Articles » Biology
Viruses: In the News a Lot
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 »
Preserving the Joy of Creation
A lot of people in these COVID times, especially young people, are growing tired of the same old scene, the same four walls, the same view out the windows. No matter how beautiful the scene, it soon ceases to interest us if that is all we see. Nevertheless, even in our same old environments, it is still possible to maintain the flame of interest in the creation. Some young people in Alberta recently shared with me some of their interests in the creation. Clearly their stories show how they are keeping their interests alive. Indeed, these stories can help enhance our appreciation of the creation too. Read the rest of this entry »
Versatile and Beautiful
Have you ever noticed how beautiful objects are which are made of wood? The people of Bible times also appreciated and used beautiful wood. The ancient Phoenicians (Canaanites) exported cedar wood for temples and palaces of many contemporary empires. One of their more famous customers was the Assyrian Sennacherib (about 700 B.C.) who commissioned two fleets of ships to be built from the cedars of Lebanon, one for the Tigris River and the other on the Euphrates River. King David himself made extensive use of cedar wood in his palace and his son, Solomon, proved to be even more enthusiastic about the cedars of Lebanon (Cedrus labani). Solomon promised massive payments to his friend and father-in-law King Hiram of Tyre in return for importing cedar trees for the temple. Much later, the Romans sought cedar wood from Lebanon for their own ships. However, Emperor Hadrian cautioned against over-exploiting this resource. Unfortunately, nobody listened and few of these trees remain today. Read the rest of this entry »
There is a fascination with living organisms that closely resemble fossils dated at millions of years old. The classic definition of a living fossil is an extant organism that closely resembles fossil specimens.
In 1938 Miss Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer of South Africa recognized that among recently caught fish, one specimen was unfamiliar. It turned out to be “the only living member of an ancient group of lobe-finned fishes that was known previously only from fossils and believed to have been extinct since the Late Cretaceous period approximately 70 million years ago (Myr ago)”1 Much later, in 1997, a second species of this fish was discovered in the seas around Indonesia. The two species were named Latimeria chalumnae and L. menadoensis respectively. Read the rest of this entry »
Biological Clocks: The Never-Ending Story
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 »
Creation Weekend 2020: Online and Inspirational
For almost everyone, the year 2020 has certainly presented obstacles to our normal tasks and social gatherings. So it was that CSAA, like many Christian organizations, found that an on-line fall program offered the best hope of sharing our message. Blessed with someone on our team with expert computer skills, the appropriate programs were selected to make the event possible and professional. When David Coppedge of southern California agreed to be our speaker, we were so pleased! All the pieces of the organizational puzzle had fallen into place. One benefit of an on-line event, we discovered, was that people from as far away as Ontario and B.C., were able to enjoy the program. Read the rest of this entry »
High Tech Expertise from Fruit Flies
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 »
Check-Up Time: The Importance of Critical Thinking
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 »
David Coppedge Headlines Creation Weekend 2020
Creation Science Association of Albert is delighted to present David Coppedge as the featured speaker for our Creation Weekend 2020. Due to the COVID 19 restrictions, Creation Weekend will be a one evening online event this year. David Coppedge was exceptionally well received with his presentations in Edmonton in 2012. Now in 2020, his return promises another tour de force with a presentation entitled Creation is Awe Inspiring! This event will take place on Friday evening, October 23, 2020 at 7:30 pm. To participate in this session, register at www.create.ab.ca/register. Once you register you will receive a confirmation email, and closer to the event you will receive an email with further details. Read the rest of this entry »
Wonderful New Book from Dr. Bergman
Dr. Jerry Bergman, who needs no introduction to readers of Dialogue, is the author of a delightful new book for families and animal-lovers and all who enjoy fascinating details from nature. Readers of Dialogue, for more than fifteen years, have been blessed with little known insights into some well-known creatures. His new book Wonderful and Bizarre Life Forms and Creation is a collection of the “best of Bergman” from Dialogue plus a few completely new chapters. The twenty-three chapters present each creature with pictures and highlights. This is an attractive and well documented book in full colour, which will inspire much reflection and discussion. Many will want to buy several copies, one for personal use, and others for those special people in their lives! Read the rest of this entry »Order Online
How COVID Created Opportunities!
The media are full of accounts of how people have used their unexpected “down time” at home during the COVID pandemic. What we chose, be it bread baking or house-cleaning or crafts or whatever, obviously reflected personal preference. As far as I was concerned, this time was a golden opportunity to do some extra scientific reading. It all began with an article in Nature that promoted an ancestral relationship for red seaweeds with an organism that was the exact opposite of all the features in red seaweeds. Perhaps I lack imagination but I could not believe that this prestigious journal had indeed published such an argument. It seemed hilarious to me. Read the rest of this entry »
First Class Resources for FREE!
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
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 »
Wildlife Appreciation 101
You don’t have to travel to Africa to see beautiful creatures. Certainly Africa has amazing biodiversity. One of our daughters travelled to an east African country this past summer. In a nearby National Wildlife Park she saw zebras, lions, elephants, hippos, gazelles, giraffes, wildebeest and crocodiles. And she managed to take some spectacular pictures.
The rest of us might well declare that since we cannot go to a beautiful African wildlife park anytime soon, we are excused from conducting observations in the great outdoors. That however definitely is not the case. Even city dwellers can manage to view some wonderful wildlife nearby. Read the rest of this entry »
The Wonder of Boxelder Bugs
A careful examination of objects by both telescopes and microscopes reveals a major contrast between human-constructed objects and those designed by the Creator. Human made objects, such as a watch, reveal more imperfections as the magnification by which they are viewed is increased. An old-fashioned gear watch is an object of beauty when viewed by the naked eye. Under the microscope, though, the flaws in the machining process become more apparent until, under high power, a watch looks not only imperfect, but crude.
In contrast, increasing magnification of the natural world reveals new detail and perfection. Read the rest of this entry »