Birdbrains Can Be Very Baffling!

We live near the Atlantic coast and every year thousands and millions of birds make their annual trips to the North for the summer and go back South to stay warm for the winter. We have some small birdhouses for bluebirds and this year for the first time we had several nesting in them this Spring!

Almost every day now there are geese flying over our house in a V formation heading South from Canada before the cold weather sets in. Many birds return to the same exact spot where they were the year before. Some seabirds fly several thousand miles across the ocean to return to the nest they were born in the year before.

How do they know where they are going? There are many theories that suggest they have a sort of internal compass or that they map the terrain from above in their memory as they are flying. What do you think?

Under Our Noses

Do you know what creatures are living in your lawn, bushes, on your porch light at night? Each of these places are places where lots of insects, mice, salamanders, squirrels, who knows what make their homes.

In college, i was involved in “scouting”. I would go to a farmer’s field and with some dowels and string mark off a certain size square of the crop and count all the insects inside the square and identify them. By doing this once a week during the growing season, i could tell exactly when the bad bugs were about to damage the crop enough to call for using pesticides.

I learned very quickly that there are tons of critters everywhere there are plants. You just need to look closely for them. You could probably make an impressive science project of your own “scouting” a bush, or an area of grass in your own yard. See what you can find and make a report about it, take some pictures and even catch a few in jar.


Doggie Speak

I have 4 dogs and 2 cats. Each of them are completetely different in their personalities? I mean totally unique in so many ways. Yesterday I went to see my mom who lives about 90 miles away. So, i took Shultzie the schnauzer with me. He really loves going “bye bye” and can’t wait to get in the car.

My mom loves Shultz! He was my constant shadow following me everywhere and plopping down at my feet whenever i sat down. Shultzie’s also a  “talker”. If I start talking to him, he starts panting with his mouth open in sort of a doggie smile. I’d say, “Shultzie, do you love grandma?” and he’d reply with a happy squeel and a bark.

Shultzie’s like that, he seems to know what you’re saying somehow. At home if i say, “where’s your toy?” he will look away and pause for a moment (like he’s trying to remember where he left it) and walk away. Soon he’s back with one of his toys.

Does Shultzie really know what I’m saying?

The Friend of Science

My wife came to me one day and told me how a coworker had come up to her and said, “What’s all this about intelligent design!” Her coworker was angry about something she probably didn’t really understand. So many seem to see the idea as an attack on science itself. Much of the recent press has been one sided to say the least.

Is intelligent design just a cover for “creationism”? Hmm, isn’t evolution also a theory about living things came to be? What’s the issue here? Could it be that evolution excludes the concept of a “creator” for “all of creation”? Yeah, yeah, that’s not fair using such an archaic expression as, “all of creation”.

Anyway, intelligent design has been offered as a “model” for an alternative to Darwin’s “model”. Many of the proponents of ID are creationists as well. That’s probably because mainstream scientists complained for so long about “creation science’s” lack of a solid testable model for “origins studies”. (A fancy name for “where things came from” studies.)

The ID model is simple. Living things exhibit complexity that cannot be accounted for entirely by natural phenomena. This view allows for input from “supernatural” intelligence to some degree in the origin of living things. To test this hypothesis (idea) you simply examine living systems for signs of “irreducible complexity” or features that require integration, that must work together meaning they could not have resulted from adaptive mutations.

Many protein molecules, should i say all, have a highly complex 3 dimensional molecular structure that they must have in order to function in a given living thing. It is not possible to reduce the complexity of a typical protein molecule without it losing it’s function altogether. If it can’t be useful as anything less complex, there is no way to account for it’s existence other than ID.

So it’s clear to me that intelligent design is a very useful way of testing natural design theories like evolution. Unfortunately, evolution has never been allowed to be challenged and so has become dogma rather than a well tested theory.

Both evolution and science itself need Intelligent Design in a big way. Evolution has been adopted by science more for religious reasons, than sound rational ones. The “official” religion of the “scientific establishment” has become “atheism”. Evolution is the only theory of creation that works within such biased framework. The effect of evolution on science has be devastating for open inquiry in science.

I really hope that people will object to these current attempts to silence those who wish to open up science to a real critical examination of evolution. Hopefully it isn’t too late.

Common Sense is OK!

Contrary to popular belief, there are many well founded objections to evolution. The gaps in the fossil record, the second law of thermodynamics, showing clear transition between major groups and so on are where most start. I think that the glaring evidence of design in nature is the smoking gun.

This has been criticized as being a “common sense” argument. Well, duh?? In our day to day we encounter all sorts of “things” that are man-made. We easily recognize them even though some are obvious and some take a little scrutiny to tell. Things like spoons, books, cars, sidewalks, computers, etc. show evidence of man’s handiwork. All of which show some intelligence and handiwork in their “man”ufacture. You can say they were all “intelligently designed”.

I seriously doubt that you can compare the level of difficulty involved in the design of such things to that reflected in living things. Living things all show design at a level that is so much higher that it makes man’s attempts look utterly feeble. OK, this is “common sense” right? It depends on who you talk to. For some, such common sense is considered the “enemy of science”. Oh well!

 Wayne Hollyoak

You Must be Crazy!

Most people who consider themselves scientifically “well informed” see evolution as THE final word on understanding how living things came to be. As a young child, i was taught something very different in Sunday school and the Bible. As i went thru school and college, i gradually assimilated evolution into my understanding of God and what i once saw as His creation. Juggling these two views in my head was confusing and more and more it seemed that evolution left no or very little room for anything remotely biblical in my concept of where stuff came from.

It became more and more appearent that “intellectual honesty” would force me to decide one or the other. Everything i was hearing from high school and college was evolution, evolution and evolution. And with that came the logical conclusion that faith in God is foolishness since all living things came about without anyone’s help. For me, the only honest conclusion to the theory of evolution was that a “creator” is unneeded so “atheism” is the only “scientific” religious choice.

Sitting in my Corvair Spyder convertible in the dormitory parking lot, i pondered the decision if i should declare myself an atheist or something. I had a few moments of horror and fear that is hard to describe. There was a definite sense of doom and insanity that was associated with abandoning my faith. I couldn’t do it, some sort of sensability prevented my from taking my faith in evolution that far.

In retrospect, perhaps there was some measure of doubt that evolution was that sure a thing! At that time I was very confident in Darwin’s idea but also found myself stuck on the question of where “matter” came from to start with. In the days and years after that day, evolution began to fall apart as a viable answer to the origins of life and us.

I’m crazy, completely insane in the view of much of the “scientific community”. But, i can’t help the fact that evolution no longer charms me. It doesn’t have the power it once did to answer origin’s questions. Today the mystery is more of how it ever did. Darwin was a powerful and persuasive illusionist, able to convince much of the intellectual world that living things could have been created without a creator.

Today, i find it refreshing and empowering to be able to step aside of the mainstream and see if it’s going the right way. Some things truly outweigh acceptance and popularity.

Wayne Hollyoak