Articles » Biology
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 »
Up to Date Foundations
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 »
Where Did Purpose and Planning Come From?
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 »
Hippos: Giants That Appeared Out of Nowhere
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 »
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 »
The Problem of Orphan Genes
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 »
Magnificent Indeed! And Certainly Not Mundane!
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 »
Where Did Predators Come From?
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 »
Sloths: Like No Other Animal Family
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 »
Coming Soon! Companion Study Guide to No Christian Silence on Science
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.
Backyard Animal Challenge
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 »
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 »
Appreciating the Creation
Many people claim they are not interested in science, but this is not really true. Perhaps they never really studied nature, but there are few people who do not notice how interesting and beautiful the surrounding countryside is. Did you realize for example that magpies are common in the western half of North America, but not in central Canada? Some people say that these distinctive birds are so common in Edmonton that this is the “magpie capital of Western Canada” (a dubious distinction). Read the rest of this entry »
Mudskippers. The Strangest Creature ever to Defy Evolution
Mudskippers are amphibious fishlike creatures that use their short muscular pectoral and pelvic fins to “walk” on mud in a series of skipping like steps, thus their name. These unique about 30 cm long creatures, typically live in intertidal habitats where the water level changes with each tide change (Hafer, 2016, p. 66). Most other intertidal fish survive tide changes by taking refuge under wet seaweed or in tide pools. Mudskippers are different. They exhibit many unique adaptations to their muddy environment that are rarely, or never, found in other intertidal fishes (Marsh, 2015). Read the rest of this entry »