Report from the Intelligent Design Conference

October, 2004

REPORT FROM THE Intelligent Design Conference 
 Highlands, North Carolina, June 24-26, 2004

Setting and Overview

The conference was held at the Community Bible Church in Highlands North Carolina situated in the beautiful Smokey Mountain area surrounded by clouds, forest, and waterfalls (website: http://www.idconference.org/). My daughter, Holly, and I attended. I took a digital camera and made a few pictures some of which are included below.


Folks at the church did an excellent job planning and orchestrating the conference of 550 attendees from around the US and several foreign countries.


Their work was truly a labor of love which was two years in the making. The beautiful main sanctuary of the church was used for the presentations.


Hummingbirds Get "Older" and a Little Wider

June, 2004

According to secular scientists, two German fossils recently identified as "amazingly modern-looking" hummingbirds are 30-million years old. This find pushes the fossil record for hummingbirds back an alleged 29 million years. The discovery was made by Dr. Gerald Mayr of the natural history museum Forschungsinstitut Senkenberg in Frankfurt and reported in the journal Science. 1 Mayr found the fossils in storage in a Stuttgart museum. They had been donated by a private collector who uncovered them in a clay pit near Frauenweiler in southern Germany. Mayr said he recognized particular features of the birds' anatomy in the fossils, which are less than five centimetres long. "I'm convinced they're hummingbirds," he said. "They're very, very distinctive in the wing bone, which is adapted to hovering and nectar feeding." The bone and shoulder joint allow the wings to beat in a figure-eight pattern. One of the fossils also has a long beak, like modern hummingbirds. The only other fossils of modern hummingbirds are about 1 million years old. Assistant Professor Margaret Rubega of the University of Connecticut told Science she was "amazed" by the find. "The amazing thing about this fossil is that it's essentially a modern hummingbird," she said.

Refuting Compromise

May, 2004

Master Books has just released a new book entitled Refuting Compromise by Answers in Genesis staff member Jonathan Sarfati. While the main thrust of Refuting Compromise is a theological and scientific refutation of progressive creationism as advanced by Christian astronomer Hugh Ross, it is also an up-to-date review and defense of young earth creation (YEC) science in general. Refuting Compromise is thoroughly documented with references, websites, drawings, illustrations, and photographs. This article is a review of the main topics discussed in the book.

The Remarkable Story of Roger DeHart: A New Documentary about the "Icons of Evolution"

March, 2004

BreakPoint with Charles Colson, Commentary #020522 - 05/22/2002 The Remarkable Story of Roger DeHart: A New Documentary about the "Icons of Evolution"

In the early twentieth century —during the Scopes Trial, for instance—evolution was the new theory challenging settled opinions about divine creation. Now, however, said Bill Rice on National Public Radio, it's evolution that "is being questioned." Darwinian evolution has become the established view—and those who want to consider alternatives to Darwinism have become the innovative thinkers challenging the status quo.

Nowhere is this stunning role reversal better portrayed than in the new documentary, "Icons of Evolution." "Icons" tells the story of Roger DeHart, a high school biology teacher in Washington state who wanted to tell his students about evidence that casts doubt on aspects of Darwinian evolution. The evidence that DeHart hoped to discuss wasn't fringe stuff. It was the material already published in scientific literature. For example, biology textbooks have long featured drawings of animal embryos, purporting to show similarity. This was widely taken as proof that the species in question shared a common evolutionary ancestor.

Evidence Concerning Creation and Evolution

December, 2003

It seems to me that the "controversy" over creation and evolution exists at several levels. There is one level at which claims and counter-claims are made—"The facts prove evolution. Millions of fossils can't be wrong" versus "Creation is true." There is another level at which the facts reside. And there is a third  "research" level, at which research can be conducted to try to determine the facts.

Some have decided to look at the evidence, rather than deal with the issue at the level of claims and counter-claims. In looking at the evidence, several people have been struck by the paucity—some would call it absolute lack—of evidence supporting evolution. Yet on the other hand, others have claimed that evolution is supported by much evidence.

Among those struck by the lack of evidence are some noteworthy examples. Dr. Gary Parker is one. He once wrote biology textbooks which were used in many schools and which taught evolution. However, when he began to learn more about evolution, he began to believe less and less in it until he finally became a creationist! And this, remember, is after he examined the evidence of—or lack thereof—more closely.

Did dinosaurs evolve from birds?

September, 2003

You may have heard that dinosaurs evolved from birds. What evidence is there to support this?

According to http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/november/new1115d.htm a bird-like creature lived 75 million years before the dinosaurs.

Now, that makes it hard for dinosaurs to be the ancestors of birds; the descendants would have lived 75 million years before their ancestors.

