Archive of items from Evidence News

Three way lichens found, according to reports in ScienceDaily 21 July 2016, Science News videos 28 July 2016 and Science, 2016, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf8287. Lichens are the classic example of symbiosis, and have long been recognised as being a combination of two separate and distinct organisms combining to make a single functioning entity. Lichens consist of algae or cyanobacteria combined with a fungus. The algae and cyanobacteria are photosynthetic (like plants), and produce food, while the fungus provides structure and protection.

Although the specific fungi and algae that jointly form lichens have been separately identified, the Science editorial summary comments “lichen growth forms cannot be recapitulated in the laboratory by culturing the plant and fungal partners together”. Furthermore, lichens consisting of the same fungus and algae can have very different forms, but scientists did not know why. For example a lichen named Bryoria tortuosa is yellow and produces vulpinic acid, whilst Bryoria fremontii is dark brown and does not produce acid, in spite of consisting of genetically identical algae and fungi with the same pattern of gene expression.

Researchers at the University of Montana and Purdue University have carried out a study of 52 genera of lichens from all over the world, and concluded that lichens are actually a three way symbiosis, with a basidiomycete yeast, forming the third partner. The yeasts are embedded in the cortex, the outer layer of the lichen, and the variation in yeasts correlates with the variation in form of the lichens with the same fungus and alga.

One of the researchers, Catherine Aime, an expert in fungi at Purdue University, commented: “This discovery overturns our longstanding assumptions about the best-studied symbiotic relationship on the planet. These yeasts comprise a whole lineage that no one knew existed, and yet they are in a variety of lichens on every continent as a third symbiotic partner. This is an excellent example of how things can be hidden right under our eyes and why it is crucial that we keep studying the microbial world”.

ScienceDaily, Science

Editorial Comment: Everybody knew lichens were two, but now they are three! Amazing! Even the finding that three organisms are combined in a way that thus far we have not been able to get any of the components to combine on their own is amazing, especially when you add the fact that this enables them to live and function in many places including where other life forms find it very hard to survive.

Lichens are a good reminder that the living world really works by co-operation, not competition, and the more we study the living world the more examples of symbiosis, mutualism and other forms of co-operation we find. It is very hard to explain how this combination of organisms into a functional whole could have come about by struggle and random processes. However, it is exactly what you would expect given the world was created by a sovereign loving Creator who designed a very good world of fully functional life forms and ecosystems that worked right from the beginning, and who in His knowledge pre-designed them for a world that would degenerate until survival in extreme climates was a must.

This study also reminds us there is a lot we still have to learn about the living world, but we safely predict scientists will find out even more if they look at the world in the light of Biblical history, i.e. an original good, complex and mutually supportive creation, followed by loss of complexity and degeneration resulting death and struggle. (Ref. ecology, symbiosis, microbes)

Evidence News vol. 16, No. 18 19 October 2016 Creation Research Australia


Amber midges not primitive, according to ScienceDaily 5 October 2016 and Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 34352 DOI: 10.1038/srep34352. Frauke Stebner and colleagues from Universities of Bonn, Kassel, (Gdańsk, Poland) and Lucknow (India) have found a previously unknown species of midge preserved in Amber from India. They found it has “a unique, vesicular structure at the front edge of both of its wings”. This structure is shaped like a bubble, but it’s opening is edged with fine hairs at the bottom. According to Stebner, “Biting midge species alive today do not have these ‘pockets’ on their wings”, so they looked for similar structures in other insects. They found them in “highly developed butterflies”. Stebner explained: “These have very similar pockets on their front wings, which they use to spray pheromones into the air in order to attract a mate”. This structure on the front of the wings would enable more effective distribution of pheromones than in living midges which release pheromones from their abdomens.

Jes Rust, one of the researchers, commented: “It is noticeable that the pheromone evaporators in the fossil are much more complex than in present-day biting midges”. The amber containing the midge is dated as 54 million years old. The ScienceDaily article comments: “‘Old’ doesn’t always have to mean ‘primitive’”.

