F Rosa Rubicondior: July 2015

Friday 31 July 2015

Another Bad Day For the 'Malevolent Designer'

Electron micrograph of an Ebola viral particle
Ebola vaccine efficacy trial suggest vaccine provides high protection against disease | Science Daily

It's been a bad couple of days for this 'Intelligent (sic) Designer' creationist loons keep telling us made everything and did everything they don't understand.

In this fantasy world, this assumed designer did everything, but we have to ignore the bad stuff. We have to ignore childhood cancer, the fact that illness and misfortune strike the pious and the impious alike, that there are random large-scale slaughters from natural disasters.

We have to ignore the fact that supposed design with intent and for a purpose produced genetic diseases, worms that make children blind by eating their eyeball from the inside; that the viral, bacterial, protozoan, helminth and arthropod parasites that make us sick, disabled or dead were also designed by the same assumed designer, and we have to ignore the fact that this designer appears to be on the side of these harmful parasites when it redesigns them to overcome the antibiotics, insecticides and anti-heminitics we've made to defend ourselves against them.

We have to ignore all this stuff because creationists like to imagine they have a close personal relationship with the creator of the Universe and it made it all just for them because it loves them.

Thursday 30 July 2015

New Wolf Dogs Creationists

African golden jackal, Canis anthus
Photo credit: Eyal Cohen
Source: AAAS Science Magazine
Genome-wide Evidence Reveals that African and Eurasian Golden Jackals Are Distinct Species | Current Biology

The world has a new species of dog - and creationists have another embarrassing fact to ignore.

Although strikingly similar, scientists have shown that the African and Asian golden jackal, until now classified as a single species, Canis aureus, are actually two different species which diverged from ancestral coyotes and grey wolves at different times; 1.3 and 1.9 million years ago, respectively. The similarity is probably due to very similar habitats, food and lifestyle giving rise to parallel evolution. The team have proposed the new name Canis anthus (African golden wolf) for the African species.

Beating the Malevolent 'Intelligent Designer'

Poliovirus (bar = 5nm)
Photo Credit: F.P. Williams, U.S. EPA
Source: http://www.epa.gov/nerlcwww/polio.html
Nigeria's polio-free year sees Africa inch closer to eradication - New Scientist

The great news for creationists is that we are on the verge of defeating their malevolent 'Intelligent (sic) Designer'. How can that be good news for creationists? Read on.

One especially nasty little invention of this invisible magic entity (for those who've fallen for the hoax) is the virus that cause poliomyelitis, normally, but not exclusively, in children, hence its formerly common name, 'infantile paralysis'. It couldn't have evolved so it must have been designed, and design always has a purpose, if you've swallowed the hoax. So creationists have no alternative but to accept that their imaginary friend is hideously malevolent.

It might well be extinct within a year or so in Africa, despite the best efforts of religious fundamentalists to prevent it, thanks to medical science.

Polio, as it's also called, strikes without warning. In 90-95% of cases it causes no symptoms at all, in most of

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Pygmy Puzzle for Creationists

Baka Pygmies of Gabon
Growth pattern from birth to adulthood in African pygmies of known age : Nature Communications : Nature Publishing Group

How do African Pygmies make the 'Intelligent (sic) Designer' look like an incompetent amnesiac?

Imagine you're a designer and you design something that's fit for purpose and does the job perfectly, why would you start again and design something else to do exactly the same job? Well, maybe if you're a chronic amnesiac and can't remember from one day to the next what you've designed, you'd maybe have an excuse, but you're hardly likely to be much of a designer and certainly not what people would regard as an intelligent one.

Sunday 26 July 2015

Why Is the 'Intelligent Designer' Siding With Bacteria?

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Source: New Scientist
Image Credit: Juergen Berger/Science Photo Library
Fitness cost of antibiotic susceptibility during bacterial infection - Science Translation Medicine

You know, if you buy into the Intelligent Design hoax, it's becoming harder and harder not to conclude that the Intelligent Designer created Earth for bacteria and that higher life is simply somewhere for bacteria to live and something for them to live off.

We are used to seeing bacteria evolving resistance to the antibiotics human science creates to help us win the struggle against the bacteria that seem to randomly make us sick and even kill us, striking the pious and impious; the sinners and the saintly alike and in equal measure, as though whatever is designing and redesigning them is on the side of the bacteria.

Friday 24 July 2015

Sudden Climate Change 6000 Years Ago!

Akkadian Empire
Abrupt climate change may have rocked the cradle of civilization: Effects of climate on human societies -- ScienceDaily

This discovery could be really exciting news for bible literalists, who are obliged to believe highly unlikely tales with no evidence whatsoever. For example, one tale which seems to be precious to them is the story of how their magic invisible friend once drowned everything in a global flood. Apart from feeling smug about the fact that this monstrous genocide didn't involve them, it's hard to see why they find this story so compelling, but that's another matter.

