Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 50-year-old man was found dead in his Centereach home that had caught fire on Wednesday, Suffolk County police said.Neighbors called 911 when they heard an explosion and saw flames coming from a house on Minerva Lane, where Centereach Fire Department firefighters found Timothy Oskey unresponsive, lying on the floor of the basement at 2:40 p.m., police said.Oskey was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.The Ronkonkoma, Farmingville and Selden Fire Departments also responded to help extinguish the flames.Homicide Section and Arson Section detectives are continuing the investigation but do not suspect foul play.
The title of this entry, in Kipling Just-So Story format, is only slightly modified from an article from The Guardian, titled, “How Bambi evolved into Moby-Dick.” This is not a joke; check on the link and see. The article is about the latest fossil claimed to be ancestral to whales. Hans Thewissen (Northeastern Ohio College of Medicine) has spent many years trying to trace an evolutionary path to whales from artiodactyls (even-toed ungulates, a group of mammals including deer, cattle, sheep, goats, giraffes, pigs, and camels). This was the subject of a chapter in the PBS Evolution series, “Great Transformations,” in 2001 (see review on ReviewEvolution.com). Thewissen’s latest candidate missing link is a raccoon-size deer-like fossil animal found in Kashmir; the discovery and analysis was published in Nature.1 The Guardian was ebullient in its certainty that this is the link:The landmark finding represents a long-sought ‘missing link’ in the 10m-year [10 million year] journey that saw ancient land mammals evolve into modern cetaceans, a group that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.” Scientists have long known that whales are mammals whose ancient ancestors walked on land, but only in the past 15 years have they unearthed fossils that shed light on the creatures’ dramatic evolutionary history. The latest discovery, named Indohyus, is the first whale ancestor known to have lived on land.On what basis did Thewissen and his team think this fossil had anything to do with whales? The teeth are “similar to those of aquatic animals,” and the bones suggest a heavy stance like that of hippos. The bones around the inner ear look similar to those of cetaceans, the article claims. That’s about all the data this article mentioned, yet the certainty that this represents the missing link continued:The evolutionary path of the whale is one of the most extraordinary on record. In less than 10m years, the whale’s ancestors completely transformed as they shifted from a four-legged life on land to a life in the ocean. The first whales, Pakicetidae, emerged around 50m years ago and resembled land mammals rather than the giant marine creatures of today. These evolved into large, powerful coastal whales, or Ambulocetidae, that had big feet and strong tails. Later, whales lost their hind limbs and hair and developed powerful tail fins and flippers.One difficulty is that this fossil “overturns a previous assumption that the ancestors of whales were already carnivores before they left land for a life beneath the waves.” Being a herbivore, what was it doing in the water? Thewissen thinks it was acting like the modern mouse deer of Africa, which escapes from eagles by diving under the water for up to four minutes. To reinforce the missing-link message of Indohyus, the article stuck it to the creationists:Fred Spoor, an anthropologist at University College London, said the significance of the latest find was comparable to Archaeopteryx, the first fossils to show a clear transition between dinosaurs and birds. “For years cetaceans were used by creationists to support their views because for a long time the most primitive whales known had bodies that looked like modern whales, so there seemed to be this enormous gap in evolution. But since the early 1990s, there’s been a rapid succession of fossils from India and Pakistan that beautifully fill that gap,” he said. “The tables are turned now because we have fossils that show that dramatic transition step by step. Cetaceans are almost the only group that has made such a rapid change from a land environment to an aquatic one. “Unlike sealions and seals, which still spend some time on land, cetaceans are completely committed to the water now, and it had an enormous effect on their physiology. They had to change everything.”This last sentence, they had to change everything, makes it sound as if the whales directed their mutations with the goal of becoming aquatic – that is most certainly not what the evolutionists mean. Such language, however, blurs the way the Darwinian mechanism is supposed to work. Individual members of Indohyus or cetaceans could not possibly know or care what was happening to them. Evolution works on the genes in large populations over a long, drawn-out process involving mutations selection pressures without any goal in mind – certainly not in the minds of any individual animals. No amount of individual striving gets passed on to the offspring – that would be Lamarckism. The article ends with the “more work to do” theme, but includes more purpose-driven language on the part of the whales:Thewissen’s group will next study Indohyus further to learn more about its diet and habitat. One critical change that occurred when whales took to the water involved its sense of balance and orientation. In land mammals, this is governed by a vestibulary system in the inner ear, but whales had to adapt to moving in three dimensions, driving the evolution of a more complex system. “This fossil completes the picture in terms of the whales’ evolution, but what’s next is to look at these other evolutionary adaptations,” said Thewissen.So the frame of the puzzle is done, and now it’s just a matter of