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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 »


Exciting Coelacanths

Exciting Coelacanths

Introductory

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 »


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 »


Up to Date Foundations

Up to Date Foundations

Intermediate

One of the pleasures of staffing a book table are the conversations that happen with people looking at the resources. On many occasions, individuals have requested an introduction to creation. Before responding, I have often inquired what the person’s interests are. If the person is interested in physics and mathematics, or in apologetics, there might be little point in showing them a work on fossils, for example. In the 1970s and 1980s, there were general introductory books like Scientific Creationism and What is Creation Science? But that was then, and this is now. There are many areas of science that were not even contemplated then, but which we have to deal with today. The good news now is that some general introductory works have appeared which can be very helpful to many people seeking insights into the issues. 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 »


The Problem of Orphan Genes

The Problem of Orphan Genes

Technical

Genetic information is so detailed that questions often arise as to where it came from. Genes may either be homologues to genes in other species (similar in composition to genes in other organisms and assumed to have originated from a common source), or they may be entirely different. These different genes are called orphan genes. Orphan genes (often spelled ORFan genes) are species specific genes that are significantly different from all other known genes, and are thus genetically isolated from the enormous set of genetic possibilities. Read the rest of this entry »


Margaret Helder has developed a guide to enhance the learning opportunities and appreciation of the message in her book (which is to encourage everyone to critically evaluate scientific pronouncements). For each chapter there is a brief overview statement. Brief paragraphs follow for each subsection in each chapter with key concepts introduced. There follows for each chapter a list of questions, many of them involving the key concepts. The next section provides detailed answers for each question. A sure to be popular section follows on resources. These are provided under topical headings. Books, articles (all obtainable) and especially video clips on-line, are certain to be useful for any biological studies, not just for this book. Lastly for each chapter, a section on extension is provided.  This booklet of about 60 pages, will be available on line (free download) and in hard copy. Inquire through our website for your copy as soon as it is available.

 


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 »

Order Online

Dr. John Baumgardner addressed large appreciative crowds at CSAA’s Creation Weekend in October 2016. Following his introductory lecture on Friday evening (“How language powerfully affirms God’s reality”) [described in the previous issue of Dialogue], he continued the next morning with “Mendel’s Accountant: Why Darwinism Fails”. This work resulted from a collaboration with geneticist Dr. John Sandford of Cornell University. Many people in modern society find Darwin’s conclusions extremely appealing: the idea that competition in nature ought to lead to organisms better suited to the environment. While this is reasonable, there are limits to how far this idea can take us. Read the rest of this entry »


The Living Cell: Frankly Created

The Living Cell: Frankly Created

Intermediate

We hear all the time about how complicated living cells are. It makes us think that such entities  were designed to work as they do. People who support the idea that all things came about by natural processes, however, do not want to think that there is a mind behind what we see in all living creatures from microbes up to the largest, most complicated organisms. These latter people want to show how the living cell developed spontaneously, without any direction. So they want to demonstrate that there were early cells which were much much simpler than what we see today, cells that could have appeared through natural processes. These scientists want to demonstrate that the barriers to spontaneous development are not too high. Read the rest of this entry »


Review Anyone?

Review Anyone?

Intermediate

Review of Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels (book)

Like Alice of Wonderland fame (in Through the Looking Glass), who found that she had to run extremely fast just to stay in the same place, so also it is hard to maintain an up-to-date understanding in science. The scientific journals constantly churn out new articles with new information and arguments. Keeping up to date is hard work! But it is extremely helpful to have an understanding of current issues in science and their significance. This makes the new book Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels (Robert Carter, Editor) and its companion DVD of the same title, extremely relevant. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr. Paul Nelson Opened Our Minds

Dr. Paul Nelson Opened Our Minds

Intermediate

Dr. Paul Nelson is a prominent spokesperson for the creation and intelligent design communities. It was in that capacity that he introduced enthusiastic participants at the 2013 Creation Weekend in Edmonton, to new arguments and exciting information. Read the rest of this entry »


Diamond Jubilee for DNA Molecule

Diamond Jubilee for DNA Molecule

Intermediate

It was in April 1953 that Frances Crick and James Watson published their proposed description of the DNA molecule. As they anticipated, biology was forever changed. Now biologists had a molecule which they could study, which stored hereditary information. The 1960s saw the emergence of the ‘standard model,’ which held that DNA codes for proteins which determine the characteristics of each creature. However on the occasion of the 60th anniversary, one commentator in the journal Nature declared: “We do not know what most of our DNA does, nor how, or to what extent it governs traits.” (496 #7446 p. 419). Read the rest of this entry »


Fruit Fly Shenanigans

Fruit Fly Shenanigans

Intermediate

The experiment with fruit flies was basically uncomplicated. Any university student could have carried it out providing they could identify and count the various mutant forms. But there was more to the issue than mere counts of fruit fly offspring. The study was supposed to, and had long been considered that it in fact did, support a key idea of Charles Darwin. More than sixty years had passed since the fruit fly work was published. Subsequent to publication in the new journal Heredity in 1948, few people paid much attention to the study until it was quoted favourably in 1972 and 1994 as supporting Darwin’s idea of sexual selection. Those references conferred celebrity status on the work and many citations followed. But then in 2012 a study was published which questioned not only the 1948 work, but also a major component of Darwin’s theory of evolution. However the reasons and issues surrounding the new study are not what we might hope or expect. It is important to remember that scientists draw conclusions in keeping with their world view and there is more diversity in world views in science than one might imagine.

Read the rest of this entry »


Natural Firewalls in Bacteria

Natural Firewalls in Bacteria

Intermediate

Sometimes it seems as if information is the most important commodity in our technological age. Information, of course, can be put to good or bad uses. We would all agree, no doubt, that computer viruses are a bad use of information. In that situation, a small piece of computer code (information), once it is inside your computer, can take over the whole operating system, with disastrous results for your interests. Of course such problems are nothing new. The term “virus” comes from natural phenomena that do the very same thing to living cells. Invading information occurs to even the smallest cells, bacteria. In fact, some of the bacteria that most threaten our health, are themselves the victims of invasive information from outside unrelated sources. Consider the case of the infamous Escherischia coli 0157:H7, cause of potentially fatal hamburger disease and in some isolated situations, contaminated water. Read the rest of this entry »