1. Science: “Appendix Evolved More Than 30 Times

The appendix: useless vestige or valuable evolutionary innovation?

The appendix has long been maligned as an obsolete vestigial remnant of digestive evolution. As such, for many years, its primary function seemed to be to give surgeons a little something extra to do whenever they visited a patient’s abdomen. After all, it could get infected later and was thought to be useless, so why not get rid of it? Now, evolutionary analysis has finally caught up with the medical evidence that the modern appendix is functional and has now bestowed its blessing. Evolutionary biologist Heather Smith and surgeon William Parker presume to have elucidated the evolutionary history of the appendix and discovered “the strongest evidence yet that the appendix serves a purpose.”

Despite a century of evidence that suggested the appendix had some sort of immunological function, Darwin’s dictates ruled. Pathologists certainly had ample opportunity to study normal appendices, and they found they contained lymphatic tissue suggesting the normal appendix was designed to do a job. Yet Darwin, deluded by his day’s incomplete anatomic knowledge into thinking that only humans and great apes possessed appendices, hypothesized that the ancestral primate had evolved a large cecum to digest a tough leafy diet. He believed that its cecum eventually shriveled to a functionless appendix as dietary demands eased. And if Darwin said the appendix had no function, it was easy for many to ignore evidence to the contrary.

appendix The appendix is located at the juncture of the small intestine and the first part of the large intestine, called the cecum. Despite the common assertion that the appendix is a useless evolutionary vestige, comparative primate anatomy cannot trace its supposed origin. And despite the fact that we can live without it, it actually serves important functions in the immune system. Image credit: University of Maryland Medical Center www.umm.edu

As with many other mystery organs relegated to the vestigial evolutionary waste bin—metaphorically if not literally, since fortunately most are not so exposed for easy excision—the appendix eventually began to be rehabilitated as medical science found it impossible to ignore additional evidence of its important roles both before and after birth.1 To rectify this Darwinian dilemma, Parker’s team compiled data on the diets of 361 living mammals of whom they credit 50 with having an appendix. (German evolutionary biologist Olaf Bininda-Emonds points out that not all 50 are confirmed, but some are.) When analyzed in light of the mammalian evolutionary tree, they found the evolutionary history of the appendix failed to follow any particular pattern. Thus they conclude it evolved independently 32 to 38 times. Because it evolved so often, it must have been useful, right?

Parker himself has been one of the many researchers to be involved in actual experimental research elucidating the functions of the appendix. He and his colleagues have suggested the appendix provides a “safe house” for beneficial gut bacteria to shelter when dangerous pathogens temporarily out-compete them. That is real experimental science. That is real evidence for God’s good and purposeful design. And it needs no evolutionary confirmation or explanation.

The evolutionary “evidence” Parker and colleagues offer here is based purely on the presumption that mammals share common ancestry. And why? Not on the basis of any scientifically observable support—evolution of one kind of animal into an different, more complex kind has never been observed—but rather on the mere determination to explain biodiversity through naturalistic processes. The Bible provides God’s account of the origins of all kinds of animals (and plants and humans) in the first chapter of Genesis. God created many kinds and designed them to reproduce after their kinds. This is exactly what we see in biology, as organisms vary within their kinds but do not become new kinds of organisms.

Thus, the many unconnected and unexplained appearances of the appendix in the mammalian evolutionary tree merely serve as further confirmation that the tree is invalid. And they do not contribute one whit to actual medical science.

For more information:

2. Home School Legal Defense Association: “German Homeschool Case May Impact U.S. Homeschool Freedom

Federal government tips its hand: you have the freedom to be like others, but not necessarily the freedom to be different.