filling in the middle. Is that what the original paper said? In the journals, scientists tend to be more reserved in their announcements than in the popular press. It’s interesting that for a discovery this “dramatic” there was no review article accompanying the paper. The abstract says that Indohyus was a “sister group” to the whales. This means it was not on the path to whalehood, but both had a common ancestor. Claims that whale evolution is “documented” and “strongly supported” continue in the paper, but the opening paragraph leads one to suspect that a single fossil species like Indohyus cannot be expected to solve all the problems:Phylogenetic analyses of molecular data on extant animals strongly support the notion that hippopotamids are the closest relatives of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises). In spite of this, it is unlikely that the two groups are closely related when extant and extinct artiodactyls are analysed, for the simple reason that cetaceans originated about 50 million years (Myr) ago in south Asia, whereas the family Hippopotamidae is only 15 Myr old, and the first hippopotamids to be recorded in Asia are only 6 Myr old. However, analyses of fossil clades have not resolved the issue of cetacean relations. Proposed sister groups ranged from the entire artiodactyl order, to the extinct early ungulates mesonychians, to an anthracotheroid clade (which included hippopotamids), to weakly supporting hippopotamids (to the exclusion of anthracotheres.Indohyus is an Eocene artiodactyl in a group Raoellidae, which previously had no linkage to the whale line. Thewissen et al are therefore making a radical new hypothesis. “This has profound implications for the character transformations near the origin of cetaceans and the cladistic definition of Cetacea, and identifies the habitat in which whales originated,” they say. “Taken together, our findings lead us to propose a new hypothesis for the origin of whales.” New hypotheses, however, tend to create as many problems as they solve, because old assumptions get discarded. Evolutionists have already been claiming for years that the whale evolution story is strongly supported with other fossils. How can a specimen from a small, extinct deer-like animal wedge its way into an existing story? It becomes necessary to juggle things around:To investigate the importance of raoellids in cetacean phylogeny, we excluded raoellids from our initial phylogenetic analysis of artiodactyls plus cetaceans. Our data set differed from previous analyses by the addition of several archaic anthracotheres, and some corrected scores for pakicetid cetaceans. This analysis found stronger support for hippopotamid�cetacean sister-group relations than the previous analysis, consistent with molecular studies. However, the base of the artiodactyl cladogram is poorly resolved (see Supplementary Information for details on phylogenetic runs).This is how phylogenetic analysis is really done. Assumptions are made, and some earlier associations get tossed by the wayside in an effort to achieve a desired amount of “consistency.” So Thewissen and team changed the recipe and got some new flavors:In a second cladistic analysis (Fig. 2), we added the raoellids Khirtharia and Indohyus as well as several archaic ungulate groups (condylarths) and found that raoellids and cetaceans are sister groups and that they are the basal node in the Cetacea/Artiodactyla clade, consistent with some previous analyses that used different character sets. Our analysis is the first to show that raoellids are the sister group to cetaceans, resolving the biogeographic conundrum and closing the temporal gap between cetaceans and their sister. Relations between most artiodactyl families higher in the tree are poorly resolved, and our data lack implications for the relations between these families. Our analysis strongly argues that raoellids and cetaceans are more closely related to each other than either is to hippopotamids.This is a human line of argument – not a single, clear, uncontroversial picture emerging inescapably from the data. Everything is inference: trying to find a pathway through scattered data points, after first assuming a pathway exists. The reader should not picture a straight line from Indohyus to Blue Whale. The human researchers are picking their way through a data forest with a goal in mind. The forest is not leading them on a single yellow brick road. Indohyus, for instance, has a thickening around its middle ear that was thought diagnostic of cetaceans. What does this mean? The paper presents two possibilities: either Indohyus was similar to whales, or this trait can no longer be thought characteristic of whales. As with Tiktaalik, the data present mosaics of traits that require human judgment about what goes with what clade, and which clades are closer or farther apart. In the paper, the team considered various groupings, but made decisions based on their own preferences: e.g., regarding one alternative tree, they said, “We do not prefer this classification because it causes instability by significantly altering the traditional content of both Artiodactyla and Cetacea.” The team sought the most “parsimonious” tree of descent – but parsimony is a human value, not a whale value. Not even all humans will agree what constitutes parsimony. The team acknowledged that cetaceans and raoellids possess some synapomorphies (derived traits shared by terminal groups), but then said, “None of these features characterize all modern and extinct cetaceans; the dental characters, for instance, cannot be scored in toothless mysticetes. In addition, all of these characters are found in some mammals unrelated to cetaceans.” There are multiple ways to interpret the data, therefore. The synapomorphies might indicate relationship – or, they could overthrow assumptions about which traits are