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Always use the offered help!

Always use the offered help!

Introductory

The Bible tells us that Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He used this training when he was called upon, later in life, to lead the Children of Israel through the desert and to write an account of their history. Obviously, Moses did not adopt the pagan philosophy in which his training in Egypt was couched. He evaluated what he heard.

In similar fashion, young Christians are encouraged to pursue modern learning, according to the talents with which they have been given. Like Moses too, they are expected to evaluate the modern explanations. In the light of the complexity of many modern disciplines however, it is obvious that students need help. They need trusted advisors to help them sort through the onslaught of information.

To this end, Creation Science Association’s Margaret Helder has developed a novel tool to assist students embarking on new courses in biology. Since much of the material taught in these courses is based on studies conducted since the year 2000, there are many new terms and concepts involved.All of them are defined in terms of evolutionary assumptions. The definitions available, on-line, all come from an evolutionary agenda. But the data themselves actually support creation! Read the rest of this entry »


There is no doubt that we are drawn to organization that involves hierarchy. Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) famously devised a scheme for plant classification according to their reproductive characteristics. He established the idea of grouping organisms into a hierarchy of progressively shared traits. In his Systema naturae (1735) Linnaeus decreed that this logical organization of living things should involve increasingly larger categories. Thus, all similar individuals would be members of a species, similar species could be lumped into a genus. Similar genera were clumped into a family, similar families into an order, similar orders into a class, similar classes into a phylum or division. These groups were supposed to be exclusive. An organism was supposed to be a member of only one group. In Linnaeus’ view, this logical arrangement of organisms reflected God’s character and wisdom.

But all that changed with Darwin. Read the rest of this entry »


Viruses: In the News a Lot

Viruses: In the News a Lot

Intermediate

There is no doubt that we are all tired of hearing about viruses! However, they actually do demonstrate some interesting features when we look at them more closely. These submicroscopic particles can reproduce themselves only inside a living cell. All life forms are susceptible to attack by at least one kind of virus. Basically, a virus consists of a protective protein coat with genetic information (RNA or DNA) enclosed inside. In that viruses commandeer the life processes of a cell which they have invaded, they tend not to need a lot of genetic information. Mainly their information deals with how to synthesize the protein coat and any associated molecular machines for packaging the genetic material into the protein capsid (coat). Read the rest of this entry »


Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Intermediate

For many years, evolutionists have claimed that the bulk of the human genome is junk, debris left over from long periods of evolution. These people should rather have asked what was the function of these long stretches of non-coding DNA (about 97%). Recent research such as the Human Genome Project (HGP) has vindicated those who rejected the junk DNA idea and the insights keep on coming! Read the rest of this entry »


I remember hearing a biologist from Bristol in England. He was talking about his studies on diatoms (algae with glass walls). He described how he set out to study the activities of these cells on the nearby seashore. To collect the diatoms, he said, he used English toilet paper which was scratchy and impervious to water. The English students laughed uproariously at this. The Canadians, sitting straight-faced, did not realize this was a joke! At any rate what he found was that the algae emerged from below the sand surface during low tide in the day, but they then moved back under the sand before the tides returned at a different time every day. This is the kind of timekeeping ability in organisms that biologists were beginning to study. There were studies on people living alone in dark caves, studies on algae that glow in the dark, and fruit flies that emerge from the pupa at a certain time of day. How do they keep track of time? Read the rest of this entry »


High Tech Expertise from Fruit Flies

High Tech Expertise from Fruit Flies

Introductory

It was a surprise to read in the September 17 issue of Nature1 that fruit flies have some interesting things to teach us in the field of technological applications of extremely thin protective coatings.

For this story, we focus on their beautiful red eyes. Like all insects, fruit flies have compound eyes consisting of multiple miniature light receptors which focus on one spot at the back of the eye. We immediately notice that these compound eyes tend to bulge outward, or at least they are highly exposed. There are no eyelids to protect them from damage and/or to protect them from glare. It was back in the 1960s and 1970s that biologists began to notice that insect eyes seem to have some protection after all. Depending upon the lifestyle of the insect, their eyes seem to have anti-reflective or anti-adhesive protection. An anti-reflective coating allows more light to be transmitted through a transparent layer than would normally occur.  And an anti-adhesion coating repels water from such a surface. Read the rest of this entry »


I remember suggesting to one of my professors, when I was at university, that a certain course would be a waste of my time since I had already studied that topic. He suggested that there might be more to learn and he was right, of course. In fact, there is always more to learn on any topic. That is why we hear so much about life-long learning. We don’t want to atrophy (dry up) mentally or physically. It is important to keep developing our skills.

