The Dominican Republic Also Shows Bill Nye Was Wrong

Standing room only at one of the Dominican Republic schools.
Standing room only at one of the Dominican Republic schools.

I finished my speaking tour in the Dominican Republic, and it was quite an experience! I gave talks about creation in public schools, private schools, churches, and a university. The people were incredibly warm and inviting, and even though I could not communicate with most of them unless I had an interpreter, our mutual love for the Savior transcended words.

While I still cannot speak or understand Spanish, I did get a bit better at recognizing certain Spanish words. For example, in one church service, I looked up at the screen that contained the words to the next song (in Spanish, of course). The title of the song wasn’t on the screen, and the music had not started playing. Nevertheless, I recognized the song and said, “How Great Thou Art – one of my favorites!” My interpreter turned to me and asked, “How do you know that?” I told him that I recognized enough of the words to realize what the hymn must be. He seemed impressed.

While I was in Santo Domingo, I visited the main campus of Universidad Nacional Evangélica, a Christian university. I met with the president of the university and one of the professors. They indicated that they were committed to making sure their students learned about the scientific evidence for creation and against evolution. They scheduled me to speak to their students the next day, but unfortunately, there was a power outage, so they had to cancel the talk.

I was on a tight schedule, so I had to leave Santo Domingo before they could reschedule my talk. However, the same university has a campus in Santiago, where I was headed. That campus was happy to schedule me to speak, so I ended up getting to speak to students at the Universidad Nacional Evangélica, just not the ones who go to the Santo Domingo campus.

Continue reading “The Dominican Republic Also Shows Bill Nye Was Wrong”

Creation Science in the Dominican Republic

The beach outside of Bani in the Dominican Republic.
The beach outside of Bani in the Dominican Republic.

On Thursday of last week, I left Indiana for the Dominican Republic to give lectures about the science of creation to schools, churches, and universities. This lovely country is an explicitly Christian nation. Its motto is “Dios, Patria, Libertad” (God, Fatherland, Liberty), and the country’s flag has both the Bible and a cross at its center. The Bible is supposed to be open to John 8:32, “y conocerán la verdad, y la verdad los hará libres” (and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free). Because it takes its Christian roots seriously, students are allowed to learn about Christianity, even in public schools.

In fact, the first talk I gave was at a public school in Santo Domingo. In that talk, I discussed mutualistic symbiosis, which is a situation in which two or more organisms of different species work together so that each receives a benefit. I have blogged extensively about this amazing aspect of nature (see here, here, here, here, and here, for example), because I find it fascinating. In order to illustrate the process, I showed several videos of mutualistic symbiotic relationships in nature.

After I showed the videos and discussed how each relationship works, I discussed how evolution tries to account for these amazing relationships. Most evolutionists think that mutualistic symbiotic relationships started out as parasitic relationships, with one organism exploiting the other one. However, as time went on, the organisms co-evolved and began cooperating with one another. I then talked about a recent study that shows this explanation isn’t consistent with the data.

I told the students that I think these relationships give us a glimpse of what creation was like before the Fall. Creation was built on relationships, with organisms helping one another to survive. However, when sin entered the world, all creation was corrupted to some extent (Romans 8:22). As a result, many of those relationships were corrupted, and what we see now is only a glimpse of what creation used to be like.

Continue reading “Creation Science in the Dominican Republic”

These Three Scientists Don’t Believe in Catastrophic Climate Change or a Flat Earth

From left to right: Nobel laureate Dr. Ivar Giaever, Mathematician Dr. Caleb Rossiter, and Theoretical Physicist Dr. Steven E. Koonin.
From left to right: Nobel laureate Dr. Ivar Giaever, Mathematician Dr. Caleb Rossiter, and Theoretical Physicist Dr. Steven E. Koonin.

In a speech at Georgetown University, President Obama said that he has no patience for people who deny that human-produced global warming is a real problem. He added:

We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society…Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.

About a year ago, I pointed out that the president of the Flat Earth Society actually agrees with President Obama on global warming. However, some serious scientists strongly disagree with the both the president of the Flat Earth Society and the President of the United States. In fact, one Nobel-Prize-winning scientist says that President Obama is “dead wrong” when it comes to climate change.

Who is this Nobel laureate? His name is Dr. Ivar Giaever, and I have written about him before. He is professor emeritus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a professor-at-large at the University of Oslo, and the Chief Technology Officer at Applied Biophysics. At a recent gathering of Nobel laureates, he gave a talk entitled, “Global Warming Revisited.” Among the notable things he said was:

I say this to Obama: Excuse me, Mr. President, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong…When you have a theory and the theory does not agree with the experiment then you have to cut out the theory.