diagnostic of which clades. Clearly, this team did not attach any significance to the similarities that didn’t fit a deer-to-whale lineage. “We attach particular importance to two character complexes that characterize basal cetaceans,” they said, but that assumes what needs to be proved (circular reasoning). The team attached great importance to the teeth. But Indohyus, they said, was a herbivore, and whales are carnivores; how much about relationship can be inferred from teeth of groups with very different dietary habits and behaviors? What kind of tree would have resulted had they attached particular importance to other traits? One can imagine other evolutionary paleontologists having their own assumptions, preferences, methodologies, and arriving at very different conclusions. Other traits were mentioned that do not help the story of whale evolution. The team noticed that the leg bones showed osteoporosis, which they interpreted as meaning that Indohyus was stable in the water – but not a swimmer: “We interpret the limb osteosclerosis of Indohyus to be related to bottom walking and not to slow swimming, because the limbs are gracile and not modified into paddles.” Other mammals, however, like beaver and otters and sea lions, show more modifications for aquatic lifestyle than this creature, and no one lumps them into a whale phylogeny. So even if the oxygen or carbon isotopic ratios in the tooth enamel show a probability the creature lived a good part of its time in the water, how much can this tell us about its evolutionary path? As a matter of fact, the team decided the diet of Indohyus was significantly different than whale diet. So here is the long and short about this creature:Indohyus was a small, stocky artiodactyl, roughly the size of the raccoon Procyon lotor (Fig. 5). It was not an adept swimmer; instead it waded in shallow water, with its heavy bones providing ballast to keep its feet anchored. Indohyus may have fed on land, although a specialized aquatic diet is also possible.Whales do not use their bones as ballast to stay anchored to the bottom. They do not eat vegetables. They do not walk on four feet. By what kind of convoluted reasoning can a raccoon-size deer be considered ancestral to dolphins and blue whales? Even if it spent more time in water than the modern mouse deer, many mammals are accustomed to water: moose, bears, water buffalo, and of course otter and beaver – why are they not in the race to become whale ancestor? The researchers even admitted that “The great evolutionary change that occurred at the origin of cetaceans is thus not the adoption of an aquatic lifestyle.” They pinned all their inference on diet: “Here we propose that dietary change was the event that defined cetacean origins,” they said – but that is a radically new proposal from what they said before, because Indohyus eats plants, and whales don’t. By all measures, it seems this new creature is even further removed from whale ancestry than the last candidate. Their ending paragraph summarized the just-so story of how Bambi evolved into Moby Dick:Our working hypothesis for the origin of whales is that raoellid ancestors, although herbivores or omnivores on land, took to fresh water in times of danger. Aquatic habits were increased in Indohyus (as suggested by osteosclerosis and oxygen isotopes), although it did not necessarily have an aquatic diet (as suggested by carbon isotopes). Cetaceans originated from an Indohyus-like ancestor and switched to a diet of aquatic prey. Significant changes in the morphology of the teeth, the oral skeleton and the sense organs made cetaceans different from their ancestors and unique among mammals.This is, as they themselves said, only a “working hypothesis” at best. Compare that with the triumphal announcements in the The Register quoted at the beginning of this entry: “The tables are turned now [against the creationists] because we have fossils that show that dramatic transition step by step.”Update 12/26/2007: Science Now reported on the Thewissen claim, but ended with an alternative: “Another analysis, in press at Cladistics, suggests that an extinct group of carnivorous mammals, called mesonychids, were more closely related to cetaceans.” Mesonychids looked less like Bambi and more like the Big Bad Wolf. The only similarity seems to be that they were equidistant from Moby Dick.1. Thewissen, Cooper, Clementz, Bajpai and Tiwari, “Whales originated from aquatic artiodactyls in the Eocene epoch of India,” Nature 450, 1190-1194 (20 December 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06343.Will evolutionists actually tell lies to push their beliefs? Yes—you saw it right here. Fred Spoor told you that Archaeopteryx represents a clear transition between dinosaurs and birds, when he knows full well it appeared too late in his own evolutionary timeline to be a missing link (10/24/2005). The big lie in the Nature article, and in the popular press, was to portray this fossil discovery as a great victory for evolution, and a step-by-step sequence showing the whole ancestry. It is no more victory than picking up a spent lottery ticket on the dusty ground and thinking it is a missing link to riches. Philosophers of science could have some good banter about the logic of discovery – whether they discovered something true to nature in the data, or imposed their own experiences and preferences on the data. Clearly, this team decided to pick and choose a few traits from a fossil they preferred over other problematical ones, and from these to weave a whale of a just-so story with which to dupe the public and shoot the creationists. Well, their shot only hurt as much as a blast of bad breath in the face, that’s all. You know what to expect from National Geographic, and you got it: “Whales Evolved from Tiny Deerlike Mammals, Study Says.” The bigger the whopper, the better; have it your