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Re: five times as many changes ... in the human brain than would be predicted by evolution, etc

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  • Stephen E. Jones
    Group Here are excerpts of recent science news articles. My comments are in square brackets. My last excerpts post is at:
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2002
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      Here are excerpts of recent science news articles. My comments are in
      square brackets.

      My last excerpts post is at:

      I apologise for this being late but I have been under the hammer
      with a spate of assignments for the last couple of weeks.


      Yahoo! ... Study: Creative Use of Genes Makes Humans Unique Thu Apr
      11 ... WASHINGTON (Reuters) - What makes humans different from
      chimps, apart from a little extra hair? It might be a more creative use of the
      genes that affect how the brain works, a study published on Thursday
      suggests. Humans and chimps share 98.7 percent of their DNA, but are
      clearly very different. Scientists have long tried to determine how just over
      1 percent of our genes can make such a difference. It may not be an issue
      of quantity, but of quality, an international team of genetics experts reports
      in ... the journal Science. And the differences seem to lie mostly in the
      brain. ... The work by Varki and colleagues, including noted genetics
      expert Svante Paabo ... supports this. They found five times as many
      changes in gene expression -actual activity by the genes -- in the human
      brain than would be predicted by evolution. "If two species have been apart
      for 5 million years, you expect a certain amount of differences," Varki said.
      But there are many more differences in the human brain than expected. ...
      [So Wallace was right and Darwin wrong. The human brain is far in
      advance of what would be predicted by evolution! (see tagline)]

      Yahoo! ... Faded Stars Show Universe Is 14 Billion Years Old Wed Apr 24
      ... WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The dimmest, most faded old stars,
      glimpsed by the Hubble Space Telescope, offered confirmation that the
      universe is just under 14 billion years of age, scientists said ... because it
      was calculated by a completely different method than earlier estimates, it ...
      astronomers aimed the orbiting Hubble telescope at a globular cluster of
      stars in the constellation Scorpio, some 7,000 light-years from Earth. ...
      Such clusters are thought to be the oldest structures in the universe,
      coming into being about a billion years after the theoretical big bang.
      Within these clusters are scores of so-called white dwarfs, burned-out stars
      that ... are simply fading slowly into darkness. ... That predictable cooling
      rate is the key to calculating the age of the universe ... With dark energy
      factored into the equation, astronomers put the universe's age at 13 billion
      to 14 billion years -- in the same cosmic ballpark as the figure reached by
      tracking the fading out of the oldest stars. ... [If the universe is ~4 byo, that
      makes it harder for cosmic panspermia theories. If life began on Earth ~4.9
      bya, then there is less time for life to originate elsewhere, and travel to

      Yahoo! ... Out with the Big Bang, and in with Cosmic Crunch Thu Apr 25
      ... WASHINGTON (Reuters) - What if the big-bang theory is wrong?
      What if the universe never began and will never end, driven forever to
      expand in a series of monster explosions and contract every eon or so in a
      cosmic crunch? ... physicist Paul Steinhardt suggested just that in a report
      ... that even he called "mind-bending." The big-bang theory, accepted by
      many scientists for decades, holds that the universe was born some 14
      billion years ago when an unimaginably small, dense entity blew up, sowing
      the seeds of every bit of matter and energy. Soon after that first explosion,
      the universe expanded rapidly, in a phenomenon astronomers call inflation,
      and then continued to spread out at varying speeds until the present day,
      according to the big-bang theory. Under this theory, time would begin but
      never end. But the model of the universe envisioned by Steinhardt and Neil
      Turok ... sees the big bang as merely a turning point on an infinite road: an
      endless series of big bangs make the universe expand and an equally
      endless series of subsequent crunches make it contract. ... "We can see,
      both directly and indirectly, that most of the stuff in the universe is not
      composed of ordinary matter, nor of dark matter, but of some third
      species," ... What Steinhardt calls ordinary stuff is what allows the slower
      expansion of the universe, which permits gravity to create galaxies, stars
      and planets .... The accelerated expansion driven by dark energy would
      blow all that away before it could coalesce. ... The big crunch comes when
      dark energy changes its character, according to Steinhardt. ... "This field of
      dark energy is picking up more and more energy as it rolls down the hill,
      the nature of the force that controls it causes it to rebound and go back to
      where it started, back and forth in a very irregular fashion," he said. "When
      it's changing slowly, it's gravitationally self-repulsive and when it's changing
      fast, it picks up speed, it's gravitationally self-attractive," Steinhardt said.
      Steinhardt admitted this made dark energy sound capricious. "It is
      capricious but it's no more capricious than the standard picture," he said.
      "It's just different." ... [One wonders how much this is science and how
      much it is wishful thinking to get away from a beginning ? My understanding
      is that there is way too little mass to reverse the universes' expansion
      and even if it did reverse in a big crunch, it would have too much entropy
      to re-expand again.]