What could explain Dr. Giaever’s opposition to the Presidents of the United States and the Flat Earth Society? Is he one of those right-wing radicals who refuses to look at the facts? Probably not. After all, in 2008 he signed a letter endorsing Obama for president. Interestingly enough, the electronic version of the letter that appears on Obama/Biden stationary has his name scrubbed from it. Dr. Giaever disagrees with the Presidents of the United States and the Flat Earth Society because he looked at the data with an unbiased eye, and when he did, he saw that the theory was not supported by the data.

Continue reading “These Three Scientists Don’t Believe in Catastrophic Climate Change or a Flat Earth”

This Study Indicates that Most Babies Should NOT Avoid Peanuts

This picture shows a person getting a skin-prick test to measure his or her allergic reactions.
This picture shows a person getting a skin-prick test to measure his or her allergic reactions.

The prevalence of peanut allergies has grown significantly in recent years. In the U.S., for example, only 0.4% of children were reported to have a peanut allergy in 1997. By 2008, the percentage had more than tripled to 1.4%.1 As a result, people have become more aware of peanut allergies, and some businesses have made accomodations for people who have them. Delta airlines, for example, says:

When you notify us that you have a peanut allergy, we’ll refrain from serving peanuts and peanut products onboard your flight. We’ll also advise cabin service to board additional non-peanut snacks, which will allow our flight attendants to serve these snack items to everyone within this area. Gate agents will be notified in case you’d like to pre-board and cleanse the immediate seating area. Unfortunately we still can’t guarantee that the flight will be completely peanut-free. Note that some snack products on board may be processed in plants which also process peanut products.

This is important, since some cases of peanut allergies have resulted in tragic deaths (see here, here, and here, for example).

Naturally, many parents would like to know if there is anything they can do to prevent their children from developing peanut allergies. In the year 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics said that the best thing to do was to avoid peanut products for any child who showed any risk of allergy. However, the Academy reversed itself in 2008, saying there was no evidence that peanut avoidance reduced the risk of a child developing a peanut allergy later in life.2

A study released earlier this year now tells us that the evidence points in exactly the opposite direction: If you want to prevent peanut allergies in your children, you should consider exposing them to small amounts of peanut products when they are very young.3

Continue reading “This Study Indicates that Most Babies Should NOT Avoid Peanuts”

More Reasons To Doubt Iron as a Preservative for Dinosaur Tissue

This is reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.  (click for credit)
This is reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. (click for credit)

In 2005, Dr. Mary Schweitzer stunned the scientific community by finding what appeared to be soft tissue in a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil that is supposed to be 68 million years old.1 Since then, many such discoveries have been made (see here, here, here, here, and here), and a recent study indicates that soft tissue is probably quite common in dinosaur fossils. It is obviously hard to understand how soft tissue could remain in a fossil for millions of years, so those who are forced to believe that these fossils are millions of years old have tried to figure out some chemical mechanism that would prevent the decay of tissue for such an incredibly long time.

Two years ago, Dr. Schweitzer herself proposed such a mechanism.2 After studying the soft tissue from both the Tyrannosaurus rex and a Brachylophosaurus canadensis fossil, she and her team noticed that the structures which appeared to be blood vessels had iron particles imbedded in them. They proposed that iron and oxygen could work together to prevent soft tissue decay, and they even did a two-year experiment with ostrich blood vessels to support their hypothesis. I wrote about that paper after I read it, and in my analysis I listed three reasons I was skeptical of their proposed mechanism. Two chemists who know much more about this kind of chemistry than me have written a detailed paper in the latest issue of Creation Science Research Quarterly, and in my opinion, they make it clear that Schweitzer’s proposed mechanism simply isn’t consistent with the data she collected.3

Dr. John M. DeMassa has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Masters of Divinity from Liberty University. His full-time job is designing antioxidants, but he is also a part-time preacher. He teamed up with Dr. Edward Boudreaux, who has a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry from Tulane. He spent most of his career as a professor of chemistry at the University of New Orleans but has since retired. They teamed up to analyze the chemistry required for Schweitzer’s proposed mechanism to work. In the end, they conclude that the mechanism would have destroyed some of the chemicals that Schweitzer’s team found in their samples.