The plight of a German family that fled to the United States for political asylum reveals threats to the freedom of all Americans. Many non-homeschooling Americans may think the U.S. government’s effort to revoke the homeschooling family’s political asylum has nothing to do with them. However, a close look at the U.S. Attorney General’s case before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reveals several startling and disturbing positions that affect everyone’s freedom.

homeschoolersUwe and Hannelore Romeike and their five children fled German persecution for homeschooling their children and were granted asylum in the United States. Now the U.S. government is threatening to send them back where they may face fines, imprisonment, and loss of child custody. All Americans should be concerned. Why? The U.S. Attorney General’s arguments, by implication, (1) deny the fundamental liberty of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children; (2) deny that a right is being violated so long as the right is denied to everyone; (3) deny that religious liberty is an individual’s right; and (4) deny that persecution for a belief is genuine persecution because the problem would be solved if the “persecuted” person just changed his mind. According to HSLDA’s Michael Farris, Americans should stand up for the Romeike’s right to asylum, for in so doing we will be standing up for our own. Image credit: Wade Payne/AP through www.guardian.co.uk

Homeschooling is against the law in Germany. The German government wishes to “counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.” It is astonishing that Germany—a country that has suffered so much in the past century under Nazi and East German Communist totalitarian regimes that viewed children’s philosophical training to be under state control—would ban homeschooling on this ground, essentially mandating social homogeneity, discouraging individuality, and overriding parental authority. Nevertheless, German parents wishing to homeschool face fines and imprisonment. In 2007 Germany’s Federal Supreme Court ruled that parents could even lose custody for homeschooling their children.2 The Romeikes, having already accumulated fines and watched their children marched off to school by the police, fled in 2008 to “the land of the free and the home of the brave”—the United States.

U.S. law grants permanent political asylum if refugees can show they have been persecuted for religious reasons or for being part of a “particular social group.” The Romeikes were granted political asylum by a Tennessee immigration judge. Unfortunately for the family, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement appealed the ruling. Now the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has appealed their case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal court just below the Supreme Court.

Describing Germany, HSLDA Director of International Relations Michael Donnelly says, “It’s a democracy. They respect human rights. But in this area, it’s frightening how they treat people who want to do something very simple. There are 2 million children homeschooled in the U.S. . . . This is not a threat to the German state, but they are treating it that way, and it’s wrong.”3

The U.S. Attorney General’s arguments should raise red flags not only for people concerned about the Romeikes and others who may seek asylum in their footsteps, and not only for homeschooling families, but for all Americans. If you value your freedom to raise your children as you choose, or even just your freedom as an individual free to think and believe as you will, then you need to be aware of the U.S. government’s contentions in this case.

Homeschooling is legal in all of the United States with varying degrees of regulation in each state. Laws regulating homeschooling vary a great deal. Some states make periodic efforts to usurp parental control of the education process. These range from raising the compulsory attendance age to a very concerning law currently under consideration in Connecticut that would require children undergo periodic “behavioral health assessment.”4

The United States Supreme Court affirmed “the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control” way back in 1925 in the case of Pierce v. Society of Sisters.5 The high court ruled that this right was guaranteed under the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The Due Process clause guarantees:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United Sates; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court in Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) ruled that a parent has a fundamental right to “establish a home and bring up children” and the right to “worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.”6 And in Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972), the court supported the rights of parents to keep their children out of public schools for religious reasons.6 Clearly, our highest court has affirmed that liberty to direct the upbringing of one’s children is a fundamental right.

The U.S. Attorney General’s office, however, now argues that Germany is not violating anyone’s rights so long as no one is allowed to homeschool. In other words, if nobody in the country is allowed a particular freedom, then no one’s rights are being violated. Taken to its logical conclusion, this statement alone should keep all of us awake at night.

As HSLDA chairman, attorney Michael Farris, points out, our constitutional rights consist of “fundamental rights” and “equal protection.” The U.S. Attorney General’s office is implying that there is no fundamental liberty to homeschool and that therefore if no one is allowed to homeschool then no one’s rights are being violated. In light of previous court decisions affirming the liberty of a parent to direct the upbringing of their children, this argument is most disturbing.

The U.S. government’s argument further stipulated that the Romeikes were not suffering from religious persecution because not all homeschoolers were religious and not all Christians wished to homeschool. Thus, the U.S. Attorney General’s office seems to think that religious freedom is only the freedom to believe like others of the same religious group. But religious freedom is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment to every individual. It is not just the right to pick a church and march lock-step with its members.

Finally, the U.S. government is arguing that the Romeikes are not being persecuted for being part of a “particular social group” because they could change. If only they didn’t want to homeschool, they wouldn’t be part of that group. Therefore, our government claims their rights are not being violated.