ScienceDaily goes on to conclude “The environmental conditions in the 54 million-year-old primeval forests in present-day India clearly made such an adaptation necessary. Presumably there were various species of insect at that time that all wanted to attract their sexual partners using pheromones. Unusually effective distribution techniques were probably necessary in order to thrive in this “pheromone concert””.


Editorial Comment: The ScienceDaily article is correct is saying that old does not mean primitive. Equating old with primitive is an evolutionary assumption, i.e. that living things are progressing from simple to complex. However, the article is still steeped in evolutionary thinking, as shows in the conclusion that the environmental conditions made the pheromone distributer a ‘necessary adaptation’, as if the forest environment somehow made midges develop the structure. However, if the midges did not already have this kind of pheromone distributor, (let’s repeat the obvious), placing them in forest conditions will not make them develop one.

If midge fossils show they have changed, the midges have actually gone from complex to simple – the opposite of evolution. But let’s be honest, evolutionists. This is exactly what you would expect from the Biblical history of the world, which tells us living things were created as fully functioning organisms, but since then, some have lost functions or died out altogether.

The belief that the environment can make living things develop new features is one of the basic flaws of evolutionary thinking. The environment cannot ever enable new structures and functions to develop in organisms that are not already suited to living in a particular place. The environment can only determine which organisms can live in that place, and which ones cannot. This is natural selection at work, but it is never observed, and has no mechanism, even when combined with time and mutation, to make any living things evolve into different living creatures. (Ref. insects, arthropods, fossils)

Evidence News vol. 16, No. 18
19 October 2016
Creation Research Australia


ABC reports “rich history of Aboriginal Australia” in ABC News 22 September 2016. They reported: “The most comprehensive genomic study of Indigenous Australians to date has revealed modern humans are all descendants of a single wave of migrants who left Africa about 72,000 years ago.” According to the ABC the claims are based on a study by an international group of scientists who analysed the genomes of Aboriginal Australians from the Pama-Nyungan-speaking language group and genomes of people in the Papua New Guinea highlands.

The ABC article claims the aboriginal study “reveals Papuan and Aboriginal ancestors left Africa around 72,000 years ago and then split from the main group around 58,000 years ago. … They reached the supercontinent of 'Sahul' that originally united Tasmania, Australia and New Guinea around 50,000 years ago, picking up the DNA of Neanderthals, Denisovans and another extinct hominin along the way.” David Lambert, who was involved with the study, suggests that aboriginals entered Australia at Cape York (the northernmost tip of Australia) and “there was a divergence of a whole lot of people from Cape York, we think about 30,000 years ago.”

Colleen Wall, one of the aboriginal elders who worked with the scientists, commented: "As a society we already believe that we are the oldest race on Earth, and from my point of view this research goes some way towards proving that."


Editorial Comment: Warning: don't read any further if you wish to avoid the clash between truth and political correctness. If you don't mind a bit of clanging, then guess what? The ABC failed to report the two clearly stated assumptions used by the researchers in their original report in Nature, and these two assumptions are enough to blow major holes in the complete study.

The Nature authors stated clearly: “Our genetic-based time estimates are relative, and to obtain absolute dates we relied on two rescaling parameters: the human mutation rate and generation time (assumed to be 1.25×10−8 per generation per site and 29 years, respectively, based on recent estimates)”. (section in brackets in original) These researchers concluded: “We find that Papuan and Aboriginal Australian ancestors diversified 25–40 thousand years ago (kya), suggesting pre-Holocene population structure in the ancient continent of Sahul (Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania). However, all of the studied Aboriginal Australians descend from a single founding population that differentiated ~10–32 kya.” (Nature 2016 doi:10.1038/nature18299, published online 21 September 2016)

Let’s be honest here! Nobody can know whether the mutation rate or the generation times have been the same since any original population arrived in Australia. Based on modern day observations of aboriginal birth rates, 29 years is probably way too long. But even when you allow the authors to use these figures, the estimation of a mere 10 to 32 thousand years falls a long way short of the 60 to 80 thousand years of aboriginal habitation being claimed by various aboriginal land rights political lobby groups in Australia, and popularised by the increasingly unreliable and atheistic ABC, particularly when you realize that only 83 Aboriginal Australians from the Pama-Nyungan-speaking language group and 25 genomes of Papua-New Guineans were studied.

