Jared Diamond: Worst Mistake – Agriculture

Posted in Creation/Evolution, Healthy Food & Agriculture on July 22nd, 2016 by dhawkinsmo

Blogger Sara Burrows writes …

Prior to agriculture, humans lived happier, healthier, freer and easier lives, claims one of the world’s top scientists and thinkers.

In an article published in Discover Magazine nearly 30 years ago, Pulitzer Prize winning anthropologist and evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond calls agriculture “a catastrophe from which we have never recovered.”

Diamond claims the domestication of plants and animals – which began around 10 to 15 thousand years ago – led to the eventual domestication of humans and is ultimately responsible for the “the gross social and sexual inequality, the disease and despotism that curse our existence.”

For approximately 2 million years prior to the advent of agriculture, gatherer-hunters enjoyed excellent health, social and sexual equality, very light workloads, plenty of leisure time and freedom from any form of government. LINK HERE

LINK TO DIAMOND’S DISCOVER ARTICLE HERE

Wisdom From Puddleglum the Marshwiggle

Posted in Biblical, Creation/Evolution on March 14th, 2014 by dhawkinsmo

“I don’t know rightly what you all mean by a world,” he said, talking like a man who hasn’t enough air. “But you can play that fiddle till your fingers drop off, and still you won’t make me forget Narnia; and the whole Overworld too. We’ll never see it again, I shouldn’t wonder. You may have blotted it out and turned it dark like this, for all I know. Nothing is more likely. But I know I was there once. I’ve seen the sky full of stars. I’ve seen the sun coming up out of the sea of a morning and sinking behind the mountains at night. And I’ve seen him up in the midday sky when I couldn’t look at him for brightness.”

I love this scene of Puddleglum in C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia: Silver Chair.” The Witch of the Underworld has cloaked Puddleglum and his friends in a “green fog” which, together with he “thrumming,” is muddling their thinking.  She is trying to make them think there is no such thing as Narnia. But Puddleglum fights hard and eventually breaks the spell after stepping on the fire, filling the air with the the smell of “burnt Marsh-wiggle, which is not at all an enchanting smell.”  The reason I like this so much is because it’s exactly what is happening to us in our day. We are TRULY under a spell of a different – but all too similar – sort.  And the god of this “underworld” wants us to believe there is no Heaven. No Hell. No God. No Creation. And further, that the “civilized” world is “normal.” Or that Baptist churches are “right.” And that other churches are “wrong.” And other such “lies du jour.”

Well, sorry, I’m with Puddleglum. No church I’ve been to is completely “right.” And none completely wrong.  And civilization is NOT “normal.”  Far from it.  And there IS a God. And a heaven. And a hell.

Thanks, Puddleglum, for the inspiration.

“Germs” Are Not Evil! (We Baptists Should Have Known This of All People)

Posted in Creation/Evolution, General Science, Healthy Food & Agriculture on July 13th, 2013 by dhawkinsmo

I’m sure you’ve all seen this sign or a similar signs in bathrooms. Evil, horrible looking little green monster representing the “germ” that’s out to get us, but “Oh thank heaven, Proctor and Gamble to the rescue!” Our little darlings will not die from some dread disease because the wonderful people at Proctor make anti-microbial soap which everyone should use to kill those evil nasty germs.

Well, hold on. That’s a really nice marketing message that sells a lot of P&G product, but it’s just not true. Or at best, it’s a half truth. The truth is – and we Baptists should have known this better than others because we read our Bibles more (I’ve heard Catholics call us the “Bible Cult”) – Genesis 1:25 states that “God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

Did you catch that? Germs creepeth. Do they not? And God said all these critters are “good” right? And nothing in Genesis 3 about the Fall & Curse indicates anything to me that microbes suddenly went from being “good” to being “evil.” (I differ from Answers in Genesis on this one) So why are we buying a marketing message from P&G that says otherwise? Can someone please tell me? Well, I think the answer is that all of us (including Baptists) like to pick and choose which Scriptures to emphasize and which ones not to emphasize, and this is one which is never preached on (or perhaps I was sleeping through that one). Too bad it’s not once in awhile because it’s a pretty important message. If we study this out, we find that disease is not “caused by germs” as we have been taught. (Germ Theory proposed by Robert Koch)  Rather, disease is caused by living our lives contrary to God’s Design for Nature. This involves food, work habits and rest, and also things like freedom from stress, worry and guilt, and a focus on others, rather than one’s self. Many of us are very good students of the Bible, but may I suggest that in this area, we could use a little improvement? More on the fallacies of Germ Theory found HERE.

