Archive of items from Evidence News

Frog eye change described in Journal of Experiment Biology (JEB), 21 April 2016, doi: 10.1242/jeb.141127. When animals and people move, their eyes have to compensate for the movement in order to keep a steady view of the world. Without this the world would appear to be constantly moving like a bad case of “camera shake”. This compensation is achieved by brain circuits that monitor the control signals from the nervous system to the muscles and move the eyes in a complementary way.

When tadpoles metamorphose into frogs their method of swimming changes from a fish-like wriggle to a thrust forward by the movement of their back legs. This means the compensatory eye movements have to change in order to keep their gaze steady. When they swim like a fish their eyes swivel from one side to the other with the body movement. This is controlled by brain circuits that monitor the nervous system control of the body muscles. When a frog swims the eyes have to move in and out, opposite to one another, like crossing and uncrossing the eyes, to compensate for the forward thrusting movement of the back legs.

Scientists at University of Bordeaux, France, and Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany monitored the brain function and muscle movement of tadpoles undergoing metamorphosis into frogs. They found the eye control signals gradually changed from the swivelling to the crossing movement as brain circuits that control the movement became less attuned to the movement of the body muscles and more attuned to the control of the developing leg muscles. During metamorphosis the eyes could both swivel and cross, so that the animals experienced a seamless change from one type of movement to another.\

JEB

Editorial Comment: All vertebrates, including we humans, have a system of complementary eye movements to keep our gaze steady. You can know how well it works because this editor is working on the ENEWS in a rocking train on the way to Scotland. You can also compare your experience of seeing the world when you walk and move, compared with the results you get when you walk holding a video camera, unless you have been trained to compensate for your movement while holding a camera.

Many modern digital cameras include a device that can compensate for some movement when the camera is held in your hands, rather than on a tripod. The electronic circuit that does this required creative design and engineering. The brain circuits that control eye movements are far more sophisticated and process much more information than a camera does.

To have such circuits set up so they can change from one form of movement to another during frog metamorphosis, is a reminder that the metamorphosis of amphibians requires inbuilt planning and coordination. The drastic transformation involved in changing a tadpole into a frog involves far more than just growing legs and lungs and losing a tail and gills. The whole organism must be changed in a co-ordinated way, and that involves plan and purpose, not chance evolution.

Keeping the brain circuits functioning in line with the muscle changes requires clever re-programming of its brain. If the metamorphosing frog was unable to control its eye movements in a way suitable for all stages of the process it would be unable to swim properly, or move onto land, and would be vulnerable to predators in an evolutionary struggle for existence.

In fact, the whole process of metamorphosis, with its drastic changes in body form and function makes no sense unless the whole life cycle was built into the organism from the start. A tadpole can survive quite well but cannot reproduce, but why change its body structure so radically in order to reproduce, unless it was already designed to do so by the Creator who designed the whole life cycle. (Ref. amphibians, vision, locomotion)

Evidence News vol. 16, No.8
4 May 2016
Creation Research Australia

Chameleon tongue movement quantified, according to a report in BBC News and Mail Online 20 April 2016, and Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A, doi:10.1098/rspa.2016.0030, 20 April 2016. The chameleon is able to rapidly shoot out its tongue by unravelling like a telescope to twice the length of the whole animal. The tongue has bone at its core surrounded by a multi-layered structure of fibrous and elastic tissue, surrounded by muscle that activates the movement.

A group of British mathematicians and engineers have come up with a mathematical model of how the movement works, based on a series of observations and experiments. The tongue movement involves the build-up of energy followed by quick release, which the scientists described as “an extreme example of quick energy release in the animal kingdom”. The mathematical model of how the energy is built up and released as a forceful projecting movement, involved more than 20 equations, and “three distinct coupled subsystems: the energetics of the intralingual sheaths, the mechanics of the activating accelerator muscle, and the dynamics of tongue extension”.