      Yahoo! ... Scientists Push Back Primate Origins Wed Apr 17 ... LONDON
      (Reuters) - A small, 85-million-year-old creature that looked like a lemur
      could be the common ancestor of all primates, including humans ... Instead
      of 65 million years ago, they believe primates may have evolved from an
      ancestor that originated 20 million years earlier ... The oldest primate
      fossils date from 55 million years ago, which has led paleontologists to
      believe that primates originated about 65 million years ... But Martin and a
      team of mathematicians and biologists believe the estimates are flawed ...
      [and] have taken a statistical approach and used a computer model ... to fill
      in the missing fossil record. Their findings ... put the split between humans
      and chimps three million years earlier than previously thought. ... Molecular
      biologists, using comparisons of DNA sequences, have calculated that the
      primate split from other placental mammals occurred about 90 million
      years ago, which is in line with the conclusions of the approach used by
      Martin and his colleagues. ... [In the absence of evidence, these models are
      only as valid as their assumptions.]

      Yahoo! ... Scientists Find Oldest Placental Mammal Fossil Wed Apr 24 ...
      LONDON (Reuters) - A team of Chinese and American scientists say they
      have found a 125-million-year-old fossil of an animal that is the most
      primitive known relative of today's higher mammals, including humans and
      primates. The remains of the creature, Eomaia scansoria, push back the
      fossil records of so-called placental mammals by millions of years and
      provide a wealth of information about them. ... Before the discovery of the
      fossil, which is reported in the science journal Nature, the earliest record of
      a placental mammal was a few isolated 115-million-year-old teeth. The new
      find was discovered in a quarry in the Liaoning Province of China, an area
      where remains of feathered dinosaurs and very primitive birds have also
      been found. ... [I have no problem with this if it turns out to be true. But on
      an another list I have seen an email from a well-known evolutionist
      professor, who regards the Liaoning `feathered' dinosaurs as possibly fakes
      because (amongst other things, there is a `factory' churning out fake fossils
      only 10 km away.]

      Yahoo! ... Weird Stars Show Evidence of New Form of Matter Wed Apr
      10 ... WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two weird stars -- one too cold, the
      other too small to fit known astronomical models -- show evidence for a
      completely new form of matter, astronomers said ... Scientists believe these
      stars could be made not of atoms, or even of the sub-atomic particles called
      neutrons, but of free-floating sub-sub-atomic particles called quarks, and
      strange quarks at that. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory considered the
      oddball objects by looking at the high level of X-rays they emit. At first,
      astronomers thought these might be neutron stars, which before this
      discovery were the most extreme form of matter known. ... [This could be
      important because I have read somewhere (New Scientist?) that black
      holes may turn out to be non-existent (as point singularities) because they
      may stop contracting at the quark stage.]

      http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/16/science/social/16SCOR.html The
      New York Times ... April 16, 2002 ... WILFORD Carved in the limestone
      of a desert cliff in Egypt is a 5,250-year-old tableau of a victorious ruler,
      perhaps the so-called King Scorpion whose exploits, previously the stuff of
      myth and legend, may have been critical to the founding of Egyptian
      civilization. The archaeologists who discovered the tableau seven years ago
      now say it may be the world's earliest historical document. ... This is a
      significant addition to a growing body of evidence that the first true writing
      originated in Egypt - not in ancient Sumer ... the discovery may push back
      the beginning of recorded Egyptian history ... to about 3250 B.C. ... "We
      do feel that this is the earliest known historical document," John Darnell
      said .... "It may not be exactly 100 percent writing, only protohieroglyphs,
      but the tableau really is able to impart the who, what, where of an event."
      ... [It used to be claimed by liberal `Biblical' scholars that Moses could not
      have written the first five books of the Bible because writing had not been