way, NG (10/24/2004). Not to be left behind in the Whopper Olympics, the BBC News trumpeted, “Whale ‘missing link’ discovered.” This is the mess of things that Charlie Darwin left in his wake when he allowed the magicians and storytellers into the once noble halls of science (12/22/2003 commentary). It’s time to clear house and clean up. Send the whole lot of them back to school to learn some history and philosophy and ethics, and make them sign a commitment to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That would solve most of the problems in the contentious creation-evolution debate. Bambi to Moby Dick—incredible. PhD scientists actually believe that? They want that taught in the schools? We need a new word that means to laugh and cry at the same time, because this whale of a tale deserves a whopping blubberfest. Maybe the word howl will do. Perhaps this is why the humpback whales are howling.(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
(Visited 792 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 A fossil is a standalone reality. Darwinism is a story that force-fits these standalone realities into a predetermined narrative. Watch how it is done.Oldest Plesiosaur Is Still a PlesiosaurAt New Scientist, Michael LePage is astonished at a Triassic plesiosaur. Even though it is clearly a plesiousaur, it’s ‘older’ than the plesiosaurs that dominated in the Jurassic and Cretaceous parts of the evolutionary timeline, he says. The rocks, and the labels applied to them, however, do not tell time. The labels like “Triassic” are man-made, and only describe what fossils are found in rocks with that label. (Remember that radiometric dating is not done on sedimentary rock.) Darwinians take the rocks and the fossils and construct evolutionary stories of common ancestry and millions of years. Taking out his Darwin magic wand and using the moyboy incantation book, LePage chants “it evolved” as his abracadabra to relate his oracle:The fossil shows that, as predicted, plesiosaurs evolved in the late Triassic and survived the mass extinction that ushered in the Jurassic era 200 million years ago. All other marine reptiles, apart from the dolphin-like ichthyosaurs, died out….At the beginning of the Triassic, a wide range of reptiles colonised the seas. Some evolved long, flexible necks with up to 70 vertebrae – more than any other vertebrates. These “snake-necked” marine reptiles gave rise to plesiosaurs late in the Triassic, the new find confirms….Plesiosaurs thrived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous. Some evolved into the short-necked, large-headed pliosaurs, such as the enormous Predator X. They died out 66 million years ago, along with the dinosaurs.Science Daily, too, ignores the requirements to build a successful animal in its rush to Darwinian storytelling. Any creature that is ‘successful’ is considered a masterpiece of evolution.Instead of laboriously pushing the water out of the way with their paddles, plesiosaurs were gliding elegantly along with limbs modified to underwater wings. Their small head was placed on a long, streamlined neck. The stout body contained strong muscles keeping those wings in motion. Compared to the other marine reptiles, the tail was short because it was only used for steering. This evolutionary design was very successful, but curiously it did not evolve again after the extinction of the plesiosaurs” says paleontologist Prof. Martin Sander from the Steinmann Institute of Geology, Mineralogy, and Paleontology of the University of Bonn.The long extinct paddle saurians easily could have held their own against today’s water animals….The phrase “evolutionary design” is a case of sophoxymoronia. Darwinism has no designer. In Darwin’s theory, stuff just happens. Some stuff lasts longer than other stuff; that’s all.The paper in Nature‘s open-access journal Science Advances is full of Darwinese. The authors speak of an evolutionary line, and evolutionary trend, and “the evolution of a unique body plan.” From the headline to the abstract, we are told that “In the aftermath of the end-Permian extinction, diverse marine reptiles evolved early in the Triassic.” But since they cannot trace the specific mutations that occurred to be naturally selected, nor identify any transitional forms, all they have left is the power of suggestion emanating from the incense of Darwin’s vision: “Histology suggests the concurrent evolution of fast growth and an elevated metabolic rate as an adaptation to cruising and efficient foraging in the open sea.” Normally, sensible people would attribute “efficient foraging” to engineering design.Today’s Tortoises Have Devolved from Fossil SpecimensWhat do you say when animals were bigger and better in the past? If you are a Darwinian, you still ascribe it to evolution. For example, Colin Barras at New Scientist surprises his readers by stating that “Giant tortoises are rare today but once roamed four continents.” So how does this anomaly fit Darwin’s theory? Barras offers proof by assertion:Tortoises evolved into giants on at least seven occasions and on four continents. The finding undermines the long-standing idea that tortoises become enormous only if they are stranded on remote islands.Because giant tortoises only survive on the Galapagos Islands today, evolutionists came up with an ‘island rule’ that “states that, on islands, small animals tend to evolve larger bodies.” Even though evolutionists were caught wrong by the fossil record, Darwinism can’t lose. “Tortoises evolved.”Penguins Have Also Devolved from Fossil SpecimensA penguin as tall as a man? Really? That’s what Live Science reports about a “refrigerator-sized” penguin fossil found in New Zealand. Ironically, the discoverers at first thought they had found a giant turtle. This specimen only gets the silver medal, though; “The ancient behemoth is now considered the