Naturally in everything we learn, we have to be cautious. We don’t want to plant desert-loving plants in a wet area of the garden, or do stretches the wrong way, nor do we want to acquiesce to wrong interpretations in science, or history or philosophy or whatever.  This does not mean we stop reading! What it means is that we apply critical thinking skills to our various pursuits. Read the rest of this entry »


First Class Resources for FREE!

First Class Resources for FREE!

Introductory

One family, with one child in high school, one in junior high and one in elementary school, were going to start with just one video clip from Michael Behe. The idea was, like the thin edge of the wedge, to first catch their attention. But everyone was so intrigued, that they watched all five episodes in one sitting! Read the rest of this entry »


Something Special About Bumblebees

Something Special About Bumblebees

Intermediate

An interesting article appeared recently in the journal Science that suggested that bumble bees have solved a problem that plant physiologists have been working on for one hundred years! It was in 1920 that plant physiologists Wightman W. Garner (1875-1956) and Harry A. Allard (1880-1963), while working with tobacco and flowering cosmos, discovered that the correct length of day is essential for the onset of flowering in these plants. They named the phenomenon “photoperiodism,” and it is an extremely important control on the beginning of the flowering process in many plants. Read the rest of this entry »


While we may be aware of wonderful living creatures, we seldom reflect on the blessings of the material world. But the apostle Paul, way back in New Testament times in Lystra, assured his pagan audience that God provides favourable natural conditions to draw attention to himself.  While God uses material blessings to draw attention to himself, some people wonder whether evolution can be included under the umbrella of God’s providential design. Since evolution is by definition a process that involves only matter and energy, then the evolutionary process can never involve foresight or design which are non-material.  When we look at life however, we see features which demonstrate intelligent purpose and planning, thereby pointing to the work of God. Read the rest of this entry »


Learning Lots All Year

Learning Lots All Year

ChildrenIntroductory

Do you like to watch your favourite team show off their talents? Are you happy when they win? Sometimes it’s fun to be a spectator. All you have to do is cheer. Let’s be spectators in temperature races featuring that special competitor, the yeast cell.

Yeast is a tiny mold made up of a single cell. Yeast has the remarkable ability to turn sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. If there are more yeast cells, naturally, sugar is turned into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas at a faster rate. The happier the yeast is kept, the faster it grows and the more product it produces. Let’s see if temperature has any effect on how happy the yeast is and thus on how fast it grows and how much product it produces. Read the rest of this entry »


Insect Talents are Special

Insect Talents are Special

Intermediate

Biologists tell us that the ability to detect and identify odours is perhaps the most important sense that animals need to survive. By means of odour detection, insects locate food, avoid toxins and predators, and communicate with others of their own species. Their sense of smell is located mainly in their antennae.

One insect that is particularly talented in many respects, is none other than the famous fruit fly. For example, these red-eyed beauties exhibit extremely good abilities to find rotting fruit. Because fruit flies are easy to culture, biologists first studied odour detecting talents in these creatures. The study was expected to be interesting but scarcely earth-shattering. But guess what! Drosophila (fruit fly) was the tip of the iceberg to reveal that insects exhibit odour detecting abilities that are highly unusual and a major problem for evolutionary expectations. Since then similar studies have been conducted on moths, beetles, other flies, cockroaches and social insects. Read the rest of this entry »


Landmark Work: What’s Wrong with ‘Survival of the Fittest’

An exciting new book was published in the fall of 2017. The author, Nathaniel Jeanson, is a specialist in molecular biology and bioinformatics with a Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology from Harvard University. With such fancy credentials, one might expect his new book to be very difficult and full of technical mumbo-jumbo! Well, Dr. Jeanson does present some very interesting information, but he does undertake to make the discussion accessible to interested readers. Excellent illustrations (some in colour) really help. Nevertheless for reading this book a good background in high school biology at least would be a big help. Read the rest of this entry »

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Celebrating Rhythm!

Celebrating Rhythm!

IntermediateIntroductory

The 2017 award of the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine to three Americans, Michael Rosbash, Jeffrey Hall and Michael Young, has served to stimulate our interest in a phenomenon that is actually well-known. We all know why people get hungry about the same time of day, or wake up about the same time, or suffer from jet-lag. It is because of biological clocks. So what was so special about the work of these three scientists? The story actually goes back to 1729! Read the rest of this entry »


A recent list of the 100 most important “scientific discoveries that changed the world” lists Rick Smalley’s discovery of Buckyballs (English, 2014, p. 13). But who was this man? Richard (Rick) Smalley (June 6, 1943-October 28, 2005) was Professor of Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy at Rice University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996 (along with Sir Harry Kroto and Robert Curl) for the discovery and research on a new allotrope (form) of carbon. He called this unique soccerball-shaped molecule buckminsterfullerene, nicknamed buckyballs. Soon a more comprehensive category called fullerenes was proposed to include nanotubes. Read the rest of this entry »