      Yahoo! ... Cracked Skull Shows Neanderthal Rage, Mercy Mon Apr 22 ...
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Neanderthal who lived and died with a hole
      in his skull provides the first scientific evidence that these early humans
      used tools to attack one another, researchers said ... The remains add to
      other clues that Neanderthals, a dead-end species of pre-human who
      colonized Europe, nursed their sick and thus had strong social ties, the
      researchers say. The 36,000-year-old skeleton was found ... years ago, but
      a study using recent techniques such as CT scans show the skull was
      crushed but healed. ... The skeleton ... was found at St. Cesaire in France, a
      site noted for the discovery of stone tools that were made in a more
      modern style as opposed to the clumsier tools made by Neanderthals for
      most of their history. Scientists do not know if the Neanderthals evolved
      their tool-making abilities or perhaps learned from their modern neighbors.
      The tool that broke this particular Neanderthal's crown may have been
      more modern, Zollikofer's team said. It had a sharp edge, like an ax, and
      the angle of attack suggests it was hafted -- attached to a handle. ... [It is
      significant that only where Neanderthals could have interacted with modern
      humans (e.g. Cro-Magnons), did Neanderthals start using more advanced

      Yahoo! ... Italy Doctor Says Three Cloned Pregnancies Exist Tue Apr 23
      ... ROME (Reuters) - An Italian fertility specialist who has said he intends
      to create the world's first human clone told a television show ... three
      women were pregnant. ... Earlier this month a Middle East newspaper
      whipped up a storm of controversy by quoting Severino Antinori as saying
      that a woman in his program was pregnant, but did not provide details
      making it clear whether it was the result of cloning. ... Scientists greeted
      the Gulf News report with skepticism and condemnation, citing technical
      difficulties that would have to be overcome to create a human clone and
      saying it would be dangerous to embark on such a program without proper
      guidelines and regulation. .... [I still think this is a scam. In less than nine
      months we should know, one one or the other!]

      Yahoo! ... Bacterial 'Sex' Made Plague Deadly, Study Finds Thu Apr 25 ...
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A single swapped gene -- traded in the closest
      thing bacteria have to sex -- turned a relatively innocuous microbe into the
      agent of the Black Death, researchers said ... They said the gene allows
      Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes plague, to survive in the guts of
      fleas and thus to be passed from rats to people. Plague wiped out more
      than a quarter of Europe's population in the 14th century ... Hinnebusch
      and colleagues said they looked at a gene carried by Y. pestis ... The gene,
      called PLD, clearly is not a gene that Yersinia developed on its own. ... it
      seems pretty clear that this gene was transferred from an unrelated cell."
      Bacteria often do this, sometimes promiscuously, in a process known as
      horizontal transfer. For a life form that reproduces mostly by splitting, it is
      the closest thing to sexual reproduction, which gives plants and animals
      their ability to evolve and change with each generation. ... the gene has a
      more complex function. It codes for an enzyme that allows Yersinia to
      survive in the gut of a flea. ... a hostile environment ... PLD lets the
      bacteria survive, so it can multiply in the flea and be transmitted when it
      bites a rat -- or a human. The bacteria then gets into the blood and causes
      plague. .... Variants of Yersinia that were better able to invade blood, and
      those that were more virulent, would have survived better, and come to
      dominate. Only when people learned that fleas were the plague carriers and
      developed basic hygiene measures were they able to defeat it. ... [Grist
      for the mill of the argument from evil!]

      Yahoo! ... Scientists Reprogram Cells Without Cloning Tue Apr 30 ...
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists said on Tuesday they had
      transformed ordinary human skin cells into immune cells in an experiment
      that, if it can be repeated, might bypass the need for either stem cells or
      highly controversial cloning technology for many medical therapies. ...
      Many teams are working on the idea, but nearly all had assumed the need
      for stem cells, the body's master cells, which are elusive and difficult to
      grow in the lab. They can be found in blood and tissue, or can be taken
      from embryos -- usually obtained from fertility clinics. ... a commentary in
      Nature Biotechnology ... said it looked to them as if the cells had only been
      partially reprogrammed but said Collas had come up with a "potentially
      powerful system" for studying cell biology. ... [It will be interesting to see
      how these alternatives to embryonic stem cells pan out. For ethical reasons
      I hope they do.]


      "How did man get his brain? Many years ago Charles Darwin's great
      contemporary, and co-discoverer with him of the principle of natural
      selection, Alfred Russel Wallace, propounded that simple question. It is a
      question which has bothered evolutionists ever since, and when Darwin
      received his copy of an article Wallace had written on this subject he was
      obviously shaken. It is recorded that he wrote in anguish across the paper,
      "No!" and underlined the "No" three times heavily in a rising fervor of
      objection. Today the question asked by Wallace and never satisfactorily
      answered by Darwin has returned to haunt us." (Eiseley L.C., "The
      Immense Journey," [1946], Vintage: New York NY, 1957, reprint, p.79)
      Stephen E. Jones sejones@... http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
      Moderator: CreationEvolutionDesign@yahoogroups.com
      Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign
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