Imagine then, if some of those scientists that creationists so despise because they keep finding out inconvenient things, actually came up with evidence

Thursday 23 July 2015

Now! A Four-Legged Transitional Lizard Snake!

Four-legged snake, Tetrapodophis amplectus
Source: Science Daily.
Image credit: University of Portsmouth.
A four-legged snake from the Early Cretaceous of Gondwana | Science.

I'm getting a bit tired of all these transitional fossils. It's getting so you can't pick up a decent biology or palaeontology journal without another team of researchers having found yet more of them. It's also getting so you can't turn to any creationist website, blog or Facebook group without seeing creationists flatly denying that they exist and refusing to look at the contradictory evidence.

I'm now seriously thinking of starting a new blog called No Transitional Fossils. The problem is I'm not sure I'd have time to write about them all and still have time for this one.

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Who Really Wrote The Qur'an, and Why?

The Qur'an fragments from the Mingana Collection, Birmingham University Library, UK
'Oldest' Koran fragments found in Birmingham University - BBC News

Who wrote the Qur'an?
  1. God.
  2. Muhammad.
  3. Nobody knows.

A basic Islamic apologetic is the claim that God wrote the Qur'an by guiding Muhammad's hand and the 'proof' of this is that an illiterate camel trader would have been incapable of writing it and such perfection

Monday 20 July 2015

Building Blocks of Life Can Form In a Puddle

Ester-Mediated Amide Bond Formation Driven by Wet–Dry Cycles: A Possible Path to Polypeptides on the Prebiotic Earth - Forsythe - 2015 - Angewandte Chemie International Edition - Wiley Online Library

How will the Creation Industry handle this one?

Although it is generally accepted that amino acids were present on the prebiotic Earth, the mechanism by which α-amino acids were condensed into polypeptides before the emergence of enzymes remains unsolved. Here, we demonstrate a prebiotically plausible mechanism for peptide (amide) bond formation that is enabled by α-hydroxy

Saturday 18 July 2015

Winged Transitional Dinosaur Puts Creationists in a Flap

An artist’s impression of Zhenyuanlong suni.

Image credit: Chuang Zhao.
A large, short-armed, winged dromaeosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Early Cretaceous of China and its implications for feather evolution : Scientific Reports

Another bad week for creationism as yet more of those 'non-existent' transitional fossils are found. This time, yet another of those feathered dinosaur fossils showing the evolution of birds from velociraptor dinosaurs that creationism is required to pretend didn't happen because it proves the biblical/qur'anic creation myth is laughably naive and based on ignorant guesses.

This one was found, like so many of these recent discoveries, was found in the Liaoning Province in northeastern China:

Friday 17 July 2015

Unintelligent Design - Rapid Evolution No Guarantee of Success

Evidence for a Mid-Jurassic Adaptive Radiation in Mammals | Current Biology.

A large-scale assessment of skeletal and dental changes in Mesozoic mammals by a team from Oxford University, UK and Macquarie University, Australia has shown that mammal evolution during that period was up to ten times faster in the Middle Jurassic (200-145 million years ago) than it was at the end of it.


Tuesday 14 July 2015

So Farewell Then 'Pillars of Creation'

A higher-resolution HST image of the Pillars of Creation, taken in 2014 as a tribute to the original photograph
Slightly sad news today that the iconic 'Pillars of Creation' are no more, blown away in a massive supernova explosion in the star nursery, the Eagle Nebula.

The 'Pillars of Creation', a formation of gas and dust first photographed in 1995 by the Hubble space telescope quickly became one of the top ten deep space images. They were so named because they are (or were) the early stages of star formation, being condensing gas and dust clouds which would normally collapse to form stars. The taller pillar is a mere five light-years tall.

The Eagle Nebula is 7,000 light-years from Earth which means that the image we see was as it was 7,000 years ago - a bit of a problem for creationists who like to imagine the Universe is only 6,000 years old.

This was discovered by a team from l'Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, Orsay, France who used an infrared image of the region taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope, which revealed a hitherto unseen cloud of hot gas advancing on the pillars. They presented their findings last Thursday to a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Sunday 12 July 2015

Creationism - Ignoring the Elephant

First comprehensive analysis of the woolly mammoth genome completed -- ScienceDaily

Creationism is largely about ignoring evidence. In fact, it depends almost entirely on pretending the evidence either isn't there or means something else, whilst simultaneously pretending there is a lot of evidence supporting creationism - if only it could be found and didn't need to be misrepresented.