By the way … I was first introduced to the idea that “germs are not inherently evil” by none other than the “Pastor of the Pasture” – Joel Salatin.  I think it was in his book “Salad Bar Beef.”  In this book, Salatin introduced me to Antoine Bechamp, rival of Pasteur, who taught that disease was caused by “conditions” in the body (he called it “terrain”), not by germs.  Yes, the germs attack the body, but only if “provoked” by unhealthy conditions in the body.

Sahara Desert Was a Lush Verdant Landscape Several Thousand Years Ago

Posted in Creation/Evolution, Healthy Food & Agriculture on June 1st, 2013 by dhawkinsmo

I first read that the Sahara desert was once a lush, verdant landscape in Joel Salatin’s book “Salad Bar Beef” but I wasn’t aware of any papers from the scientific literature which supported this. Here are a couple … the mainstream science writers differ somewhat on their timeframe from mine … I would place a “green Sahara” back only about 3500 – 4500 years ago, that is, sometime after the Flood of Noah. As for Joel’s claim that the Sahara region became a desert because of tillage and bad grazing management, I happen to buy his theory, but I am not aware of any mainstream science papers which support this thesis … but I bet some will pop up.  I am interested in the possibility of re-greening deserts including the Sahara Desert and I am told by the leading practitioners of Mob Grazing that it is possible if Mob Grazing is adopted around the margins of the desert and moves inward.

 

Quaternary Science Reviews 19 (2000) 347}361

Abrupt onset and termination of the African Humid Period:
rapid climate responses to gradual insolation forcing

Peter deMenocal!,*, Joseph Ortiz!, Tom Guilderson”, Jess Adkins!, Michael Sarnthein#,
Linda Baker!, Martha Yarusinsky!
!Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA
“Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Lawrence-Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore CA 94551, USA
#Institute Fuer Geowissens Chafter, Universitaet Kiel, Kiel, Germany

1. Introduction
During the latest Pleistocene and early Holocene, the now hyperarid Saharan desert was a verdant landscape nearly completely vegetated with annual grasses and shrubs (COHMAP Members, 1988; Jolly, 1998; Sarnthein, 1978). At that time, subtropical North Africa was characterized by numerous large and small lakes which supported abundant savannah and lake margin fauna such as antelope, gira!e, elephant, hippopotamus, crocodile, and human populations in regions that today have almost no measurable precipitation (McIntosh and McIntosh, 1983). The Holocene African Humid Period occurred between ca. 9 and 6 cal. ka BP (Ritchie et al., 1985; Roberts, 1998), but humid conditions had initially commenced by ca. 14.5 cal. ka BP following full glacial hyperarid conditions during the latest Pleistocene (CO- HMAP Members, 1988; Street and Grove, 1979; Street-Perrot, et al., 1990; Sarnthein et al., 1982).  LINK TO FULL ARTICLE

 

First dairying in green Saharan Africa in the fifth millennium BC

Julie Dunne, Richard P. Evershed, Mélanie Salque, Lucy Cramp, Silvia Bruni, Kathleen Ryan, Stefano Biagetti & Savino di Lernia
AffiliationsContributionsCorresponding author
Nature 486, 390–394 (21 June 2012) doi:10.1038/nature11186
Received 16 March 2012 Accepted 08 May 2012 Published online 20 June 2012

In the prehistoric green Sahara of Holocene North Africa—in contrast to the Neolithic of Europe and Eurasia—a reliance on cattle, sheep and goats emerged as a stable and widespread way of life, long before the first evidence for domesticated plants or settled village farming communities1, 2, 3. The remarkable rock art found widely across the region depicts cattle herding among early Saharan pastoral groups, and includes rare scenes of milking; however, these images can rarely be reliably dated4. Although the faunal evidence provides further confirmation of the importance of cattle and other domesticates5, the scarcity of cattle bones makes it impossible to ascertain herd structures via kill-off patterns, thereby precluding interpretations of whether dairying was practiced. Because pottery production begins early in northern Africa6 the potential exists to investigate diet and subsistence practices using molecular and isotopic analyses of absorbed food residues7. This approach has been successful in determining the chronology of dairying beginning in the ‘Fertile Crescent’ of the Near East and its spread across Europe8, 9, 10, 11. Here we report the first unequivocal chemical evidence, based on the δ13C and Δ13C values of the major alkanoic acids of milk fat, for the adoption of dairying practices by prehistoric Saharan African people in the fifth millennium BC. Interpretations are supported by a new database of modern ruminant animal fats collected from Africa. These findings confirm the importance of ‘lifetime products’, such as milk, in early Saharan pastoralism, and provide an evolutionary context for the emergence of lactase persistence in Africa. LINK TO ABSTRACT

Shapiro: Bacteria are the Smartest Cell Biologists on the Planet

Posted in Creation/Evolution on April 13th, 2012 by dhawkinsmo

Ahoy science geeks!  Shapiro strikes again with another article that is a feast for weird minds like mine!  In an article he wrote in January of this year, Shapiro says

Truly, bacteria are the smartest cell biologists on the planet because they control events in cells of higher organisms in a way that mere human scientists can only dream of imitating.