While you read what the government has written in its case against the Romeikes, remember the immortal words of German pastor Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Catholic.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.7

And if you see your own freedoms in peril, then you probably are seeing the situation pretty clearly. Michael Farris says, “It is important that Americans stand up for the rights of German homeschooling families. In so doing, we stand up for our own.”

As the case is currently in the hands of the justice system, there is not at present a channel to receive public input. HSLDA is representing the Romeike case and monitoring these threats to our freedom. Their website offers the opportunity to keep informed. It may be that our federal lawmakers, as they consider reform of immigration laws, could, if encouraged by their constituents, include provisions to deal with others who may wish to seek freedom here to parent their children as they see fit. As to the justice department’s implicit threats to the freedoms of all, we must remain vigilant and watch for opportunity to make our voices heard.

For more information:

  • Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s Director of International Relations, explains more about the Romeike’s situation, the troubling implications for Americans, the roles of states in regulating home education, and a concerning piece of legislation in Connecticut8 that threatens to require intrusive “behavioral health assessment” of home educated children in a short video at www.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2013/February/Justice-Department-Home-Schooling-not-a-Right

3. LA Times: “Homo erectus? More like Homo selectus when it comes to tools

Homo erectus had style and design of their tools down to a science.

Recent years have seen the rehabilitation of the Neanderthal reputation upward from basic brute. Now it’s time for Homo erectus, whose fossils appear deeper in the fossil record, to get a facelift. If the public truly gets wind of their ingenuity and skill at crafting tools from the barest of materials, we may one day see them as the mascots for a Craftsmen™ tool ad!

picksThese handcrafted picks from Homo erectus sites, despite bearing conventional dates spread over half a million years, maintain a consistent shape and notched tip style. (ruler=20cm) Image credit: Y. Beyene et al., “The characteristics and chronology of the earliest Acheulean at Konso, Ethiopia,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2013) www.pnas.org.

axesThese hand axes were crafted using Acheulean technology by flaking off bits until the final product was sharp and functional. Researchers say that the common shape persisted for 900,000 years (two each, dated 1.75, 1.6, 1.25, and 0.85 million years, are shown left to right). By comparing the views of each side of each axe (shown one above the other), you can see that one of each of the first three pairs was constructed by flaking off bits mostly from one side. The other in each pair (and both of the last pair) are shaped and flaked on both sides. Thus Acheulean flake-knapping technology of even the more complex bifacial type was present even in the earliest Homo erectus tool collections. (ruler=25 cm) Image credit:  Y. Beyene et al., “The characteristics and chronology of the earliest Acheulean at Konso, Ethiopia,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2013) www.pnas.org.

axesThis hand axe from a Konso Homo erectus site has an extremely thin, sharp edge. It is practically symmetrical. Anthropologists note that producing a three-dimensionally symmetrical thin-edged object by sequentially flaking off bits of stone requires higher order thinking skills not previously associated with evolutionary presumptions about Homo erectus. Image credit: Y. Beyene et al., “The characteristics and chronology of the earliest Acheulean at Konso, Ethiopia,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2013) www.pnas.org.

chartThe earliest human remains are found in Ice Age deposits near Babel. By the middle of the Ice Age, however, human remains were scattered over three continents. New variations eventually appeared in different regions, such as Neanderthals in Europe. But by the end of the Ice Age, most of these variations disappeared. It is only at this late stage in the Ice Age that we find human remains in the Americas. Image and caption from www.answersingenesis.org.

Conventionally viewed as one of the earliest essentially human species to evolve, Homo erectus’s name means “upright man” to denote his unquestionable bipedality. Homo erectus fossils appear from the late Pliocene to late Pleistocene and are generally dated from 1.8 million years to 300,000 years ago. Evolutionary anthropologists of course insist that the human brain and human intelligence had to evolve over millions of years. Therefore, Homo erectus has, like other “cavemen,” been generally viewed as an extinct throwback scraping out an unplanned existence in a world he didn’t understand with the simplest of tools. The discovery of probable cooking fires and somewhat more advanced tools associated with Homo erectus has led to speculation that cooking their food fueled the development of bigger brains.

