suggest the Presence of ProteinScience. 316 (5822): 277-280. 
  5. Asara, J. M., et al. 2007. Protein Sequences from Mastodon and Tyrannosaurus rex Revealed by Mass SpectrometryScience. 316 (5822): 280-285. 
  6. Zhang, F., et al. 2010. Fossilized melanosomes and the color of Cretaceous dinosaurs and birdsNature. 463 (7284): 1075-1078. 
  7. Carney, R. M., et al. 2011. New evidence on the colour and nature of the isolated Archaeopteryx featherNature Communications. 3 (637): doi: 10.1038/ncomms1642. 
  8. Li, Q., et al. 2012. Reconstruction of Microraptor and the Evolution of Iridescent PlumageScience. 335 (6073): 1215-1219. 
  9. Lindgren, J., et al. 2014. Skin pigmentation provides evidence of convergent melanism in extinct marine reptilesNature. 506 (7489): 484-488. 
  10. Moyer, A. E., et al. 2014. Melanosomes or Microbes: Testing an Alternative Hypothesis for the Origin of microbodies in Fossil FeathersScientific Reports. 4 (4233): doi:10.1038/srep0433. 
  11. Clarey, T. 2015. Dinosaurs: Marvels of God's DesignGreen Forest, AK: Master Books, 49.
Image credit: Copyright © 2016 X. Wang. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.
*Dr. Clarey is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on December 12, 2016.

Article from; ICR.org

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Grand Canyon Fun!

In October we were thrilled to take part in a rim tour and Colorado River float of the Grand Canyon with Russ Miller of Creation Ministries and Jay Seegert of The Starting Point Project. Russ stressed over and over again the significance of Red Butte, just south of Grand Canyon. ICR wrote a short article highlighting this significance. Enjoy!
Red Butte. Image used by permission of Dr. Steven A. Austin.

Red Butte: Remnant of the Flood


Sixteen miles from Grand Canyon's south rim, a cone-shaped butte rises like a lone sentinel 1,000 feet above the Coconino Plateau floor. Thousands of tourists rush past on Arizona Highway 64 without giving it another thought, yet this humble little hill testifies to a remarkable past.
Red Butte is composed of flat-lying shales of the Moenkopi Formation, overlain by Shinarump Conglomerate of the Chinle Formation. Continuous exposures of these two formations are not found for tens of miles around, yet they occur here. These strata sit on a foundation of flat-lying and resistant Kaibab Limestone, the rim rock for most of Grand Canyon and surface of the Coconino Plateau. A basalt (lava) flow tops the butte, protecting the softer layers below from erosion. Lava ordinarily flows downhill, so how did it get on top? Answer: it flowed onto a surface that was once 1,000 feet higher than the present Coconino Plateau! Strata of the Moenkopi, Chinle, and perhaps other formations were stripped away by erosion. Red Butte stands as the most prominent vestige of this once continuous layer.
The butte's shale slopes tell another story. These shales belong to the Moenkopi Formation, a stratum that can be traced across parts of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Lateral equivalents of the Moenkopi may extend to Connecticut, England, Germany, Spain, and Bulgaria.1 Fossil plants, crinoids, brachiopods, gastropods, bivalves, ammonoids, nautiloids, arthropods, fish, reptiles, and labyrinthodont amphibians have been recovered from Moenkopi strata in the Grand Canyon region.2 To explain this odd assortment of terrestrial and marine taxa, and the persistence of the strata, geologists envision for western North America "a broad, continental plain that was periodically flooded by an ocean."3
A global Flood may provide the framework for a more credible depositional model. During the Flood, sediment-choked waters deposited 1,200 meters of flat-lying "Grand Canyon strata" and around 4,000 meters of Mesozoic strata (seen today atop Utah's Grand Staircase to the north, and Arizona's Black Mesa to the east). The unique vertical movements in the earth's crust during the Flood's retreat4 uplifted the region, and an enormous quantity of soft sediment was removed from its top--a volume far greater than that excavated from Grand Canyon proper.5 Red Butte is a tiny remnant from this vast erosion. When the strata gained sufficient internal strength to stand as near-vertical walls, Grand Canyon itself was incised into the plateau.
Deposition and erosion on such scales boggle the mind, yet they unquestionably took place. This humble little butte challenges geologists to think big. Perhaps this is why the Grand Canyon region fits so well with a global Flood model of earth history.6
References
  1. Ager, D. 1993. The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record, Third Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  2. Doelling, H. et al. 2000. Geology of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. In Sprinkel, D.A. et al (eds.), Geology of Utah's Parks and Monuments, Utah Geological Association Publication 28. Salt Lake City: Utah Geological Association, 189-231.
  3. Anderson, P.B. et al. 2000. Geology of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah-Arizona. Ibid, 301-335.
  4. "At thy rebuke [the waters] fled….They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them" (Psalm 104:7-8). The Hebrew text suggests vertical movements in the earth's crust whereby the mountains went up and the valleys went down, allowing the Flood waters to retreat.
  5. Mesozoic strata are conspicuously or nearly absent for an estimated 9,000 square kilometers around Grand Canyon, though they are present to thicknesses in excess of 4 kilometers in the adjacent Grand Staircase and Black Mesa regions. Erosion is estimated to have removed 36,000 cubic kilometers, dwarfing the approximately 4,000 cubic kilometers excavated from Grand Canyon (see Steven A. Austin's book Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, available at www.icr.org/store).
  6. A tour of the Grand Canyon region will be conducted by ICR scientists April 11 to 20, 2008.
* Mr. Hoesch is Research Assistant in Geology.
Cite this article: Hoesch, W. 2008. Red Butte: Remnant of the Flood. Acts & Facts. 37 (3): 14.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Some short, fun and informative video clips