And I love the final question he poses …

(II) How did the bacteria come to be such sophisticated cell biologists and evolve the capacity to produce molecules that subvert the cell control regimes of higher organisms to their own (i.e. the bacteria’s) benefit? To my mind, this is a far deeper and, ultimately, far more rewarding question to pose.  Read more »

Dark Matter and Dark Energy Not Needed After All?

Posted in Creation/Evolution on November 19th, 2011 by dhawkinsmo

Big Bang Cosmology is broken! And a couple of physicists have the fix.  Interestingly, one is a young earth creationist and the other is an Israeli.  Just as Newtonian physics was inadequate for explaining the motion of Mercury and other phenomena, so the failure of Big Bang cosmology calls for a New Physics, based on the “Cosmological Special Relativity” of the late Moshe Carmeli. In this fascinating book (2007), Dr. John Hartnett explains how prior to 1915 astronomers proposed ‘dark matter’ or possibly a hidden planet (Vulcan) to explain the slightly anomalous orbit of Mercury. But in 1915, with the publication of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, this problem was solved. In fact, Einstein was able to calculate exactly the 43 arcseconds that had previously been measured. This meant that ‘dark matter’ was unnecessary and all that had been lacking was new, correct physics.

Fast forward to the early 21st century and we have a similar problem when contemplating the universe. Read more »

Shapiro Buries Naturalism

Posted in Creation/Evolution on July 24th, 2011 by dhawkinsmo

Shapiro is awesome! James Shapiro that is – bacterial geneticist at the University of Chicago. (Note: I’m not praising him because he is a creationist – he’s not) Two of his papers are a must read for anyone questioning naturalism. First, there is his 1997 paper, “A Third Way” – read the whole thing. It’s short and laymen like me can understand it. Secondly his 2010 paper, “Mobile DNA and Evolution in the 21st Century.” Read the conclusion. It’s all you need. Now let me whet your appetite … From “Third Way” …

Localized random mutation, selection operating “one gene at a time” (John Maynard Smith’s formulation), and gradual modification of individual functions are unable to provide satisfactory explanations for the molecular data, no matter how much time for change is assumed. There are simply too many potential degrees of freedom for random variability and too many interconnections to account for.

It has been a surprise to learn how thoroughly cells protect themselves against precisely the kinds of accidental genetic change that, according to conventional theory, are the sources of evolutionary variability.

(3) Mobile Genetic Elements and Natural Genetic Engineering. The second major lesson of molecular studies into the origins of genetic change is that all cells possess multiple biochemical agents for natural genetic engineering–processes that include the cutting and splicing of DNA molecules into new sequence arrangements.


In other words, genetic change can be massive and non-random. Some organisms, such as the ciliated protozooan Oxytricha, completely reorganize their genetic apparatus within a single cell generation, fragmenting the germ-line chromosomes into thousands of pieces and then reassembling a particular subset of them into a distinct kind of functional genome.

The point of this discussion is that our current knowledge of genetic change is fundamentally at variance with neo-Darwinist postulates.  We have progressed from the Constant Genome, subject only to random, localized changes at a more or less constant mutation rate, to the Fluid Genome, subject to episodic, massive and non-random reorganizations capable of producing new functional architectures. Inevitably, such a profound advance in awareness of genetic capabilities will dramatically alter our understanding of the evolutionary process. Nonetheless, neo-Darwinist writers like Dawkins continue to ignore or trivialize the new knowledge and insist on gradualism as the only path for evolutionary change. http://shapiro.bsd.uchicago.edu/Shapiro.1997.BostonReview1997.ThirdWay.pdf Read more »

Sir Isaac Newton, the 25 Inch Sacred Cubit and Noah’s Ark

Posted in Creation/Evolution, Genesis Flood on January 25th, 2011 by dhawkinsmo

“That the sacred Cubit was very large, appears from the Jewish Calamus or Reed, which contained but six of these Cubits; and from the antiquity of this Cubit, since Noah measured the Ark with it;” –Sir Isaac Newton [1]