Take, for example the known evolution of the

Thursday 9 July 2015

Creationism's 'Goldilocks' Fairy Tale Debunked

Artist's impression of gas and dust - the raw materials for making planets - swirl around a young star. The planets in our solar system formed from a similar disk of gas and dust captured by our sun.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Bricks to build an Earth found in every planetary system | Royal Astronomical Society.

Contrary to the creationist fantasy that there is something special about Earth which makes it the only place in the Universe where intelligent life could live, and where everything is 'just right' for humans, a paper presented to the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales last Wednesday by Prof Brad Gibson, of the University of Hull, showed how Earth-like planets are very probably the norm in solar systems in the Milky Way galaxy.

Minerals made from building blocks of carbon, oxygen, magnesium, and silicon are thought to control the landscape of rocky planets that form in solar systems around Sun-like stars. A subtle difference in

Another Intermediate Fossil - Dinosaur Ancestor

Wendiceratops pinhornensis, artists reconstruction
Photo credit: Danielle Dufault

PLOS ONE: Cranial Anatomy of Wendiceratops pinhornensis gen. et sp. nov., a Centrosaurine Ceratopsid (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) from the Oldman Formation (Campanian), Alberta, Canada, and the Evolution of Ceratopsid Nasal Ornamentation | PLOS ONE.

Like I said in a previous blog, these intermediate fossils, which creationists stoically maintain don't exist because they illustrate something they are desperately trying to convince themselves doesn't happen, are so common one could almost dedicate a weekly blog to listing the new ones.

Sunday 5 July 2015

Mistletoe Shoots Creationism in its Achilles Heel

Mistletoe species lacks genes found in all other complex organisms -- ScienceDaily

Creationism and the Intelligent Design hoax require a simple narrative to appeal to simple people who know little of science, have no intention of learning any and who believe their ignorant intuition is the best available measure of reality.

For the creation industry, this narrative includes the simplistic notion that the scientific theory of evolution states that all evolution involves increasing complexity brought about by mutation in functional genes.

Integrity - The Difference Between Science & Religion

Dong-Pyou Han, faked results.
Photo credit: Charlie Neibergall/AP
Scientist behind fake HIV breakthrough sentenced to prison after spiking results | Society | The Guardian

News that Dong-Pyou Han, a former scientist working at ISU, has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for making a fraudulent misstatement so obtaining millions of dollars of government funding, should be a matter of pride for the scientific community because it shows how scientific fraud is exposed by the scientific method. In the long run, results which are not reproducible by other teams and which begin to stand out as outliers, come under closer and closer scrutiny and will eventually be discarded.

Friday 3 July 2015

What a Shocker! Another Creationist is Lying Again!

When you don't have any evidence but you have a sacred dogma to not only defend at all costs but which you're desperate to get other people to believe too, in the belief that the more people who believe it the more true it will become, what else is there for creationists but to lie?

I came across this exchange on Twitter today. It's a claim that is currently doing the rounds on creationists sites and something I was challenged with on Facebook about a week ago. The claim is that scientists have isolated soft tissue from dinosaur 'bones' which has been carbon-dated to not more than four thousand years old, in a fossil which was believed to be 65 million years old.

When faced with this on Facebook, my reply was that if the recovered 'soft tissue' had been carbon-dated to four thousand years old then that would be evidence that sample had been contaminated. My proponent promptly disappeared and has not been seen since. It turns out he had been repeating a lie, knowingly or unknowingly anyway. Maybe he realised he'd been duped and ran in embarrassment.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

What Was Creationism's God Doing For Eight Billion Years?

Kepler-186f, first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a star in the habitable zone (artist's impression)
Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech
Even stars older than 11 billion years have Earth-like planets: Precise ages of largest number of stars hosting planets ever measured -- ScienceDaily

A paper published a few days ago in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a team of researchers from the Stellar Astrophysics Centre at Aarhus University, Denmark have shown what they believe is evidence of Earth-sized planets orbiting 33 stars in the Milky Way galaxy that are about 11 billion years old. In other words, these planets were formed at least 8 billion years before Earth in a Universe that appears to have had the right conditions for creating these planetary systems right here in our own galaxy.

What Idiot Designed a Worm That Injects Sperm Into Its Own Head?

Macrostomum hystrix
Hypodermic self-insemination as a reproductive assurance strategy | Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences

You really have to laugh at creationism's 'Intelligent (sic) Designer' when you see the idiot stuff it supposedly designs.

Take this hermaphroditic flatworm that uses its penis as a hypodermic syringe to inject sperm into it's own head, for example! What sort of idiot would come up with a solution like that to the occasional problem of not finding another flatworm of the same species to exchange sperm with?

But it gets worse! The sperm then have to swim all the way down the length of the flatworm's body to get to the eggs in the tail, so they can fertilise them and produce what are, in effect clones of their parent.
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