The ABC also ignored the fact reported by the other studies from Nature that there is much secular dispute over human migration times, and how little we really can know from genome studies. So it is worth looking at the other genome studies which the ABC skated over. These are reported in BBC News and Science (AAAS) News 21 September 2016, and Nature Advance Online Publication 21 September 2016. All reports subscribe to the “out of Africa” model but give different dates for the time when Eurasians (i.e. non-Africans) left Africa, as well as differing numbers concerning how many times it happened.

The reason for such inconsistent results is that genome studies can tell us who people are related to now, but they are can only provide limited information about the past.

Also, let’s be brutally blunt concerning aboriginal claims about being “oldest race on Earth”. As someone who has worked with aboriginals, and consulting with many who do the same, and having had on our Creation Research team for many years Dr Allen Hall, who was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his work with aboriginals, any society which has a traditional counting scheme of '1, 2, 3, many' has no view on how long they have been in this country, and Colleen Walls claims are pseudo white man evolutionist gibberish to reinforce a political claim rather than a truth that will truly help aboriginals.

To really know the history of the human race we need historical records from witnesses who were there and recorded what happened. These are clearly set out in the Bible, and that should the starting point. In fact, all human races are exactly the same age because all people on earth today are the descendants of one man, Adam. The widespread migration of various groups of people began with the judgement at the Tower of Babel in present day Iraq, not in Africa. Those people who went south into Africa would not have mixed with Europeans and Asians for a long time after that, and that would explain the genetic separation seen in modern genome studies.

The fact that all human races have the same origin is being deliberately ignored by modern day sceptics and political activists who want to avoid the fact that all people have one Creator and Judge, and one Saviour – the Lord Jesus Christ. However, as the Apostle Paul reminded the Greeks of his day, our Creator “commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31) (Ref. migration, races, history)

Further Details on Migration Studies

The contrary results from genome studies are well illustrated by the two other studies. One group led by Mait Metspalu of the Estonian Biocentre in Tartu analysed 379 genomes from 125 populations. According to Science News they concluded “at least 2% of the genomes of people from Papua New Guinea comes from an early dispersal of modern humans, who left Africa perhaps 120,000 years ago. Their paper proposes that Homo sapiens left Africa in at least two waves.” Another group led by population geneticist David Reich of Harvard University analysed 300 genomes from 142 populations and concluded modern human people today outside of Africa are descended from a single founding population almost completely. Reich claims “You can exclude and rule out an earlier migration; the southern route.”

Alan Cooper, at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, who was not involved in the study, disputes the links with Neanderthals and Denisovians. He commented: "They say there is only one invasion of [Sahul] and that happens around 50,000 years ago, but then they go on to say Aboriginal Australians have genetically mixed with Denisovans at 44,000 years. "So how can you be in [Sahul] after a single invasion, yet 6000 years later you mix with another extinct hominim that is not in Australia?”

The aboriginal study also revealed a great diversity between east and west, which Michael Westaway of Griffith University suggests is the result of Australia drying out during the last ice age and people becoming isolated. He explained: "When people first arrived 50,000 years ago arid Australia wasn't like it is today. People have changed and adapted over deep time as the country has ... we just don't see that in any other Homo sapiens populations. There is greater genetic diversity in Aboriginal people living in the east and west of Australia then there is between people living in Siberia and the Americas. [And] that great genetic diversity in Aboriginal populations reflects the huge amount of time they have occupied the continent."

If you have concluded by now that the ABC chose expedient support for a left wing political view at the expense of scientific data, we truly understand.

Evidence News vol. 16 No.17
28 September 2016
Creation Research Australia 

Designer mosquitoes fight diseases according to Science vol. 354, pp164-167, doi: 10.1126/science.354.6309.164, 13 October 2016. In a special feature on the fight against insect borne diseases Science reports “Brazil plans to release billions of designer mosquitoes to stop the spread of infectious diseases”.