Now, researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they have re-dated and correlated geologic layers containing stone tools from northern Kenya’s Turkana Basin and Ethiopia’s Konso region hundreds of miles south. By examining tools associated with Homo erectus, they have determined the more advanced Acheulean tools actually show up in layers dated as old as 1.75 million years ago. Thus, they write, “Behavioral novelties were being established in a regional scale at that time, paralleling the emergence of Homo erectus-like hominid morphology.”9

Acheulean tools are considered an advance over Oldowan tools. The latter are generally smaller and could be produced by simply shattering a suitable rock by hand or on an anvil-stone to get sharp usable pieces.10 Acheulean tools are typically larger and have been produced from rocks more than 4 inches in diameter by dint of purposeful and planned flaking. Since this process requires “increased motor skill and advanced hierarchical cognition,”9 it appears Homo erectus knew how to craft their tools to meet their needs and establish an “actual stylistic tradition.”9

The researchers further noted that tools in even the oldest geologic layers suggested a great deal of skill was required to produce them. They were generally large—4 to 8 inches or larger in greatest dimension—and included “both large cutting tools (handaxes, cleavers, and knives) and heavy-duty tools (picks and core-axes).”9 The oldest were primarily shaped by flaking from one face, but even in the oldest layers some bore the marks of more complex bifacial flaking.9

Tools in higher layers exhibited refinements in functional design—such as handaxes with nearly symmetrical edges made thin and sharp all the way to the tip. Other tools—the picks—apparently requiring no functional modifications, not only maintained a fairly constant design over the years attributed to the rocky record, but even maintained a particularly artistic stylistic quality.9

“Within the Konso Acheulean sequence, the technologically less dynamic pick succession seems to exhibit evidence for subtle but actual stylistic tradition,”9 the authors write. Describing this artistic trademark, they write, “A common shape tradition can be inferred to persist through time. Although edge modification of the picks is neither universal nor standardized, the recurring tendency for a notched tip shape does suggest either functional and/or stylistic intent. The occurrence of diminutive examples corroborates the hypothesis that there was imposition of shape and that this imposition was, at least in part, stylistic.”9 In other words, for nearly a million years these people imprinted consistent shapes and their particular style on even the miniature versions of their picks.

Both functional designs that required planning and artistic style signify “advanced motor skill and cognition” to anthropologists. The authors explain that “purposeful thinning of large bifacial tools is technologically difficult, even in modern human ethnographic settings.”9 Furthermore, “manufacturing 3D symmetric tools is possible only with advanced mental imaging capacities.”9

Instead of being shocked that ancient human ancestors were advanced enough to have skills difficult even today, given similar resources, we note that these findings are exactly what we would expect to see in light of biblical history. Homo erectus people were a variety of human. Like all humans to exist since the global Flood nearly 4 ½ millennia ago, they descended from Noah’s family.

Descended from people who were dispersed from Babel, Homo erectus are preserved predominantly in the Lower and Middle Pleistocene sediments of East Africa and Central Asia, regions geographically close to the biblical Babel. In addition, Homo erectus fossils appear farther from Babel in Upper Pleistocene layers along with other varieties of people, such as Neanderthals and the very short Homo floresiensis of Indonesia. Yet the fossil record does not preserve further record of these particular varieties of humans after the Ice Age. (See the accompanying diagram above to understand how these people fit into biblical history.)

The people involved in building the tower of Babel were certainly not intellectually inferior evolutionary experiments in humanity. If their descendants generally displayed less technological prowess in the centuries following the dispersal from Babel, we can easily understand that isolated groups of people building new cultures for themselves would have required time to develop the sorts of artifacts today’s anthropologists equate with being highly intelligent.

Rather than supposing that evolving humans scattered around East Africa developed an artistic style that lasted for 500,000 years—dates based on a host of unverifiable assumptions—we instead propose that these intelligent people figured out how to make the tools they needed from the materials at hand and then refined the process somewhat, choosing to add their own artistic style. Based on biblical history and estimates of the duration of the Ice Age (from using the biblical history to realign the geologic record), we can infer that these people maintained their style for a matter of barely two centuries, but not for half a million years. Thus, biblical history makes sense of the tools in the rocks and explains the fact that from the beginning Homo erectus had a pretty smart head on his shoulders.