Some evolutionists claim that birds evolved from running dinosaurs, while others claim that birds evolved from crocodilomorphs, reptiles that glided from trees.1

Each side of this issue has supported its claim by attempts to show why the other must be false. Before going into some of the details, one should note this salient point: if both sides show why the other could not possibly be true, then perhaps BOTH are untrue! Possibly, birds did not evolve from dinosaurs or reptiles at all.

In fact, there is now a position that holds that the opposite occurred—rather than birds evolving from dinosaurs, dinosaurs supposedly evolved from birds.2

Speciation: Any Examples Documented?

February, 2003

  It was interesting to find, while perusing a book on evolution, the rather candid admission of an evolutionist that there is no documented evidence of even a single species which arose from another species! Here is the quote:

"...I once asked the eloquent and personable Niles Eldredge whether he knew of any case in which the formation of a new species had been documented. I told him I'd be satisfied if his example were drawn from the laboratory, from the field, or from observations from the fossil record. He could muster only one good example: Theodosius Dobzhansky's experiments with Drosophila, the fruit fly. In this fascinating experiment, populations of fruit flies, bred at progressively hotter temperatures, became genetically separated. After two years or so the hot-bred ones could no longer produce fertile offspring with their cold-breeding brethren. "But," Eldredge quickly added, "That turned out to have something to do with a parasite!" Indeed, it was later discovered that the hot-breeding flies lacked an intracellular symbiotic bacterium found in the cold breeders. Eldredge dismissed this case as an observation of speciation because it entailed a microbial symbiosis! He had been taught, as we all have, that microbes are germs, and when you have germs, you have a disease, not a new species. And he had been taught that evolution through natural selection occurs by the gradual accumulation, over eons, of single gene mutations."

Cavemen—Missing Link?

February, 2003

Have scientists discovered evidence that humans are descended from ape-like ancestors? Are there real "missing link" fossils to prove this? Well, one of the reasons the term "missing link" is what it is, and includes the word missing, is that the evidence has long been—missing. Some have argued that this or that fossil is the "missing link", so we will examine a few of them.

There has been Piltdown Man, which was admittedly a hoax. The teeth were filed, and the bones chemically stained to alter the appearance. Then there was Nebraska Man, which was built out of a pig's tooth. This tooth was presented as evidence for evolution at the famous Scopes trial.

It is suspected that Neanderthal Man was simply a normal human with some medical problems—possibly arthritis, rickets, or acromegaly. Scientists now classify him as human.

But what about the drawings? We see pictures showing the "missing links" with their hairy bodies, their crouching gait, and so forth. Since this is what they looked like, weren't they obviously ancestors of humans? These pictures do show something between a man and an ape; however, the question is not whether the pictures show something between man and ape, but whether the actual creatures looked at all like the pictures. So, did they?

"Junk" DNA as Evidence for Evolution?

January, 2003

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment."-Sherlock Holmes in a Study of Scarlet

Back in the 1960s, scientists discovered sections of DNA that did not code for proteins. These non-coding DNA strands were assumed to be non-functional and were referred to as "junk" DNA, the presumed evolutionary remnants of ancestral organisms. 1 Almost 99% of human DNA is known to be non-coding.

A little background will facilitate discussion of non-coding DNA. Information in coding DNA sequences is transcribed into mRNA (Figure 1). mRNA exits the nucleus and attaches to ribosomes, the molecular machines that generate proteins. In the ribosome, the information in the mRNA is translated into an amino acid sequence to form a protein.


Figure 1: Protein Formation from Coding DNA

The transcription of information from DNA to mRNA is where non-coding DNA is encountered (Figure 2).

Consciousness: Marvel of the Mind

April, 2002

The bodies of living things are what evolution tries to explain. But what about behavior? Within the evolutionary model, the only possibility is that behavior results from the chemicals, cells, and components of the organism's body. And what about soul? Spirit? Mind? Likewise, these things are viewed in evolution, if they are dealt with at all and not simply ignored, as simply results of chemical or other natural processes in a body.

Is there any evidence for anything beyond the body? Something involved in the operation of our minds? Something that transcends the simple mechanics and natural forces involved in the matter composing our bodies? If so, then this would be something unaccounted for by evolution. If evolution is true, then evolution must have given rise to consciousness. But, first, what is consciousness?

One view that we could take concerning consciousness is that consciousness, or mind, is nothing more than chemical reactions occurring among brain cells. The brain would be analogous to a computer. However, there is a theory that human consciousness is qualitatively different from what computers do. According to this view, something is happening in consciousness that is beyond the ability of science to explain. In particular, this view holds that it is beyond the ability of physics to explain consciousness.


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