second-largest penguin on record” after one found in Antarctica. That’s the evidence. Now, stay tuned for the evolutionary confab:The bird’s gigantism indicates that “a very large size seems to have developed early on in penguin evolution, soon after these birds lost their flight capabilities,” said study co-lead researcher Gerald Mayr, a curator of ornithology at the Senckenberg Research Institute, in Germany….Given that the Antarctic penguin was larger than K. biceae, it’s likely that “giant size evolved more than once in penguin evolution,” Mayr said.Let’s get this straight. Penguins got smaller, so they evolved. Penguins lost their flight capabilities, so they evolved. Darwin is never going to get humans from bacteria at this rate. Rushing to the rescue, the Darwinians surmise that New Zealand was surrounded by tasty fish, allowing the earlier penguins to grow larger (a Lamarckian explanation). Plus, there were “no predators to bother the penguins when they came ashore to molt their feathers and lay eggs.” If that were a law of nature, though, then Tahitians should be giants and dinosaurs should be midgets. And if the biggest penguin was in Antarctica, that’s not exactly a small island or a fish paradise. In summary, animals evolve to get larger except when they don’t.Ben Garrod joins the story fest on The Conversation, speculating thatIt is possible that the animals that survived the extinction were able to thrive and develop because their competitors and predators had disappeared. Many of these species evolved to become much larger, a tendency known as “Cope’s Rule”. Bigger animals are usually better at hunting, attracting a mate, retaining heat and can even be more intelligent.As shown in 3/26/15, “Why such large animals in the fossil record?”, Cope’s Rule is a corollary of the Stuff Happens Law, because there are many exceptions. Garrod has another problem: “We previously thought that giant penguins took much longer to evolve” [Who’s “we,” paleface?] Now, he will have to shove this evolutionary change into a shorter time period. A little Darwin Flubber solves that problem. The story goes on.Stop the Presses! Transitional Form Found!It’s right there in the Johns Hopkins press release, with a picture: “Evolutionary Biologists Say Recently Discovered Fossil Shows Transition of a Reptile From Life on Land to Life in the Sea: Modern New Zealand reptile [tuatara] may be a close relative.” Wait a minute; didn’t animals start in the sea and evolve to the land? Of course, but some of them went back: you know, sea turtles, plesiosaurs, sea snakes, ichthyosaurs, that sort of thing (and much later, whales and dolphins in the evolutionary scenario). Some live on both land in in water, like alligators and crocodiles. The Darwinists at Johns Hopkins salivated at the chance to be “unlocking its evolutionary secrets” of this exceptionally-preserved fossil that resembles the tuatara in some respects. But how much can you tell from the shape of the skull, a long tail, and large limbs? Not much; but that doesn’t keep a Darwinian storyteller from trying anyway. Does this fossil really show a transitional form? Caution: futureware coming. Get out your perhapsimaybecouldness index meter:Bever notes that a complete evolutionary history of Vadasaurus will require more data and fossil finds.“We don’t know exactly how much time Vadasaurus was spending on land versus in the water. It may be that the animal developed its aquatic adaptations for some other reason, and that these changes just happened to be advantageous for life in the water,” says Bever.Did the creature “develop its aquatic adaptations” by design for a purpose? If not, what specific mutations were selected by the unguided Darwinian mechanism that “just happened to be advantageous” here? Darwinians don’t care, because the Stuff Happens Law takes care of all inconvenient details that would otherwise require thinking.Cambrian Jellyfish Embryos Didn’t Evolve for Half a Billion YearsSomeone in the press office at University of Bristol tried to be cute with a seasonal story about orphans reunited with their parents in time for Christmas, but the whitewash doesn’t wash on this Darwinian defense wall. This is not a story of evolution, but of stasis—exceptional stasis. Philip Donoghue, working with evolutionists in China, used X-ray imaging to determine that a mysterious microfossil called Pseudooides (false egg) is really the embryo of a jellyfish. The tiny fossils, smaller than sand grains, have the same internal patterns as embryos of jellyfish. This means they are not ancestors of segmented animals as previously believed. Donoghue blushed, “It seems that, in trying to classify these fossils, we’ve previously been barking up the wrong branch of the animals family tree” [Who’s “we,” paleface?] So will Darwin take a hit for this mistake? Never. The Darwin web of belief is impregnable, at least by fiat. Every evidence must be forced into the evolutionary story, even if it looks like devolution:Luis Porras, who helped make the discovery while still a student at the University of Bristol, said: “Pseudooides fossils may not tell us about how complex animals evolved, but they provide insights into the how embryology of animals itself has evolved.”“Pseudooides did things differently and more efficiently, developing directly from embryo to adult. Perhaps living jellyfish are a poor guide to ancestral animals.”Donoghue added, “It’s amazing that these organisms were fossilized at all,” because they are extremely delicate creatures. What this means is that ancestors of the animals that exploded onto the fossil record in the Cambrian Explosion could have been preserved in Precambrian strata, had they existed. Everyone knows that the Cambrian Explosion is one of the biggest evidential problems for the Darwinian story (see Stephen Meyer’s books Darwin’s Doubt and Debating Darwin’s Doubt), but evolutionists are in the habit of tip-toeing around this issue when the public is watching. In fact, they pretend that the abrupt appearance of some 20 new animal body plans with complex systems actually provides evidence for Darwinism. Watch how Donoghue performs this trick without blinking an eye, as quoted by his willing enabler and facilitator, Live Science:“They’re little more than aggregations of cells, and you wouldn’t have thought they could be fossilized at all,” Donoghue said. It’s lucky they have, he said, because the micro-fossils provide insights that paleontologists could get no other way.