Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bees the Time of Dinosaurs

Did Bees Die and Reach extinction at the same time that Dinosaurs did?

We know that Dinosaurs reached the end of their life cycle 65 million years ago. The havoc on Earth was monumental. And there was a lot of physical evidence to support that claim and scientific observation.
But was that the only species that went extinct at that time?

Perhaps not because some scientists like Sandra Rehan, an assistant professor of biological sciences at University of New Hampshire, and Michael Schwarz at Australia's Flinders University and Remko Leys at the South Australia Museum worked to model a mass extinction in the  bee group Xylocopinae, or carpenter bees.  The extinction occurred at the end of the Cretaceous and beginning of the Paleogene eras, otherwise known as the K-T boundary.

Molecular phylogenetics

Rehan and colleagues overcame the lack of fossil evidence for bees with a technique called molecular phylogenetics. What is that study? For starters, It is the study of organisms on a molecular level to gather information about the phylogenetic relationships between different organisms.

What this accomplishes is that this program maps out the evolutionary history of an organism or group of organisms. The end result is that scientists can be precise about their estimates  involving when various events in evolutionary history occurred.

How it works

This science branch relies on the fact that genetic change is a constant. In effect in each generation, they note that organisms change slightly, but the rate of change tends to be constant and reliable. So now scientists can compare genetic information between different species and determine when they diverged from each other by examining their degree of similarity and dissimilarity. This is important because now researchers can also use this information to construct an evolutionary timeline.

The Bees

How many species of carpenter bees were they looking through? Answer:230.  So the scientists began to analyze DNA sequences of four "tribes" of species of carpenter bees from every continent with the exception of Antarctica. They were looking for evolutionary relationships and connections. The result was that they observed patterns consistent with a mass extinction. Then by combining the fossil records with the DNA analysis, they managed to introduce time into the equation, and it yielded information not only how the bees are related but also how old they were.

So what did they learn?

With the four groups of bees in the fold the data showed the research scientists that something major was happening to these different groups of bees at the same time. Moreover, it happened to be the same time as the dinosaurs went extinct.

The end result is that if Bees went down in that time frame, what other species might have reached an extinction point? ...In process....

  1. Sandra M. Rehan, Remko Leys, Michael P. Schwarz. First Evidence for a Massive Extinction Event Affecting Bees Close to the K-T BoundaryPLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (10): e76683 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076683

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Successful Failure of Creationism

Creationism and its new enhanced version, Intelligent design, have succeeded in failing. They have done so by showing that their structure of understanding how things are created can only come about by science, which they deny occurs or exists.

Science is the study of nature. Creationism is the study of nothing, saying that the world as we know it comes about because God puts it there and before God put the universe here, there was nothing. So they endorse modifiers to make science irrelevant or not necessary.

But Creationism has managed to format itself into three parts. One which accepts science as being part of creation and the other with denies science having anything to do with creation. The third part accepts some science as relevant to creation, but not all.

No Science Creationism

The Flat Earthers. They believe that the world is flat and covered by a firmament or dome. They take the literal interpretation of the bible. Furthermore they can explain occurrences in the bible. For example, the water above the firmament was the source of Noah's flood.

The  Geocentric. According to this group, the world is spherical, but deny that the sun is the center of the solar system, or that the earth moves. To them, the earth is the center of the solar system.

Some Science Creationism

Young Earth Creationists 
At the foundation of their belief is the supposition that the earth is between 6,000 and 10,000 years old. Their interpretation of the bible: the bible is literally true. No errors, no problems. The creation of life occured in six days. And blame Adam and Eve for the human condition, for our problems because it was their fall from grace that forced humans to become what we are now.

Not only that, but why does the Earth look the way that it does? The Earth geology must be interpreted in terms of Noah's Flood. Floods are disastrous. A world flood is a disaster to the world.

