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Showing posts from April, 2009

Please let it be over

I sincerely pray this is true:

Rival creationists settle out of court

I'm not seeing any announcements on either of their websites, but their sites are so crowded with stuff that it's hard to find much of anything. UPDATE: CMI has a statement which I found by going through an old link at the NCSE website, Dispute settled.

In case you're wondering, I do have an opinion about this mess (a pretty strong opinion, too), but I'm not stupid enough to post it on the internet. I don't want to get sued.

Life is everywhere

The latest PLoS ONE has an interesting article on subsurface bacterial contamination in Archaean stromatolites:

Gérard et al. 2009. Modern Subsurface Bacteria in Pristine 2.7 Ga-Old Fossil Stromatolite Drillcore Samples from the Fortescue Group, Western Australia.PLoS ONE 4(4):e5298.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005298

I suppose creationists could spin this any number of different ways. I just think it's neat that life seems to be pretty much everywhere on this planet. When I was in grad school, I thought extremophiles were pretty cool. Organisms that can live in high salt conditions, boiling water, or the bottom of the ocean seemed pretty interesting. Now we're finding things that live inside rocks.

Life permeates creation. There's something very right about that.

Cadbury clarification

Just in case you're curious, this only works for real English Cadbury:

Not bad for some Cadbury's creme eggs

Since chocolate comes from a plant product, does that make it a vegetable?
I think so.

Genesis Kinds Registration FINAL

It's really official this time: The "Genesis Kinds: Creationism and the Origin of Species" conference, in conjunction with the annual BSG and geology conference, will be held at the Holiday Inn Hurstbourne in Louisville, KY. The conference registration fee covers meals, conference costs, proceedings, and a copy of the book "Genesis Kinds: Creationism and the Origin of Species." Discount registration deadline is July 8, 2009. Hotel rooms are not included in the registration fee and must be arranged separately. There is a special room rate available for us ($85/night) for reservations made before July 8, 2009. The phone number for reservations is (502) 426-2600 or 1-800-HOLIDAY.

Register online here.

The conference begins with dinner on Wednesday and concludes with dinner on Friday. There will be presentations all day Thursday and all day Friday. The hotel has a complimentary airport shuttle. Hotel information can be found here:
http://www.hihurstb…

Give an exegetical answer

Here's a verse that we hear a lot in creationism:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (I Pet. 3:15, NIV)
It's actually only part of the verse, and the rest of the passage is almost always left out. You'll see why in a second. This "give an answer" command is obviously used by pop apologists and creationists to explain why it's important for us to have an answer for every criticism that comes along. Typically I see the same folks literally answering every little insult that comes along, and unfortunately, they often stoop to the same kinds of insults themselves.

First, let's just dissect the verse they cite. What is the reason for my hope? My hope is Christ crucified and risen. I have hope because I'm a sinner saved by grace. That's my whole reason. It's not because I can refute evolution (I can't) or because I can prove the Flood (I can't) or because I can ma…

Microsporidia ramblings

I saw this article about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) Tuesday morning, which referred to this paper that implicates Nosema ceranae as the cause of all the bee deaths in the U.S. and Europe. I'm no expert in bee pathology or entomology (my bug policy is "swat first, ask questions later"), but I'm extremely interested in weird critters with weird genomes. Nosema fits the bill.

When I was in grad school, the Microsporida, of which Nosema is a member, were considered to be among the most primitive eukaryotes out there, since they lack mitochondria. It was thought that they branched off the evolutionary tree of the eukarytes before the acquisition of mitochondria. Now we know that the nuclear genomes of Microsporidia contain mitochondrial genes and that they have an organelle called a mitosome, which looks like it used to be a mitochondrion. So now Microsporidia are thought to be highly derived from something like a fungus. In case you're keeping track, going f…

Genesis Kinds Registration

Conference registration is now available for the summer Genesis Kinds conference right HERE. Barring any unforeseen problems, the conference will be at the Holiday Inn Hurstborne, but we have not yet signed on the dotted line, so don't call for a hotel room yet. There will be a discount rate when we have all the ducks in a row.

As far as scheduling goes, I can tell you that we'll open with a Wednesday meal as usual. Thursday will be contributed talks from BSG and geology group members (which are still being edited), and Friday will be the "Genesis Kinds" presentations. Remember that registration includes all conference events, meals, and copies of the proceedings and Genesis Kinds: Creationism and the Origin of Species. There will also be a conference rate on the hotel rooms, which will be available soon, I hope.

Early registration deadline is July 3, 2009 so make your plans now!

Click here for BSG2009 registration.

Looking for The Creationist

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I just picked up this item for the CORE library, and I know next to nothing about it. I've seen issues of The Creationist before, and this one is volume 1, issue 1, dated March, 1963. It's published by the Christian Evidence League of Malverne, New York and edited by C. Wm. Anderson. I can find next to nothing about the Christian Evidence League on Google. According to the list of CEL publications on the back of The Creationist, they published Dudley Joseph Whitney's book Face of the Deep.

The issue in the CORE collection is twenty pages of what appear to be reprinted articles from other publications. There are articles by Dudley Joseph Whitney, George McCready Price, and Philip Mauro (author of Evolution at the Bar [1922]). The typeface varies throughout the issue, and it frankly looks like it was cut and pasted from the original publications. I'm sure The Creationist didn't have a great deal of impact, since the more prominent CRS and BSA were also becoming…

Mendel is not enough

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Way back in the 1920s, creationist Byron C. Nelson tried to merge the idea of mendelian genetics with the notion of "variation within a kind," i.e., speciation. Nelson wrote,
By combining in various ways a comparatively few notes the musician is able to make a large number of distinct harmonies. So nature, by combining in various ways the relatively few factors [alleles] which the Creator supplied to each natural species, may produce a large number of distinct varieties. ("After its Kind" 1927, p. 109)
The idea here is that God created each baramin with a certain number of genetic variants called alleles, and just by mixing and matching those alleles, new species were produced within the baramin. The limit of variation was simply the number of alleles created within a baramin. "Some species have many, consequently their power of variation is large. Some have few, consequently their power of variation is small" (p. 109; note that Nelson's concept of…

In the world but not of it

The latest Answers mag should have arrived in your mailbox by now (if you subscribe), so I'm sure you've already seen it. The main theme this issue is "creation vacations," and I really liked the lead article by Mike Matthews and Pam Sheppard: 10 Creation Vacations. I meet far too many creationists who seem downright paranoid about museums, nature shows, books, and the like. They're so busy dissecting the worldview of everything that they see that they forget to enjoy themselves. I suppose some of the problem might be a pessimistic or legalistic attitude, but I think it's a real shame that many Christians seem unable or unwilling just to enjoy God's creation. We should take a clue from the Psalms, and see God's creation as one more way to glorify the Creator.
Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shi…

New Creationism blog and miscellanea

The other day I posted a review of Paul Garner's book The New Creationism (which is now available from Amazon). Well now he's really done it. He's started a blog to further explore the themes and ideas from the book. Even more scandalous? He's allowing comments! They're moderated, but still, he's allowing comments. He's a braver man than I, or maybe he's just bored because has too much free time on his hands.

People are starting to ask about the BSG conference registration, and all I can say is that I expect to finalize the details this week. Provided there are no problems, I should have registration available by Monday. Once again, I'm sorry for the delay. Don't forget that your abstracts are due this weekend.

In other news, this is interesting:
Slater et al. 2009. Genome Sequences of Three Agrobacterium Biovars Help Elucidate the Evolution of Multichromosome Genomes in Bacteria. J. Bac. 191(8):2501-2511.

The extra chromosomes and megapl…