“It is agreeable to reason to suppose, that the Jews, when they passed out of Chaldea, carried with them into Syria the Cubit which they had received from their ancestors. This is confirmed both by the dimensions of Noah’s ark preserv’d by tradition in this Cubit, and by the agreement of this Cubit with the two Cubits, which the Talmudists say were engrav’d on the sides of the city Susan during the empire of the Persians, and that one of them exceeded the sacred Cubit half a Digit, the other a whole Digit … The Roman Cubit therefore consists of 18 Unciæ, and the sacred Cubit of 25 3/5 Unciæ of the Roman Foot” –Sir Isaac Newton [2]

“The 25 inch cubit is found in ancient Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Syria, and probably in Greece, varying from 25.1 to 25.4. In modern Persia, Arabia, Greece, Candia, Algiers, and Italy, a pic or braccio of the same length is found, varying from 25.0 to 25.3. The possibility of this widespread unit having some connection with the Chinese foot (the double of which is 25.18 +/- .04) and with the North American mound builders’ foot (1/2 of 25.20 +/- .04) should not be disregarded; though farther evidence, beyond these very close resemblances, is needed to prove a connection. Don Quiepo also connects with it the Japanese inc 75.21–i.e., 3 x 25.07. … The Egyptian form of this cubit is probably nearest to the original, as being the oldest that we have, and this gives 25.10. This is well known as the sacred Hebrew, Royal Persian, and Chaldean cubit, mentioned by Newton, Golius, Kelly, Quiepo and Oppert.” –Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie [3]

Answers in Genesis is building an ark.  A full size one!  See this link. I think this is a fantastic project and will be a tremendous educational tool. When I heard about the project, I checked to see what size cubit they were planning to use and it appears that the current plan is to use what some refer to as the Royal Egyptian cubit of around 20.7 inches. Make no mistake, AiG’s ark will be impressive at ~500 ft long if they use this cubit. But what if the cubit Noah used was really ~25 inches as the opinion of Sir Isaac Newton appears to be? Wow. That would make AiG’s ark 625 feet long! Even more impressive!

What is the evidence? Well, first we have Sir Isaac Newton’s research in which he makes the statements listed above. He lists 6 evidences from ancient literature supporting his belief that the sacred cubit was close to 25 inches long. Read more »

Did DNA Copying Errors Create Systems for Preventing DNA Copying Errors?

Posted in Creation/Evolution on September 12th, 2010 by dhawkinsmo

I recently studied DNA replication and was amazed to find out that all free living organisms have astoundingly sophisticated DNA copying error correction systems. And it’s not just higher organisms that have these systems. Even the lowliest bacteria has a highly sophisticated system. Bacteriologist James Shapiro writes …

The first point is to recognize that bacteria are far more sophisticated than human beings at controlling complex operations. The fast-growing bacterial cell is the ultimate just in time production facility. When an E. coli cell divides every 20 minutes, exquisitely reliable coordination has been achieved for hundreds of millions of biochemical reactions and biomechanical events. E. coli cells replicate their DNA at almost 4000 base-pairs per second but have an error frequency of far less than one nucleotide misincorporation per every genome duplication (2 X 4.6 million base pairs duplicated every 40 minutes; Cooper & Helmstetter, 1968; http://www.genome.wisc.edu/index.html). This incredible precision is accomplished not by rigid mechanical precision but rather by using two layers of expert error monitoring and correction systems: (1) exonuclease proofreading in the polymerase itself, which catches and corrects over 99.9% of all mistakes as soon as they are made (Kunkel & Bebenek, 2000), and (2) the methyl-directed mismatch repair (MMR) system, which subsequently detects and fixes over 99% of any errors that escaped the exonuclease (Modrich, 1991). Together, this multilayered proofreading system boosts the 99.999% precision of the polymerase to over 99.99999999%. At both stages of the error correction process, detailed molecular analysis has clarified the distinct roles of sensory and repair components. In the case of the MMR system, the sophistication is even more impressive because the molecules discriminate newly replicated from old DNA so that they only correct the newly synthesized strand (Radman & Wagner, 1988). Link to paper

I also investigated viruses and found that some viruses probably do have some sort of error correction systems and one virus researcher I queried said she believes that ALL viruses probably have some sort of error correction system.

Anyway, I got to thinking about error correction and evolution and it seems rather odd to me that the very thing that supposedly created all of life on earth — random mutations in DNA — is vigorously guarded against by the cell. All cells on planet earth are working very hard to prevent the very thing that supposedly created them!! Think about that!! If that isn’t evidence against the non-ID view of Origins then I don’t know what is.