Derek Moulton, associate professor of mathematical biology at Oxford University explained to the BBC: “The equations are modelling the mechanics of these different layers, and the interactions of these different layers. The balance of forces and the energy contained in these different layers when the muscle - this outermost layer - contracts, which is what sets the whole thing in motion”. The model could be used in the design of elastic components in robotics. But Moulton told Mail Online, “Above all, our research is curiosity driven and our goal in this instance was to understand a fascinating phenomenon”.

BBC, Mail Online

Editorial Comment: A mathematical model involving over 20 equations in three distinct linked subsystems is a lot of information. It is absurd to think that mindless random processes came up with such a sophisticated system – and that just describes the animal’s tongue. Such a tongue would be of no use unless it was controlled by a brain, which has to be able in advance to gather, store and analyse 3D information about the animal’s surroundings before it sets off the tongue’s movement.

Information only comes from a mind, and the ability to recognise it and organise it also requires a mind.

The motivation of these scientists is a reminder that the desire to understand the “fascinating phenomena” that we see in the world around us is based on the mandate we were given by our Creator to rule over the living world. To do this wisely we need to study it and understand how it works. This involves the creativity needed to design experiments, and the ability to communicate with one another as part of a research team.

We have these creative abilities because we are made in the image of the Creator God. This will be further affirmed when engineers put the mathematical tongue model to work in robot design. Studying biological systems from an engineering, i.e. creation based point of view, is leading to many brilliant inventions.

Listen to mathematician and engineer, Professor Andy McIntosh explain how he was inspired to build an award winning spray system based on the bombardier beetle, and how the evolutionary biologists rejected his offer of joining him in the project. DVD available from the Creation Research webshop.

Evidence News vol. 16, No.8
4 May 2016
Creation Research Australia

Peer Review “troubled from the start” according to an article in Nature, vol. 352, p306, 21 April 2016. One of the ways evolutionary scientists dismiss evidence for creation is to claim that ‘Creation Research’ is not published in peer reviewed science journals. Therefore, they claim, our work is not subject to the inherent self-correcting mechanisms of real science. This issue came up in the recent Creation Evolution debate in Norwich UK.

However, Harvard University historian Alex Csiszar states the current system of refereeing and peer review is relatively new and fundamentally flawed. Csiszar wrote: “It was only near the turn of the twentieth century that the idea began to take hold that editors and referees, taken as one large machinery of judgement, ought to ensure the integrity of the scientific literature as a whole. As this idea gained ground, many began to worry that the system itself might be intrinsically flawed, a force that impeded creative science and which ought to be abolished sort of universal gatekeeper with a duty to science.” It was not until the 1960’s that “refereeing emerged as a symbol of objective judgement and consensus in science”. However, this gatekeeping is still not universally accepted by all, and there are websites for publishing unreviewed papers, e.g. arXiv.org, which started life as an e-mail/FTP server in 1991, and continues as a centre for discussions about the end of peer-reviewing in journals.

Editorial Comment: The fundamental flaw in the system is that if the gatekeepers already believe a lie they will keep out anyone who wants to expose that lie and tell the truth. Reviewing and critiquing scientific reports is a good and useful process that can stimulate scientific research and discussion, but it can and does degenerate easily into a means of closing down any discussion of a topic that has been deemed as unacceptable by the ruling elite.

A classic example is when AAAS, who publish the journal Science, formally resolved to prevent the idea of intelligent design from being taught in schools and universities. . See our report “New Battle on Peer Review” here. Another less formal example is the forced retraction of a paper on the bio mechanics of the human hand that used the word “creator”, after the journal who published it was subjected to a barrage of insults from atheists outraged by even the admission of the word creation. See “Creator has to go!” here.