However, they accept a spherical earth and heliocentric solar system, that is that the sun is the center of the solar system. Young-Earth Creationists popularized the modern movement of scientific creationism

The Omphalos Creationist View
 The Omphalos argument presents the view that the universe was created not long ago but with the old appearance of age, indeed that an old appearance of age is necessary.  The problem with this view is that taken to the extreme, the Earth, and the Universe could have been created 1 second ago, but forced to look old. This theory recognizes that the universe and the Earth are old, in contradiction to the Bible. This is a way to reconcile that contradiction.

Old Earth Creationism
Accept the bible, but also accept some science. That is the Old-Earth Creationists view. They accept the evidence for an ancient earth, millions of years old but still believe that life was specially created by God; that God was at the forefront of the creation. So they still base their beliefs on the Bible.  In this respect they believe what they choose to believe.

Gap Creationism
Look at the Bible and compare Genisis 1:1 and Genisis 1:2. This view says that there was a long temporal gap between the two with God recreating the world in 6 days after the gap. The result is that this allows both an ancient earth to exist and a Biblical special creation that makes it possible.

Day-Age Creationism
Accept the views of science, that the Earth and the Universe are millions or billions of years old. So how do you reconcile this view with the Bible? By looking at a day as more than 24 hours long. Day-age creationists interpret each day of creation as a long period of time, a day can be thousands or millions of years old. They see a parallel between the order of events presented in Genesis 1 and the order accepted by mainstream science.  So science and the Bible are not in contradiction.

Science Creationism

Progressive Creationism
Pick and Choose...Pick and Choose. Progressive Creationism is the most common Old-Earth Creationism around today. It accepts most aspects of modern physical science. The Big Bang? Yes they view the Big Bang as evidence of the creative power of God. In this way, God is more powerful by creating a scientific basis for the birth of the Universe, instead of blinking the eye and seeing it created.

Yet modern biology is not valid in their view. Progressive Creationists generally believe that God created some organisms; some types of organisms in sequential order; the kind that are seen in the  fossil record. But they say that the newer kinds are specially and newly created, and not genetically related to older kinds.

So yes, God showed his creative power with the Big Bang. But wouldn't show any creative power using evolution. That is their standing. Once science version is good but the other is not good.

Science...the Study of Nature

Nature has multiple components like force and power(physics), mixture of chemicals (chemistry), life (biology), the structure of the planet (geology), the structure of the universe (astronomy and quantum mechanics). Science has changed over time because new theories and supporting facts have come to dominate how science explains nature.

The science of Evolution, a biological science, appeared after scientists, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace  began to investigate the formation of life and how it changed. Before that, no one thought that life would change. Plants would never change; insects would never change; fish would never change; birds and animals would never change; and most importantly, humans would never change. Life was considered permanent. But science changed things.

After Issac Newton with Physics and Charles Darwin with Evolution opened, metaphorically, the door to a large multi-storied Science building where scientists continue the process of investigating how the changes in nature occur. Evolutionary Biological scientists began to see how life changed, and physicists and astronomers began to see how the universe changed.

The Failure of Creationism

Creationism is based on what the Bible says. And when science shows a different way of seeing things, they reject it, or where necessary how science works with the Bible.

The problem for Creationism is that they respond to science because it is a threat to their way of looking at nature, that is life, the earth, and the universe. Instead of delivering a new approach to the creation of these segments of nature, they fall back to the Bible. Their view is that science is wrong or they adjust their Biblical view to conform to science.

Creationism fails because it does not offer a new approach to how the Universe or life was created. Creationisms approach is to find an explanation to the Biblical mythology in order to make it true. To make the Bible true they alter its stance in order to conform to the findings of science: The universe is not 10,000 years old, instead the "six days" of creation involved millions and millions of years. The Big Bang did occur but evolution did not occur. They select some thing of science and leave others out.

Creationism is a pick and choose model. That is what Creationism is all about. They pick the science to explain the Bible, but discard the science that cannot explain or contradicts the Bible. Creationism succeeds in showing that you need to explain the Bible in terms of the effects of science. But if fails to show any new way of looking at the Universe or Life. It is a successful failure.