4. Tigray.net: “Lucy Makes Last Stop in California, Then Off to Ethiopia

Lucy makes her last stop before going home.

This spring is your last chance to see Lucy in the United States before she returns to her homeland. After resting four years in storage in Houston, Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia has opened at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, where Lucy will remain through April 28. Reflecting the evolutionary claim that Lucy is an ancient ancestor of humans, museum president Peter Keller says, “When you get down to the basics of human origins, there's no more important piece than the oldest complete human, or human ancestry remains, than Lucy.”11

lucyThis model of Lucy at the Bowers Museum perpetuates the anatomically unsupported notion that the extinct ape known as “Lucy” could walk with an ordinary upright bipedal gait. Image credit: H. Lorren Au Jr., Orange County Register through www.ocregister.com

lucyThis model of Lucy at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, includes holographic images of the fossil bones that demonstrate the unfitness of her pelvis for upright locomotion. Image credit: Chris Neville (Creation Museum)

Lucy will be returning to the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, her premiere there being planned to coincide with the May meeting of the African Union. “Lucy is our ambassador of good will,” says Amin Abdulkadir, Ethiopia's minister of culture and tourism. “Lucy is our icon. She helps build the image of our country. It's very good in terms of trade, investment and tourism.”

Named after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” Lucy has certainly had a glittering career since her bones were unearthed in 1974. Lucy is promoted as the best evidence of a transitional form between humans and presumed evolutionary ape-like ancestors. With a fairly typical ape’s head, most evolutionists depict Lucy as more human-like from the neck down, claiming she walked upright on two legs. As a result, most museum displays—including Bowers of course—include a somewhat hairy individual full of personality strolling comfortably through human history on two legs. But what is the real story?

As we discuss in detail in A Look at Lucy’s Legacy and Lucy, the Knuckle-walking “abomination”? Lucy’s anatomy is consistent with that of an extinct ape. Yet evolutionary determination to document transitioning progress from ape-like ancestors to us has tried to explain away her anatomical fitness for swinging12 through trees as evidence that evolution kept her options open. Lucy’s popularizers generally ignore evidence that the anatomy of her upper extremities strongly suggests she was a knuckle-walker.13 Furthermore, her pelvic anatomy precludes the comfortable upright walking shown in the Bowers Museum model. In fact, the best so-called evidence for Lucy’s bipedality comes from a set of human-looking footprints not even associated with her fossils. They were found roughly 1000 miles away from the site of Lucy’s discovery.

So what is Lucy’s real legacy? Lucy popularized for the public the idea that man evolved from an ape-like ancestor—one with a cute and memorable name. An iconic figure, she is imprinted on the minds of adults and children who may not be taught to see the numerous unverifiable assumptions on which evolutionary claims about her are based. Not learning to discern, many will go home from the exhibit thinking they have had a peek into humanity’s past and fail to realize that they have only seen an ape dressed up to tell a story at odds with the true story of our origins. In choosing whom to believe, each person really must decide whether to uncritically accept the insupportable claims of historical evolutionary science or our Creator’s account of our origins in the book of Genesis.

Despite the claims of evolutionists, the Bible’s account is not at odds with observable scientific principles, such as the fact that living things reproduce after their kinds and have never been observed evolving into new more complex kinds of creatures. And the biblical account has an added “advantage”: it came from the only eyewitness available, God Himself. So, whose word will you accept?

5. ScienceDaily: “Scientists Discover How Epigenetic Information Could Be Inherited: Mechanism of Epigenetic Reprogramming Revealed

Secret of epigenetic inheritance discovered.

While genetics may seem to some like a straightforward way in which parental characteristics are reshuffled and dealt out to offspring, scientists have long known the process reaches a level of complexity only partially understood. Last year’s discovery of the functionality of “junk” DNA14 highlighted this fact. Ongoing revelations about heritable epigenetic changes are another.