“The fossil embryos provide us with a direct insight into embryology of Cambrian animals and, in comparison to the embryology of living animals, we can deduce how embryology has evolved to create the body plans of living animals,” he said.Cambrian explosion? No problem. It actually gives Donoghue greater understanding of evolution. Evolutionists like being wrong to a point. It provides job security for storytellers (6/25/14).Tick Talk on Dinosaur Blood and FeathersA piece of amber shows a feather and a tick nearby. While that’s interesting, some evolutionists are making this into a showpiece of evolution, a “once-in-a-lifetime discovery” that may mean that this tick gorged on the blood of “feathered dinosaurs” (cue soundtrack of Jurassic Park). You can just look at the picture of the amber at CNN.com and you may not be convinced that the sparrow-sized creature, small enough to dance in your hand, was related to Velociraptor as claimed. Darwin skeptics may be more interested in finding out if melanosomes or DNA could be extracted from the fossil, since Science Daily says, “all attempts to extract DNA from amber specimens have proven unsuccessful due to the short life of this complex molecule.” If DNA is found, even in decayed form, it would argue that the amber is not 99 million years old.The article admits that the feather looks like one from modern birds, but that cannot be. The Darwin timescale forbids it. And to the “official” spin is given: “Cretaceous amber provides a window into the world of the feathered dinosaurs, some of which evolved into modern-day birds.”“So although we can’t be sure what kind of dinosaur the tick was feeding on, the mid-Cretaceous age of the Burmese amber confirms that the feather certainly did not belong to a modern bird, as these appeared much later in theropod evolution according to current fossil and molecular evidence.“So who are you going to believe? The Darwin storyteller or your own eyes? Another thing: the Darwinians seem excited to find that ticks (a) didn’t evolve, (b) fed on dinosaurs, and (c) survived a global extinction as if nothing happened.Together, these findings provide direct and indirect evidence that ticks have been parasitising and sucking blood from dinosaurs within the evolutionary lineage leading to modern birds for almost 100 million years. While the birds were the only lineage of theropod dinosaurs to survive the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous 66 million years ago, the ticks did not just cling on for survival, they continued to thrive.By not evolving or going extinct, this could mean that ticks are evolutionary cling-ons.Fluffy Dinosaurs and Bluffy EvolutionistsOne of the biggest memes in the last three decades of Darwin storytelling is the quip that birds are dinosaurs. Live Science shows that evolutionists are flapping this meme for all it’s worth: “Feathered Jurassic Dinosaurs Were Fierce and … Fluffy?” Science Daily echoes this meme, “Feathered dinosaurs were even fluffier than we thought” [Who’s “we,” paleface?]. The first strategy is to establish who’s boss in the scientific explanation game. The evolutionist makes a BAD assertion:Birds are the direct descendants of a group of feathered, carnivorous dinosaurs that, along with true birds, are referred to as paravians — examples of which include the infamous Velociraptor.Buried in the text, though, are problems. The articles are talking about fossils of Anchiornis huxleyii,* a crow-sized bird said to be 160 million Darwin Years old. The fact that it had feathers on its hind limbs as well as its wings says little about how it operated in the air or on the ground (some chickens have feathers on their legs). But with a little imagination, a willing artist and Darwin futureware, anything is possible:The finding [the claim of “fluffy” feathers] shows that the feathers of Anchiornis, and another feathered dinosaur known as Sinosauropteryx, were simpler — and fluffier — than previously thought. Moreover, the dinosaur fossils in the study indicate that modern wings and feathers likely developed later along the evolutionary timeline than researchers had assumed.Saitta and his colleagues plan to keep searching for more feathered dinosaurs, which might provide evidence that will help them study how primitive wings and feathers fit into the evolutionary timeline that eventually gave rise to birds.“Working out these relationships will help determine the timing and patterns of feather evolution,” he said. “I cannot give you any precise geologic dates for these, though. There are a lot more fossils to be found.”Science Daily quotes Evan Saitta saying that seeing fluff in feathers provides some insight into “the evolution of feathers, birds, and powered flight.” The Illustra film Flight: The Genius of Birds (see sample clips here) gives evidence, on the contrary, that powered flight is an all-or-nothing proposition unreachable by a blind process like Darwinian evolution.