Reconstructing the Past from Observations in the Present: A Practical Example from the Outer Banks

We use present day observations to infer past events every day.  I look out and see the patio is wet and a large dark cloud has just passed overhead.  From this I derive a very reasonable hypothesis despite not being an eyewitness to the history: my wet patio was caused by a rain shower.  I […]

Where’s the DNA? Young Earth Creationism and the Search for Ancient DNA

So how long can DNA or even cells survive in the environment once an organism dies?   This has been a topic of considerable debate in the scientific literature since the advent of high-throughput DNA sequencing techniques.  This growing field of scientific inquiry is fascinating to me and promises to shed new light on old questions.  I have […]

Adam, Eden, and the Corruption of Nature: A Thorny Young-Earth Assumption

Are the existence of plant thorns and thistles proof that the world can only be a few thousand years old?  Yes! according to most young-earth creationists. I’ve written several times about thorns and creation (eg. The Prelapsarian Acacia and the Good Creation:  On the Origin of Thorns) but a video available at creationtoday.org – a small fringe young-earth […]

Reflections on the Death of Toads and the Edenic Perfect Paradise

Ecology is the branch of biology that studies the interactions of organisms with each other and their environment.  The animals and plants around you are living in relationship with each other and the environment, including yourself. Around your home you may have considerable control over the environment – moisture, nutrients, lawn-mowing, week control, pest removal – and thus you are probably […]

A Challenge to Ken Ham: Send Your Employees to Professional Science Conferences

Image credit: NASA Ames

How do scientists communicate with each other?  What are the latest research results? How can one learn about theories and how they are regarded by the scientific community? Where can you talk to scientists about their work?  A partial answer to all of these questions is:  scientific conferences.  It is possible to stay somewhat current […]

NH Notes: Fossilized Animal Burrows in Argentina from the Triassic Period

Fossilized bones of dinosaurs, whales and mammoths get all of the attention but trace fossils provide important evidence for interpreting when and how organisms lived on Earth in the past. Trace fossils are not the fossilized remains of organisms themselves but rather are evidence of the past presence of organisms.  The most recognizable trace fossils […]

NH Update: Fuzzy Orange Galls on Oak Leaves, 2013-2015

My now 7-year-old daughter is very attentive to the insect population around our house. She spends many hours collecting all sorts of insects and other animals.   In the fall of 2013 she brought me a leaf that she thought had a caterpillar of some sort on it.   She is well aware that bugs make […]

Life in a Glass House: Diatoms Shatter Young Earth Flood Geology

Recently, while researching the diversity of life found in the fossil record for a seminar I will be giving in a few weeks, I was drawn into the fascinating world of diatoms.  Diatoms, which are single-celled organisms that live in glass-houses in almost any moist environment, are visually stunning, and so I thought I might use […]

Smoking Gun Evidence of an Ancient Earth: GPS Data Confirms Radiometric Dating

My last post, on the tectonic origins of the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley, brought me face-to-face once again with one of the most striking pieces of evidence for an ancient earth that I am aware of. Take a look at this graph. This graph shows the smoking gun. Smoking gun evidence of what? That […]

The Origins of the Dead Sea: A Geo-Biblical Exploration – Part I

Just 50 miles from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea is a deep scar in the face of the Earth.  Long known as the Valley of Siddam, the vale of salt, or the Jordan Valley, its most famous feature is the Dead Sea, which sits 1400 feet below the Mediterranean shore.  The exceptionally salty […]

NH Notes: Fossilization Caught in the Act – A Mammoth from Texas

Does fossilization require rapid burial as the result of catastrophic global flooding?  Literalist creationists would have us believe so for they point to the fossil record as being proof of a cataclysmic global flood.   Look a bit deeper though and you will find that creationists frequently concede there are thousands of exceptions to this general […]

Plants and the Biblical Definition of Life: What is Life – Part II

Are plants alive? Ken Ham seems to think so since he refers to “animal or plant life in outer space.”  But what does he mean by alive?  I think he has only a secular scientific definition of life in mind when he makes these statements.  I wonder if he even knows that his own website […]

Ken Ham’s Aversion to ‘Life’ on Other Planets, Part I – What is Life?

Ken Ham recently proclaimed that he thought it was highly unlikely that “plant life” would be found on other planets. I wonder what he thinks the word “life” means in this context? For example, does living mean that plants also experience death? If so, how can he say that animals and man were allowed to […]

When Marine Reptiles Ruled the Sea: Huge Ichthyosaur Fossil Find and the Age of Reptiles

Can you imagine the world’s oceans filled with carnivorous reptiles? Dinosaurs are the most famous members of the age of the reptiles. However, many of the original reptilian fossil discoveries that initiated the idea of the age of reptiles were not dinosaurs. They were instead reptiles that lived in the sea.

The Elusive Bird Leptin, Part II: Finding the Missing Bird Hormone

Yesterday I introduced the main character to this drama of the hunt for the elusive bird leptin.  Now its time to introduce the other players and get on with recounting how the discovery of the bird leptin gene was made. Several years ago I began collaborating with Dr. Rich Londraville (UA Biology) on a project involving the […]