Featured in the newest Dialogue Magazine »

Articles » Design

 

Flowers that Fly

Flowers that Fly

Introductory

Insects! Some people give them a wide berth on principle. Nasty, creepy, crawly flying things! Even the magnificent giant moths elicit only screams from some people. But the insects under discussion are guaranteed to cause no such sensation. Initial disbelief, amazement, titillation and delight are the sensations to be expected from an encounter with these exotic ‘bugs’. Read the rest of this entry »


Conversations on Creation

Conversations on Creation

Introductory

A friend, a while ago, articulated some possible critical arguments concerning advocacy for young earth creation which are based on observations from nature. Here are some reflections on that conversation. Read the rest of this entry »


Hippopotamus, called hippos, are monstrous, mostly herbivorous, semiaquatic mammals native to most of Africa. Only in the Sahara Desert are they not found. Their origins have always been a problem for evolution because they  are like no other living animal. Only two extant species exist, the Nile hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius), and the pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropisi liberiensis). During the daytime they are aquatic, floating in the water world, and at the nighttime they are land animals consuming mostly grasses, soft plants, and some succulent fruit. (Macdonald,1987, p. 507) They were named from the Greek words for river horse. Read the rest of this entry »


Fascinating Dates

Fascinating Dates

Introductory

I remember that when I was a child, we tried to grow date palms from the pits or seeds in the fruit. None ever germinated. But that was then and time has passed. When we had fresh dates (with seeds inside) at Christmas a few years ago, I decided to try again. Accordingly, I took a deep margarine tub, punctured several holes in the bottom to drain out water, and filled it with good potting soil. Then each day, as the dates were consumed, I tucked their seeds into the soil. Maybe twenty or more seeds went into the pot. And nothing happened. But I kept watering. Then after eight weeks or more, a pure white shoot about 2 mm in diameter finally appeared. It looked like a growing shoot from a corn seed, only thicker. Next day another shoot appeared. It took several days for these to turn green. Eventually we had five young seedings, each of which developed a bright green leaf. More leaves followed, one at a time. These plants are monocots, like corn and grasses and bamboo. That is why they send up only a single leaf at first. Read the rest of this entry »


During his second lecture at Creation Weekend 2018, Dr. Gordon Wilson stimulated our appreciation of the creation with his presentation entitled “The Magnificence of the Mundane” The words in the title, he pointed out, are actually contradictory. While the word “magnificence” communicates excitement, the term “mundane” suggests that something is boring or dull. But what he wanted to share with us is that God’s work in creation is amazing, displaying God’s wisdom and finesse (Ps. 104:24). And in this context, we are told that King Solomon, full of wisdom, spoke about trees, herbaceous plants, beasts, birds, reptiles and fish (I Kings 4:33). Read the rest of this entry »


Aardvarks: Very Strange Mixed up Animals

Aardvarks: Very Strange Mixed up Animals

Aardvarks (Aard-Vark, Dutch for “earth-pig”), are one-of-a-kind animals, one of the strangest mammals you will ever encounter. They have a body like a large rat, a long snout like an ant eater, a pig nose, long ears like a rabbit, pink skin with coarse hair like a pig (but in contrast to pigs, aardvarks have very thick skin and lack a fat layer), short legs, feet like a pig and a long thin tail that resembles a kangaroo’s tail (Hutchins, 2004, p. 155). Their barrel-shaped body weighs between 100 and 180 pounds (50 to 83 kg). The greatly elongated head-snout is set on a short thick neck. The tail is thick at the base and gradually tapers. So strange was it that, when described to European naturalists, many doubted its reality (Catchpoole, 2014, p. 28). Read the rest of this entry »


Where Did Predators Come From?

Where Did Predators Come From?

Introductory

Dr. Gordon Wilson’s presentations at Creation Weekend 2018 were extremely well received. The first lecture dealt with natural evil. Mankind has long pondered why our beautiful creation is so full of cruelty and death. Indeed our ecology as it is now, runs on death. And many creatures survive entirely by consuming other creatures. The big question, Dr. Gordon Wilson declared, is how this situation came to be since God created everything in an unfallen state, all of it very good. Moreover, Scripture tells us that there was no physical death, animal or human, before the fall. All animals were vegetarian. 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 »


Sloths: Like No Other Animal Family

Sloths: Like No Other Animal Family

Introductory

Tree sloths are one of the strangest families one could imagine and seem to have very little in common with any other animal kind (Edmonds, p. 38). They are the world’s only inverted quadruped (Cooke, p. 52). Sloths are almost comically slow-moving mammals, deliberately moving so slowly that it looks like a movie of them is being played in slow motion. Neither prodding nor threats will make them move much faster, partly because when on the ground, their small legs are so weak that they have to drag their heavy middle along the surface (Cooke, p. 51). A tortoise would easily beat them in a race. Their cruising speed is a mere 0.19 miles per hour, but they can climb a tree at a fairly good clip, for a sloth that is.  They often sleep, or appear to sleep, one cannot always tell, about 10 hours a day in trees in the Central and South America rain forests. In contrast to most mammals, they are neither strictly nocturnal nor diurnal, but frequent nappers instead (Hoke, p. 88). 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 »

Order Online

Backyard Animal Challenge

Backyard Animal Challenge

Children

People who live in rural regions obviously have an enormous advantage in opportunities to observe and enjoy nature. For a start, they may be able to view the night sky much better than their friends in the city whose view of the stars is dimmed by city lights. Secondly of course there are the animals who make a point of visiting the property. There may be waterfowl in the spring, ducks and geese at least, who come to refresh themselves on your pond. And how about the frogs who deafen the night with their cheerful choruses. Read the rest of this entry »


Elephants: The Giant Wonder

Elephants: The Giant Wonder

Introductory

The African elephant is the largest living terrestrial mammal, even larger than most dinosaurs. Its mammoth size means their primary enemy is humans, not the major carnivores, such as lions, that inhabit its homeland. The largest recorded African elephant reached 12 feet (four meters) at the shoulder and weighed over ten tons. Called “nature’s masterpiece” and “skilled engineers” elephants are one of “the most intelligent of domesticated animals.” (Redmond, 1993, p. 6). Read the rest of this entry »


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 »


The Octopus: A Mixed-up Wonder

The Octopus: A Mixed-up Wonder

Introductory

The Octopus is considered a primitive invertebrate, below chordates such as fish, yet it has advanced traits rivaling even those of humans. In the words of one scientist, “With its eight prehensile arms lined with suckers, camera-like eyes, elaborate repertoire of camouflage tricks and spooky intelligence, the octopus is like no other creature on Earth.” (Abbott, 2015, p. 1). He arrived at this conclusion because they “have the largest nervous systems among the invertebrates and present other striking morphological innovations including camera-like eyes, prehensile arms, a highly derived early embryogenesis, and a remarkably sophisticated adaptive coloration system.” (Albertin, at al., 2015, p. 220). In short, the octopus is utterly different from all other animals, even other mollusks. For this reason and other reasons, its origin has stymied Darwinists. Read the rest of this entry »


Skunks: Interesting and Fun!!

Skunks: Interesting and Fun!!

Introductory

We seldom reflect on how interesting skunks can be. The nine identified skunk species are notorious for their scent glands that can accurately shoot noxious oily amber spray as a defensive weapon. Two glands, one on each side of their anus, produce the spray, which is a complex mixture of sulfur-containing chemicals. The pungent spray causes irritation to the skin like pepper spray, even temporary blindness—which may be why skunks often try to target the face (Schuster, 1992, p. 34). Read the rest of this entry »