*Incidentally, the original fossil of Archaeopteryx is being re-classified as an anchiornithid, according to German scientists at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich. This shows that evolutionary taxonomists can change their opinions after 156 years of textbook science. Instead of admitting they were wrong, they take the moral high ground, saying, “Its taxonomic reassignment therefore provides new insights into the evolution of the bird-like dinosaurs in the Middle to Late Jurassic.”Believers in LittlefootEvolutionists may not believe in Bigfoot, but they believe in Little Foot. Little Foot is the sacred name give to a fossil ape that has now been enshrined in a holy sarcophagous in South Africa (see picture at the BBC News). It’s important to Darwinists to label this female ape a “human ancestor” so that they can put it in the human family tree, even though it was just as much an ape as Sister Lucy. They date this skeleton at 3.5 million Darwin Years, forgetting the recent announcement of a modern human skeleton, “almost indistinguishable from those of modern-day humans,” as far back as 3 million years (6/08/17). Since it had parents that had parents, that makes the Morocco skeleton almost contemporary with Little Foot, even if one accepts the evolutionary timeline. So where is the evolution? We have apes today contemporaneous with modern humans. Some apes in the fossil record have gone extinct, that’s all.One of the keepers of the holy relic says, “It is through important discoveries like Little Foot that we obtain a glimpse into our past which helps us to better understand our common humanity.” Translation: we are all glorified apes. Remember Darwin’s “horrid doubt”? “The horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust the conviction of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” Logically, we can therefore disregard every propositional conviction of the materialistic Darwinians as untrustworthy and worthless. C. S. Lewis said,But if naturalism were true then all thoughts whatever would be wholly the result of irrational causes. Therefore, all thoughts would be equally worthless. Therefore, naturalism is worthless. If it is true, then we can know no truths. It cuts its own throat. (C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock, ed. Walter Hooper, Erdmans 1970, ch. 16, p. 144). Darwinians have no shame. We need to teach these People of Fluff how to blush. One solution is to rob them of their totalitarian power and create a level playing field, where they would have to defend their views in public debate with Darwin skeptics. As they try to muster all their fossils and finch beaks for the contest, cut to the chase: just read the C. S. Lewis quote (above) to them. When the public watches them become speechless and irrational, the priestly mask will come off, along with the imaginary royal robes on Emperor Charlie. That should create conditions for a Royal Blush.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the Centre has sanctioned a special package for strengthening security in three eastern districts of Arunachal Pradesh to tackle the insurgency problem there.“The special package for Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts will also include creation of new posts, purchase of vehicles and equipment for police,” Mr. Singh said, addressing the 31st Arunachal Pradesh statehood day programme here.He said necessary funds would be given at the earliest for construction of over 20 police stations in the three districts and asked the State government to expedite the work. Mr. Singh said his Ministry was actively considering the proposals submitted by the Arunachal Pradesh government for strengthening the security system in the State.The State government had sent a proposal for setting up an ITBP battalion here, Mr. Singh said, adding he had asked his Ministry’s officials to immediately examine it. He also promised to sanction a forensic science laboratory in the State.“We will do whatever is possible in the interest of the State for development. There is no dearth of funds. But every penny from the Centre should be judiciously utilised to maintain transparency so that nobody could point a finger,” he said.Hydro powerReferring to the hydro power potential of the State, Mr. Singh said a robust connectivity infrastructure was a must to tap this and turn it into a money spinner. Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari had already announced a ₹50,000 crore project for roads and bridges in the State. Four State roads have been announced as national highways and the State government should send proposals for early sanction, Mr. Singh said. He said the foundation stone for a railway line to Pasighat would be laid soon. To boost telecom and IT connectivity, work on band line for 5035 km is on. Ducting has been completed for 2300 km, while cables have been laid for 1300 km.Referring to the aviation sector, the Union Minister said the Centre had already given 75% subsidy for two MI-75 choppers in operation in the State, while subsidy for another small chopper would be approved soon. “Commercial flights will be made operational from Pasighat Advance Landing Ground (ALG) soon,” he added.On CM Pema Khandu’s decision to make official work paperless, he said it would bring efficiency and transparency . In the recent Vibrant Gujarat Summit, many investors wanted to invest in Arunachal, he said.