Check out our YouTube page and see some awesome videos on a variety of topics. This one is on the topic of sharp teeth:VIDEO CLIP

Monday, September 12, 2016

Dinosaur Fossils in These Rock Layers?

Cite this article: Tim Clarey, Ph.D. 2015. Dinosaur Fossils in Late-Flood RocksActs & Facts. 44 (2).

Dinosaur Fossils in Late-Flood Rocks


Evolutionary scientists view Earth’s rock layers as a chronological record of millions of years of successive sedimentary deposits. Creation scientists, on the other hand, see them as a record of the geological work accomplished during the great Flood’s year-long destruction of the Earth’s surface. If that is the case, though, why don’t we find dinosaur fossils in the earliest North American Flood sediment layers—why do we find them only in later Flood rocks? The ICR team’s recent examination of sedimentary rock layers across the United States and Canada seems to provide an answer.
Deposition of the earliest Flood sediments (the Sauk, Tippecanoe, and Kaskaskia Megasequences) was thickest in the eastern half of the U.S.—often deeper than two miles! In contrast, the early Flood deposits across much of the West are commonly less than a few hundred yards deep, and in many places there was no deposition at all (Figure 1).
It seems the dinosaurs were able to survive through the early Flood in the West simply because they were able to congregate and scramble to the elevated remnants of land—places where the related sedimentary deposits aren’t as deep—as the floodwaters advanced. I call this high ground Dinosaur Peninsula. In this way, dinosaurs were able to escape burial in the early Flood.
However, later in the Flood (during deposition of the Absaroka and Zuni Megasequences) things changed dramatically. Pangaea, the former supercontinent made up of all of today’s continents, began to break up. This change in tectonics, combined with increasing water levels, caused great changes in the ways that the rock layers were deposited. Violent, tsunami-like waves washed across western North America while virtually no sedimentation was occurring in the East. This is a complete reversal of the pattern observed earlier in the Flood.
Rock sequence data show that more than three miles of sediment rapidly accumulated across the American West during the Absaroka and Zuni Megasequences.1 This apparently overwhelmed and buried the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous dinosaurs that couldn’t escape the Flood. As the waters rose, Dinosaur Peninsula began flooding from south to north. We also find the largest herds of dinosaurs, in the form of dinosaur fossil graveyards, in the Upper Cretaceous system sediments in northern Wyoming, Montana, and Alberta, Canada. It’s as if the dinosaurs were fleeing northward up the peninsula as the waters advanced from the south. By day 150 of the Flood (Genesis 7:24), even the Uplands area to the north, in present Canada, was covered by the floodwaters (Figure 1).
In his book Digging Dinosaurs, American paleontologist John R. (Jack) Horner reported the discovery of a huge dinosaur graveyard—over 10,000 adult Maiasaura in a small area, and yet no young were mixed in with them.2 What could have caused this odd sorting? In a Flood model, this is easily explained: The adult dinosaurs were likely stampeding away from the imminent danger of raging floodwaters; their young could not keep up and became engulfed in some lower part of the peninsula.
More research is being done on the stages of the Flood and the order in which the continents were submerged. But each answer provides new insight into the great catastrophe that forever altered the topography of our world.
References
  1. The data are taken from stratigraphic rock columns, outcrops, and holes bored deep in the earth to examine the different rock layers. To know the dimensions of megasequences, we have to look at many of these columns across a given area.
  2. Horner, J. R. and J. Gorman. 1988. Digging Dinosaurs. New York: Workman Publishing, 128.
* Dr. Clarey is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and received his Ph.D. in geology from Western Michigan University.
Cite this article: Tim Clarey, Ph.D. 2015. Dinosaur Fossils in Late-Flood RocksActs & Facts. 44 (2).