Anyway, I presented this information at the TalkRational.org forum where a number of professional scientists gather to debate Creation vs. Evolution issues. One of them, a virologist, agreed that genomes larger than about 15kb (kilobases) wouldn’t be viable without error correction. He believes, obviously, that error correction systems had to evolve at some point in life’s history therefore he believes that there would have had to be a time in history when there were NO organisms with error correction systems. The problem with this view is that the only organisms alive today that (perhaps) don’t have error correction systems are viruses with genomes smaller than about 15kb. But viruses  cannot replicate without a host (i.e. a much more complex genome which would have required error correction).  So we have a problem.  This virologist can only believe — on faith — that there must have been some sort of free living ancient organism with a genome smaller than 15kb that could somehow self replicate. But there is absolutely no evidence available to us that any such organism ever existed.  And of course nothing remotely close to such organism exists today.

So which is more likely? That such a fantasy organism (shall we call it a virusoid?)  DID exist contrary to all known facts?  Or that an Outside Intelligence created life? Well … I pick the latter because that view is based on actual experience, i.e. we have experienced Higher Intelligences (humans) creating complex entities.  Fantasy Organisms like “virusoids”, flying horses, mermaids and centaurs are well … Fantasies.  Link to Talk Rational Discussion on this topic.

RATE Carbon 14 Study Withstands Scrutiny

Posted in Creation/Evolution, Genesis Flood on June 1st, 2010 by dhawkinsmo

“… Baumgardner’s coal samples do show significant radiocarbon above background, inviting explanation.” –Dr. Kirk Bertsche, AMS Expert  At left: Accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (From Wikipedia)

The RATE team from Institute for Creation Research has produced some very interesting physical evidence for a young earth … one of their experiments involves measuring Carbon 14 in coal.  To make a long story short, there shouldn’t be any Carbon 14 in coal that is supposedly 300 million years old.  BUT … there is and Dr. Baumgardner and his colleagues were alert enough to notice.   Link here to Dr. Baumgardner’s paper.  Paul Giem of GRISDA did a literature survey of studies in which “too much” carbon 14 was found.  This prompted the RATE team to do their own experiment and sure enough … they found carbon 14 which was significantly above background.  Dr. Baumgardner argues that the C14 is intrinsic but of course Old Earthers say it’s not.  What are the Old Earth explanations?   Dr. Bertsche in his article at Talk Origins has suggested mobile humic acids, microbial growth and neutron bombardment.  Kathleen Hunt in her article at Talk Origins says …

The short version: the 14C in coal is probably produced de novo by radioactive decay of the uranium-thorium isotope series that is naturally found in rocks (and which is found in varying concentrations in different rocks, hence the variation in 14C content in different coals). Research is ongoing at this very moment.

(The fungi/bacteria hypothesis [that 14C in coal is produced by modern microorganisms currently living there --Ed.] may also be plausible, but would probably only contribute to inflation of 14C values if coal sits in warm damp conditions exposed to ambient air. [It wasn't -- read Baumgardner's paper on how the samples were handled] There is also growing evidence that bacteria are widespread in deep rocks, but it is not clear that they could contribute to 14C levels. But they may contribute to 13C.)

So, it looks like in-situ production of new 14C is the best-supported hypothesis;

So this appears to be the leading Old Earth Hypothesis but Dr. Bertsche failed to mention in his article that Dr. Baumgardner had already thought of this hypothesis and had calculated the amount of Carbon 14 this would produce.  His calculations showed that the amount of C14 produced would be 4 orders of magnitude too small.  I challenged people at the Talk Rational forum to show that Dr. Baumgardner’s calculations are wrong and several people tried including Dr. Bertsche.  Here is what he wrote recently …

“When I do the above [calculations on neutron bombardment of 14N to produce 14C in coal] on the back of an envelope, I get a 14C abundance that is too low by about 3 orders of magnitude. LINK HERE.

So the two are very close.  Dr. Bertsche has come back today (6/1/10) saying that this is not conclusive and “in situ” contamination is not ruled out.  That’s fine, Dr. Bertsche, if you think it’s not conclusive … you are welcome to keep trying with the calculations.  As for “in situ” contamination, don’t you think your friend Dr. Gove has considered those other sources of contamination?  Why else would he think that in-situ production of new 14C is the best-supported hypothesis?  If Old Earthers would stop ignoring the Elephant in the Living Room — the Global Flood, SOOO many things would be easier to explain … like the bazillions of fossils all over the world which require rapid burial to be preserved, like global sedimentary rock layers, the short history of civilization, legends of a global flood from around the world and so on.  Oh … and Carbon 14 in coal that shouldn’t be there.