ChicxulubPrimordial germ cell (PGC) precursors appear early in mouse embryos, about day 6. At this time they still retain the epigenetic switches from their parents. Over the course of the next week, as these cells migrate to the gonadal ridge, these epigenetic markers are ordinarily removed. Once the mouse PGCs take on the gender-specific characteristics dictated by their chromosomes, they begin acquiring their own epigenetic switches and develop into the cells that later mature as sperm and eggs. Similar processes happen in humans. Cambridge researchers have discovered that sometimes the PGCs are not completely reprogrammed, allowing epigenetic markers from the parents to be inherited. Image credit: Nature Publishing Group Sasaki, H. & Matsui, Y. Epigenetic events in mammalian germ-cell development: reprogramming and beyond. Nature Reviews Genetics 9, 129–140 (2008) doi:10.1038/nrg2295 through www.nature.com where a more detailed illustration and explanation are available.

Epigenetics is a system of chemical switches that turns genes on or off. In fact, these regulatory mechanisms may well be represented in that functional “junk” DNA.15 But could genes being switched on and off by life experiences be passed on to offspring? Lamarck’s early 19th century ideas about how a giraffe could evolve a long neck because it had to stretch to reach trees have long been relegated to the bin of absurdity.

But what about recent evidence that epigenetic changes can be inherited? After all, the germ cells that a mouse or a person will later pass on to his or her offspring are produced very early in his or her own embryonic development. How can those germ cells be altered by the environment? Evidence demonstrates this does happen.

Prenatal exposure to famine seems to mark a person’s genes for life according to a 2008 study, and differences between identical twins’ epigenetic markers has been associated with the development of schizophrenia.16 Mice make a reasonably good model for epigenetic studies, and stress-induced aggression has been documented as a heritable epigenetic trait in mice.17 How can this happen? And do these discoveries have any implications as far as evolutionary claims go?

Ordinarily, whatever epigenetic changes exist in the DNA received by a developing mouse from its parents are erased in the primordial germ cells that develop inside that mouse embryo just a few days after it is conceived. Those primordial germ cells contain the genetic information that that mouse embryo will someday pass on to its own offspring. (See diagram.) Thus, the epigenetic footprints of a “grandparent” mouse’s past normally get removed from its offspring’s germ cells so that they will not be passed on to subsequent generations.

The primordial germ cells in a mouse embryo are the place where this “reprogramming” back to the mouse’s default state take place. Epigenetic changes consist of chemical changes affecting the expression of genes without changing the genes themselves. A typical epigenetic change is “methylation”—the attachment of a “methyl” group to certain places on the DNA. Reprogramming or erasing such an epigenetic marker then occurs by “demethylation”—removing the methyl group.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge studying how this reprogramming occurs discovered that sometimes it doesn’t succeed in erasing every epigenetic change. Though the reprogramming process of demethylation is quite efficient, it does occasionally miss some methylation sites. This allows some epigenetic alterations to be passed on to subsequent generations. This discovery illustrates one way epigenetic alterations can be inherited.

“Our research demonstrates how genes could retain some memory of their past experiences, revealing that one of the big barriers to the theory of epigenetic inheritance—that epigenetic information is erased between generations—should be reassessed,” says Dr. Jamie Hackett, lead author of the report published in Science. “It seems that while the precursors to sperm and eggs are very effective in erasing most methylation marks, they are fallible and at a low frequency may allow some epigenetic information to be transmitted to subsequent generations. The inheritance of differential epigenetic information could potentially contribute to altered traits or disease susceptibility in offspring and future descendants.”

Though mice make a pretty good model to gather data applicable to humans, there are differences yet to be assessed. Thus, Dr. Hackett adds, “It is not yet clear what consequences, if any, epigenetic inheritance might have in humans. Further studies should give us a clearer understanding of the extent to which heritable traits can be derived from epigenetic inheritance, and not just from genes. That could have profound consequences for future generations.”

There is certainly potential for medical applications that could benefit people. The principal investigator Professor Azim Surani explains, “The new study has the potential to be exploited in two distinct ways. First, the work could provide information on how to erase aberrant epigenetic marks that may underlie some diseases in adults. Second, the study provides opportunities to address whether germ cells can acquire new epigenetic marks through environmental or dietary influences on parents that may evade erasure and be transmitted to subsequent generations, with potentially undesirable consequences.”