The United States triumphed over Europe on the last day of the Ryder Cup, the golf tourney held every two years and played out this week at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska.The US team had a three-point lead starting the second and final day of play on Sunday, which included 12 singles matches, reports Efe.The European team came close to beating the Americans in the early going on Sunday, racking up a quick three points in the morning rounds and pulling even in the overall tally. (Ryder Cup: ‘Captain America’ Patrick Reed downs Rory McIlroy in duel of rare quality)Successive wins by Sweden’s Henrik Stenson over Jordan Spieth (3-2), Belgium’s Thomas Pieters over J.B. Holmes (3-2) and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello over Jimmy Walker (3-2) gave the Europeans a little breathing room — and a good bit of momentum.However, Patrick Reed knocked off Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy in a fabulous face-off that wasn’t decided until a birdie putt on the 18th hole, and — with other wins during the day — the Americans were finally able to reclaim the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008.Although the Europeans had got off to a fabulous start in the first three matches on Sunday, later in the day, US captain Davis Love had Brandt Snedeker, Brooks Koepka and Ryan Moore going up against their rivals, and it was Moore who triumphed over Lee Westwood and sealed the US victory, prevailing 17-11. (Lee Westwood questions Tiger Woods’ role in US Ryder Cup team)advertisementThat score recalls the leadership of the legendary Arnold Palmer, who died a few days ago and was paid tribute to by the US team all week. He had headed the memorable US victory in the Cup competition in Laurel Valley in 1975.Although European captain Darren Clarke said that he and his teammates were “obviously very disappointed”, he added that they all had to acknowledge the great achievement of Love and his team.With this year’s win, the US brings a halt to Europe’s three-Cup streak, including its wins in Celtic Manor in 2010, Medinah in 2012 and Gleneagles in 2014, and it will next defend its newly-recovered title in Paris in 2018.
Aizawl, Jun 26 (PTI) Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel today said that a football academy would be set up at the Mizoram Football Associations (MFA) football ground at Sairang village near Aizawl.Goel, who is on a maiden two-day visit to Mizoram after becoming the Union Minister, said that the Football Academy would be set up in view of the recent excellent performance of Mizoram teams in national level football tournaments. Mizorams Aizawl Football Club (AFC) bagged the prestigious I-League 2017 while Mizoram team also won the National Games football in 2015 and the the Santosh Trophy in 2014.Goel accompanied by Mizoram Sports minister Zodintluanga also visited the Suaka Cricket ground. PTI HCV RG SNP
The National Housing Trust (NHT) has approved four projects, comprising 2,143 homes, under its Guaranteed Purchase Programme (GPP), since its launch in November 2018. “Construction is expected to commence during this quarter, with some solutions coming to the market by 2020,” Mr. Holness indicated. Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the projects include 2,050 one- and two-bedroom units in St. Catherine, another 41 in Westmoreland, and 52 two-bedroom houses in St. Elizabeth. The National Housing Trust (NHT) has approved four projects, comprising 2,143 homes, under its Guaranteed Purchase Programme (GPP), since its launch in November 2018.Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the projects include 2,050 one- and two-bedroom units in St. Catherine, another 41 in Westmoreland, and 52 two-bedroom houses in St. Elizabeth.“Construction is expected to commence during this quarter, with some solutions coming to the market by 2020,” Mr. Holness indicated.The Prime Minister was making his contribution to the 2019/20 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, on Tuesday (March 19).Under the GPP, developers will be allowed to conceptualise and execute development plans in designated areas at the approved prices.The NHT will purchase all or an agreed number of units, thereby relieving the developers of the associated market risk.Mr. Holness, who advised that the NHT is currently in discussions with 18 developers involved in the programme, said the number of solutions in each project under evaluation for purchase range from 10 to 750.He indicated that the programme has been “well received” as an important component in “energising” development within the lower income segment of the housing market.In this regard, the Prime Minister said the NHT, for which he has portfolio responsibility, continues to have dialogue with several other developers showing an interest in the programme.Meanwhile, Mr. Holness advised that the programme, which enables public-sector workers who are eligible mortgagers to access their NHT cash refunds, has been extended to 2021.“Additionally, mortgagers who are public-sector workers can now access their second NHT loan sooner. The time was reduced from 15 to 10 years, in 2008,” he said. Story Highlights
zoom Although the container shipping market remains fundamentally imbalanced, the new year brings with it fresh hopes for a recovery, according to Alphaliner.2016 saw a number of records, most of them marking new lows for a container shipping market that continues to suffer from excess capacity, with the weakness expected to persist for at least one more year.The global containership fleet recorded the lowest annual growth rate ever in the industry’s history as it increased by only 1.5% to reach 20.27 million TEU at the end of 2016, Alphaliner informed.Growth was kept low by the a record number of ships scrapped, with a total of 192 containership for 654,900 TEU demolished in 2016. The total capacity of containerships deleted reached 200 units for 664,300 TEU after adding a handful of de-celled ships and two casualties.New containership deliveries fell to 934,500 TEU in 2016, down 46% compared the year before. Very weak employment prospects prompted owners to delay the deliveries of some 60 ships with a total capacity of 400,000 TEU, while 18 ships with a total capacity of 57,000 TEU are believed to have been cancelled.Despite the low supply growth, the idle containership fleet surged to a record high of 1.59 million TEU in October before ending the year at 1.42 million TEU.“The surplus capacity overhang remains the industry’s biggest headache, especially with some 1.7 million TEU of new capacity due in 2017,” Alphaliner said.