The idea of a “duty to science” elevates science to the status of an authority that human beings are accountable to, i.e. a god. However, science is merely a human activity, and is only as good as the people doing it. Scientists are subject to all the failings and foibles of human nature, and the history of science is littered with errors, ranging from honest mistakes and ignorance, through exaggerations and omissions, to deliberate frauds. Good science will only flourish in a society that has a clear moral compass from the true God who has defined right and wrong, and has the power and authority to judge. When scientific research is carried out in a society that works on a Darwinian struggle for power and status, rather than God fearing honesty and cooperation, science becomes corrupted, just like any other human activity. (Ref. history, society, behaviour, censorship)

Evidence News vol. 16, No.8
4 May 2016
Creation Research Australia

Lobsters and Fish Inspire Eyes, according to reports in ScienceDaily 15 April 2016 and PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1517953113. Anyone who has tried to take a photo or use a surveillance camera at night is frustrated by the limitations of man-made optical devices for seeing in low light conditions. Most attempts to overcome these limitations involve electronically enhancing the captured images. Scientists and engineers at University of Wisconsin-Madison have built a camera capable of vision in very low light. According to ScienceDaily, “They found inspiration for the strategy from two aquatic animals that evolved different strategies to survive and see in murky waters”.

The scientists wrote in their report: “In pursuit of a groundbreaking optical approach to photosensitivity enhancement, we look to nature for inspiration”. Their inspiration came from elephantnose fish and lobsters. The elephantnose fish has a retina composed of thousands of tiny crystal cups that collect and intensify light. Inspired by this structure, the UW-Madison researchers constructed an array of thousands of tiny parabolic mirrors, which they then arranged across the surface of a uniform hemispherical dome. This arrangement was inspired by the structure of lobster eyes. Lobster eyes have a structure known as superposition compound eyes, which concentrates incoming light to individual spots.

The researchers combined the optics of these two very different creatures which live in low light habitats, but are able to see well. They called their device a “bioinspired all-optical photosensitivity enhancer”.

Having demonstrated that their device works in very low light conditions the UW-Madison engineers are working on refining the manufacture of the device which could be used in many low-light situations, from keyhole surgery to searching for hidden bombs. Hongrui Jiang, professor of electrical and computer and biomedical engineering at UW-Madison explained: “It has always been very hard to make artificial superposition compound eyes because the curvature and alignment need to be absolutely perfect. Even the slightest misalignment can throw off the entire system”.

ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Optical engineering involves some of the most precision engineering that humans have come up with, but every different optical device we have come up with is found in the living world. Therefore, studying the eyes of living creatures such as lobsters and fish is a useful and intelligent thing to do in order to learn about optical devices. However, it is not intelligent to then give the credit to mindless “nature” or to ‘random evolution’. To do this is to ascribe plan, purpose and design to the mindlessness of matter and energy.

Simply being in a dark murky environment will never make precisely aligned structures needed for low-light eyes to function. Natural selection cannot achieve precision engineering. It simply eliminates creatures with less precise eyes from such an environment.

We would also caution anyone using this and other examples of bio-inspiration as evidence for “intelligent design” unless you are prepared to deal with the issue of who is the designer. Design without a designer is just as much a position of deliberate ignorance as pretending there is no evidence for creative design, then taking inspiration from the living world to create precision devices such as the low-light optics described here. (Ref. engineering, design, optic, ichthyology, crustaceans)

Evidence News vol. 16, No.8
4 May 2016
Creation Research Australia

“I have nothing against macroevolution. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, except from a scientific perspective. It doesn’t matter to me whether evolution is false or true. My god can do it either way”

Cornelius Hunter, Fellow of Centre for Science & Culture, at the Discovery Institute
In Q&A session following debate entitled “Creation vs. Evolution: Is Evolution Compelling?” 11 May 2016.

Editorial Comment: Be careful out there with those who use the word “creation”, when they don’t mean what Genesis means at all. The realm of academics is full of them in science and in theologians, and they will lead you away from the truth which is alone found in Jesus Christ as Creator and Saviour.

Evidence News vol. 16, No.8
4 May 2016
Creation Research Australia

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