Friday, August 5, 2016

Old Evolutionary Icon Still Being Exposed

Peppered Moth Still Not Evolving

http://www.icr.org/article/9485
Back in 2003, ICR founder Dr. Henry Morris explained a few ways evolutionists themselves criticized the use of the peppered moth as an example of evolutionary beliefs.1 New genetic research validates those criticisms.
The moth earned fame as a key player in a classic evolutionary story in the late 19th century. In England, a population of peppered moths supposedly shifted their coloring from mostly white to mostly black after soot from the industrial revolution darkened their tree-trunk homes. According to the tale, bird predators had a difficult time seeing the now-camouflaged dark moths, so those moths began to thrive.
That story helped rescue Darwin's conception of natural selection from a round of early 20th century criticisms, such as a lack of supporting field evidence.
However, later researchers could not replicate the peppered moth results. Other investigators discovered that most of the story's facts were essentially wrong. For example, peppered moths live mostly beneath leaves, not on tree trunks. One researcher staged photos of the moths on sooty trunks—not where moths naturally rest.
Morris reviewed a book by Judith Hooper that exposed these peppered moth follies. She admitted the moth story was all wrong, but expressed undaunted faith in evolution nonetheless.2 Morris wrote,
It may be surprising to her and other evolutionists that creationists have never had a problem with the traditional story, except with the claim that it was 'evolution in action.' It was really only 'variation and conservation in action.'1
In other words, what began as a population of light and dark moth varieties existed through the industrial revolution as a population of light and dark moth varieties. No net evolution occurred. And that's essentially what geneticists confirmed in their new study.
Publishing in Nature, biologists centered at the University of Liverpool discovered that a well-known form of genetic shuffling, involving a transposable element (TE), generated the dark versions of these moths.3 The researchers' diligent labors revealed that, at some point in the past, a 21,925 nucleotide-long segment of DNA was inserted into a gene that embryonic moths access during development.
The study authors wrote, "The insert was found to be present in 105 of 110 fully black moths (wild caught in the UK since 2002) and absent in all (283) typica [white moths] tested."3 Clearly, even a century or so afterEngland cleaned the soot off its tree trunks, both black and white moth varieties still thrive just fine in the wild.
What mechanism generated the dark moth variety? Natural selection does not fit the bill. At best, death of "unfit" moths would merely reduce color variations, not generate new ones.
When functioning correctly, TE's precisely integrate with cellular machinery that helps cut and paste DNAs into genomic regions that will enhance variation without disrupting vital genes. Geneticists uncovered key roles for TE's in all kinds of animals—and even man.4 In other words, it looks like God designed these "jumping genes."5
So, in the beginning the Creator endowed moths with the genetic potential for future generations to generate dark varieties. Peppered moths never illustrated evolution in action. But now, more than ever, they clearly expose genius creativity.
References
  1. Morris, H. 2003. Evolutionists and the Moth Myth. Acts & Facts 32 (8).
  2. Hooper, J. 2002. Of Moths and Men. New York: W.W. Norton and Co.
  3. Van't Hof, A. E. et al. 2016. The industrial melanism mutation in British peppered moths is a transposable elementTE. Nature. 534 (7605): 102-105.
  4. Kunarso, G. et al. 2010. Transposable elements have rewired the core regulatory network of human embryonic stem cells. Nature Genetics. 42 (7): 631-634.
  5. A hiccup in healthy cell processes that randomly pasted the 21,925-long TE into this particular gene would justify the Nature study authors calling it a "mutation." However, processes could have pasted the TE into this gene as part of an internal variation-generating protocol. But this implies ingeniously designed automated genetic-script editing. The team did not test these options, but whether the TE placement happened by accident or design, the cut-and-paste process itself followed a focused strategy using cellular machinery and protocols.
Image credit: © 2011. M. Henderson. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.
*Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on August 4, 2016.