But could epigenetic inheritance provide a mechanism for the evolution of new and more complex kinds of organisms? These researchers make no such claims. The subject does get broached by others. Last fall for instance, a review article in Scientist.com raised the question of whether permanent heritable epigenetic changes associated with “a IncRNA-based DNA editing system could be driving some aspects of genetic variation,” adding, “If this is true, one has to wonder what role lncRNA-directed DNA methylation has been playing in the evolution of the genome.”15 And at a recent symposium at which the epigenetic basis of aggressive sparrow behavior was presented, evolutionary ecologist Christina Richards suggested the field of epigenetics has “the potential to revolutionize the study of evolutionary biology.”18 Moreover, evolutionists habitually point to observable variation within created kinds as evidence for unobservable evolution of new and more complex kinds of organisms.

In none of these instances has anyone suggested mice or sparrows were developing traits of non-mice or non-sparrows. However, we see the word evolution so commonly generalized by, for instance, using the observable evidence of variation and speciation as “evidence” in support of evolution of increasingly complex new kinds, which is never observed. Therefore it is well to point out the obvious here: namely, genes that switch on and off, even in a way that can potentially be inherited, is a marvelously designed way of allowing plants, animals, and people to adapt without the actual loss of genetic information. But these mechanisms—amazing as they truly are—do not demonstrate any way of producing new genetic information such as would be required to evolve new kinds of creatures.

For more information:

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • In light of recent revelations concerning the U.S. Attorney General’s notions concerning the liberty of parents and guardians to oversee the education and upbringing of their children (item #2 above), now is a good time to call attention to recent assertions by physicist Lawrence Krauss. Krauss equates teaching your children creationism to child abuse. He ranks it not as bad as sexual abuse but somewhere on par with the Taliban. In response, the journalist in the examiner.com raises the question, “Is it ethical for society to allow parents and other religious leaders to teach children false ideas like the earth being less than 7,000 years old, or that dinosaurs and humans roamed the earth simultaneously? . . . What are we to do?” Notice that this is not a call for action restricted only to the public school classroom but threatens to knock on the doors of our churches, private schools, and homes. So far, the U.S. Supreme Court has safeguarded the fundamental right of parents to control how their children are educated. But the Attorney General’s office doesn’t seem to realize that protection includes those who home educate. This Examiner.com journalist doesn’t seem to realize the fundamental rights of parents include the right to teach children that the Bible is true from the very first verse. Krauss’s popular video suggests the tool with which to chisel and smash our religious freedom—equating it with child abuse. Be sure to read Ken Ham and Steve Golden’s in-depth discussion of Krauss’s claims at Arizona State University Professor Accuses Christians of “Child Abuse”. And resolve to stay informed on the Romeike case and on related issues as they arise so that you can let your voice be heard with our elected officials and those they appoint to interpret the laws.

For more information: Get Answers


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Footnotes

  1. See Organ Recital: A Parade of Presumed Design Flaws Devoid of Truth and www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-the-function-of-t for more information about the appendix’s presently known functions. Back
  2. www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1968099-2,00.html Back
  3. www.worldmag.com/mobile/article.php?id=25318 Back
  4. www.hslda.org/hs/state/ct/201202040.asp Back
  5. Constitutional Law for Enlightened Citizens by Michael Farris, Purcellville, Virginia: Home School Legal Defense Association, 2006, page 481-487. Back
  6. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooling_in_the_United_States Back (1) Back (2)
  7. Niemöller delivered this speech to many groups in many forms. This is one version. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came... Back
  8. www.hslda.org/hs/state/ct/201202040.asp Back
  9. Y. Beyene et al., “The characteristics and chronology of the earliest Acheulean at Konso, Ethiopia,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2013) www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/01/22/1221285110.full.pdf+html Back (1) Back (2) Back (3) Back (4) Back (5) Back (6) Back (7) Back (8) Back (9) Back (10)
  10. “Bipolar percussion” of a stone on an anvil and other techniques for shaping stones into tools are shown in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithic_reduction Back
  11. www.ocregister.com/articles/lucy-496080-human-ethiopia.html Back
  12. News to Note, November 17, 2012 Back
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