Continue reading “More Reasons To Doubt Iron as a Preservative for Dinosaur Tissue”

Discovering Design with Chemistry

The cover for Discovering Design with Chemistry.
The cover for Discovering Design with Chemistry.
I am sure that some of my readers are sick and tired of hearing about my new high school course, Discovering Design with Chemistry. I ask those readers for patience, because it is time to announce that the book has been released by the publisher! If you are in need of a rigorous, homeschool-friendly, high school chemistry course, you can preview it here. I have to point out that the course is ready for purchase a full week ahead of schedule, which is a testament to my publisher’s commitment to home educators and private Christian schools. It’s not easy to produce a high-quality text in less than a year, but Berean Builders was able to do just that.

This new chemistry course is completely different from the previous one I wrote, Exploring Creation with Chemistry, 2nd Edition. It covers the standard college-prep chemistry topics in a different order, but more importantly, it emphasizes aspects of those topics in a way that makes them more relevant to this decade. For example, when discussing Dalton’s Atomic Theory, I point out that he used his theory to predict something about the masses of two elements that can react to form completely different compounds. That prediction was later confirmed, and we now call it “The Law of Multiple Proportions.” I point out that a theory can’t be considered scientific unless it can make such predictions. I then discuss this in the context of creation science. I talk about how the scientific theory of creation has been used to make many successful predictions, including the fact that there is very little “junk DNA” in the human genome.

The most important difference between the courses, however, is the experimental component. When I wrote the older course, I had the students perform the best experiments they could with reasonably-priced equipment. Since that book was written, however, the cost of certain chemistry equipment, such as precise mass scales, has gone down significantly. As a result, what is available at a reasonable price today is quite different from what was available back when the old course was written. Because of this, the experiments are significantly better in this new course.

For example, there are certain chemicals that tend to incorporate water into their solid phase. We call them hydrates. Consider the picture below:

The anhydrous (left) and hydrated form (right) of cobalt (II) chloride.  (click for credit)
The anhydrous (left) and hydrated form (right) of cobalt (II) chloride. (click for credit)

You might think these are two different compounds, but they are not. Both jars contain cobalt (II) chloride. The reason they look different is because the solid on the left has no water in it. As a result, we call it the anhydrous form of cobalt (II) chloride. The solid on the right has water in it, so we call it the hydrated form of cobalt (II) chloride. Both solids perform exactly the same chemistry. The only difference between them is the presence of water.

Continue reading “Discovering Design with Chemistry”

Is Soft Tissue Common in Dinosaur Bones?

Structures that appear to be red blood cells (left) and collagen fibers (right) found in the claw of an unknown dinosaur. (Image from paper being discussed).
Structures that appear to be red blood cells (left) and collagen fibers (right) found in the claw of an unknown dinosaur. (Image from paper being discussed). For scale, the white bars are 1 micrometer (left) and 5 micrometers (right).

In early June, an extraordinary paper was published in the journal Nature Communications. The paper is free to read, so I encourage you to take a look at it. The authors of the paper begin by offering a summary of the various discoveries of soft tissue in dinosaur bones. They then make this important point:

Models proposed to account for such preservation indicate that it should be the exception rather than the rule. In particular, it has long been accepted that protein molecules decay in relatively short periods of time and cannot be preserved for longer than 4 million years. Therefore, even in cases where organic material is preserved, it is generally accepted that only parts of original proteins are preserved and that the full tertiary or quaternary structure has been lost.

If you aren’t familiar with the terms, “tertiary” and “quaternary” structure refer to details that determine the three-dimensional shape of a protein, which is very important for its chemical function. Essentially, the authors of the paper are saying that the individual chemicals (called amino acids) that make up the protein might still be around after 4 million years or so, but the protein will be highly degraded.

So, the authors say that according to the prevailing wisdom right now, soft tissue preservation in dinosaur bones (which are supposed to be much, much older than 4 million years) should be very rare. They decided to test this idea, and not surprisingly, they found that it was wrong. How did they test it? They looked at eight dinosaur fossils found in Cretaceous rock, which is supposed to be between 145 million and 65 million years old. The authors suggest that the fossils are 75 million years old. The important point, however, is that these bones were definitely not well-preserved. As one of the authors said in a news report:

They’re very scrappy, individual broken bones. I can’t even tell you what dinosaur they come from.

What they found in these “scrappy” bones is surprising, at least if you think they are 75 million years old.

Continue reading “Is Soft Tissue Common in Dinosaur Bones?”