The mosquitoes have a gene that leads to the accumulation of a lethal protein. The gene is named tTAV and was inserted into mosquitoes by genetic engineering. Scientists plan to release male mosquitoes, which don’t bite people, but will mate with wild females and pass on the lethal gene to the next generation. Any offspring that inherit the gene should die before they mature. Scientists are still not sure how the protein works, but according to Al Handler, an insect geneticist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “It basically causes genetic havoc, and the organism dies”.

The mosquitoes can be kept alive in laboratory conditions by being fed a chemical that inhibits the action of the gene, which means they can be bred over many generations. According to Science the billions of mosquitoes they have now ready for release are “roughly the 200th generation of descendants from a single mosquito created 14 years ago in a University of Oxford lab in the United Kingdom, where geneticist Luke Alphey and his team inserted a new gene into insect embryos”.

Editorial Comment: Notice how Science is prepared to use the words “designer” and “created” when describing manipulation of mosquitoes by scientists, but still insist on promoting a theory that claims mosquitoes got here by chance random processes involving no designer or creation. Inserting a gene into mosquito embryos certainly took a lot of intelligence and creativity, but all they did was move an existing gene from one organism into another. Furthermore, when they did it, the effect was to kill the mosquitoes by causing “genetic havoc”. Think how much more intelligence is involved in creating a functioning insect with genes that work properly.

If you are wondering why God would design insects that bite people and spread diseases, note the comment that male mosquitoes don’t bite people. Mosquitoes are well designed to pierce plant veins and nectar troughs and suck up plant juices and nectar, and they do this to get energy and nutrients. Genesis tells us that all animals, including insects, were originally designed to feed from plants. However, the good world that God created has become severely corrupted, and the environment has degenerated. This means female mosquitoes are unable to get enough iron from plants to lay their eggs, so they will seek it out from any other available source. Humans, with our relatively hairless skin and blood close to the surface, are an easily accessible source.

The fact that we now have to resort to causing genetic havoc in mosquitoes to prevent female mosquitoes from biting people and spreading disease is a sad reminder of how far the world has gone downhill, and how much we need our Creator and Saviour. (Ref. insects, genetics, genetic engineering)

Evidence News vol. 16, No. 18
19 October 2016
Creation Research Australia


Pregnancy prevention programme fails, according to Science (AAAS) News and The Lancet 25 August 2016. A group of public health researchers in Australia have carried out a study of the Virtual Infant Parenting Programme (VIP), a course designed to discourage teenage schoolgirls from getting pregnant by giving them a life-size robot doll to care for. The doll, known as an “infant simulator”, cries, and must be “fed, burped, rocked, and have its nappy changed”.

The study was carried out in 57 high schools in Perth, Western Australia, and involved teenage girls aged between 13 and 15 years, who were then followed up until the age of 20. The VIP programme was run in 28 of the schools (known as the Intervention Group), whilst the other 29 schools conducted the standard health education curriculum (the Control Group). Altogether 1267 girls took part in the Intervention, and 1567 were in the Control Group.

In spite of the aim of the programme, the rate of pregnancy was higher in the Intervention Group – 16.5% in the Intervention Group, compared with 10.7% in the Control Group. In the Intervention Group there were 97 births and 113 abortions, whilst in the Control Group there were 67 births and 101 abortions.

The researchers concluded: “The infant simulator-based VIP programme did not achieve its aim of reducing teenage pregnancy. Girls in the intervention group were more likely to experience a birth or an induced abortion than those in the control group before they reached 20 years of age”.

The Science News item is entitled: “Virtual babies don’t discourage teenagers from wanting real ones”.


Editorial Comment: Note one very important and sad detail – the media did report this study, but downplayed the fact that the girls in both groups had more abortions than births. A better conclusion would be that they and/or their boyfriends wanted sex rather than babies.

There is only one way to prevent teenage girls from becoming pregnant before they are married, and that is to do things God’s way, i.e. save all love making for within marriage as God intended.

Studies show that an incredible number of young women who have had abortions later regret taking a life. The only ‘fix’ here is to share the good news that there is forgiveness and new life to be found if they repent of the killing and put their faith in Christ the Creator, Saviour and giver of life. (Ref. sociology, education, reproduction)

Evidence News vol. 16, No. 16
14 September 2016
Creation Research Australia