Words

Life

Corona questions for Cuomo

by Andrea Elizabeth

Why did you disable doctors from prescribing Hydroxychloroquine when studies in France and China and experience in the US say it is highly effective? The canned answer is that you didn’t want people hoarding it and deprive Lupus patients from taking it. Garbage answer. There is plenty available. Is it that you want as dire a situation as possible to make Trump look bad? Or to get enough aid to fix your state’s budget problems?

You seem to be hoarding resources including PPE, ventilators, and are ordering the construction of more new facilities while the already set up ones are empty, and existing hospitals are overrun. Are you trying to make this as expensive as possible for the taxpayer? Sounds like you are trying to bankrupt Trump’s economy.

Your only concern for other states and their resources that you are hoarding is supposedly to serve as a model for when the same happens to them later. We’re all much closer on our timelines than you think, and the only model being followed is the European one in NYC. Washington and California, who clamped down earlier, also started their curves earlier, and do not to appear to be on your trajectory. You should have followed their example when your people were telling people to hurry and go to bars before they close.

a little levity

by Andrea Elizabeth

Evolution posits that a cake is evolved flour. 😹

Random mutation is truly magical.

After all, cakes are more highly selected than bread.

The historical record shows that cakes appeared after flatbread, so… obviously!!!

Drippingly condescending

by Andrea Elizabeth

As I go through The Greatest Show on Earth I lose more and more respect for Richard Dawkins and his presumptive assumptions. I am blowing through the rest at high speed, but must stop to vent.

See Fazale Rana on the newly discovered functions of “junk dna”.

Whale and dolphin blow holes are not evidence of unintelligent design. The leap in logic from exquisite functionality and mistaken migration from where noses used to be is totally unsupported.

He does have pretty fascinating information on the details of form and function of animals, but I am struggling to decide if it is worth the insults to God and Creationists.

Another fascinating detail cloaked in insult is the “unintelligent design” of how the laryngeal nerve is bundled with the vagus nerve, supposedly leftover from the more efficient associated pathway in fish, and so in mammals and man takes a supposedly inefficient journey down to the heart and then up to the larynx. He talks about how this is magnified in a giraffe and surmises that this is why it has such simplistic vocalizations. No, dummy. How magnificent that God connects our hearts and our voices. I had no idea.

The loss of the great city

by Andrea Elizabeth

Watching Netflix’s Rise of Empires, Ottoman, has lead me to reflect on that devastating or providential series of events: The Schism dividing East and West, the fall of Jerusalem and the Crusades, the fall of Constantinople, the discovery of America, and then the Protestant Reformation, all in quick succession.

In my Presbyterian days I would have put it all in the context of Manifest Destiny to bring Sola Scriptura Christianity to the Western Hemisphere, but I don’t think it’s as simplistic as that anymore. Still, the falling into Muslim hands of Emperor Justinian’s Hagia Sophia is huge. It would be like the Vatican falling to Isis today. Well not as bad because Sultan Mehmed was more respectful of the buildings.

What it most reminds me of now is the elves leaving Middle Earth. It’s sad, and a great loss, but perhaps the age of men has some sort of purpose?

Shapiro interviews Stephen Meyer on the relationship between science and religion

by Andrea Elizabeth

And a lot of other things.

Making things up

by Andrea Elizabeth

Something a conservative would never say: “While we’re redefining words…“ Chapter 9 of The Greatest Show by Richard Dawkins. I actually don’t have a problem with his using “island” to describe an isolated habitable zone for a species. I do however have an irreconcilable difference with the following flight of fancy taken as believable fact:

“How New Species are Born

Every species is a cousin of every other. Any two species are descended from an ancestral species which split into two. For example, the common ancestor of people and budgerigars [a colorful bird] lived about 310 million years ago. The ancestral species split into two, and the two strands went their separate ways for the rest of time. I chose human and budgie to make it vivid, but that same ancestral species is shared by all mammals on one side of that early divide and all reptiles (zoologically speaking birds are reptiles as we have seen [I’ll not quibble with that for now]), on the other side. In the unlikely event that the fossil of that ancestral species was ever found, it would need a name. Let’s call it Protamnodarwinei. We don’t know any details about it; the details don’t matter at all for the argument, but we wont go far wrong if we imagine it as a sprawling lizard-like creature scurrying about catching insects.”

transitional forms

by Andrea Elizabeth

In Chapter 6 of The Greatest Show on Earth Richard Dawkins talks about missing links in the fossil record. He prefers the term transitional fossils. I’ve already discussed that fossils with ambiguous fin/feet, for example, do not necessarily prove ancestry. Shrew-like creatures that survived the KT extinction 66 million years ago have a convenient shape to blame all the other mammals on, but we are not playdough where you just have to stretch certain parts “Just So” a la Rudyard Kipling. Morphological assumptions, such as being descended from Neanderthals, are being proven false by DNA comparisons every day.

I also note that Dawkins perhaps accidentally acknowledges that evolution is a speculative opinion when he keeps using phrases like, “the evolutionary view” of such and such. It is most decidedly a viewpoint and not a fact. Perhaps it is most adamantly proclaimed as a fact from liberal professors because liberals are creative and want new, unplanned things to spontaneously occur all the time. Getting inside Dawkins’ head is as depressing as Time Bandits. Way too chaotic, random, and meaningless for me. I know he likes Monty Python because he quoted their parody poem:

All things dull and ugly,
All creatures short and squat,
All things rude and nasty,
The Lord God made the lot.

Each little snake that poisons,
Each little wasp that stings,
He made their brutish venom.
He made their horrid wings.

All things sick and cancerous,
All evil great and small,
All things foul and dangerous,
The Lord God made them all.

Each nasty little hornet,
Each beastly little squid,
Who made the spikey urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did!

All things scabbed and ulcerous,
All pox both great and small,
Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
The Lord God made them all.

Amen.

 

spin doctors

by Andrea Elizabeth

This article purports that we are “very different” from Homo Sapiens who lived 10,000 years ago, and that this is proof of evolution in action.

The proofs are that our body temperature has cooled down, certain populations with certain diets have different digestive enzymes, urban populations have different immunity, and our bones are becoming lighter. I am extremely underwhelmed.

At the beginning they try to pin these changes on natural selection is responsible, but in the details they talk about responses to the environmental and lifestyle changes. Natural selection is a Darwinian explanation that says that the offspring that have random genetic mutational advantage survive and have more children than the ones who do not have these random mutations. The unlucky must have non-beneficiary mutations that will drive them to extinction. I don’t see evidence of this. It seems that many people develop these responses simultaneously, and that God enables humans in general to adapt to our environments.

Seems evolution should have happened in 40,000 years if Lucy lived 2.9 million years ago

by Andrea Elizabeth

2.9 million years divided by 40,000 is 72.5 years. So shouldn’t a 40,000 year old man be 1/72.5 more primate-like than we are? That seems like a pretty large difference, given that the way they date undiscovered common ancestors is by the number of differences in DNA times mutation rates that occur within members of a species generationally.

They are getting better and better at sequencing ancient DNA, especially at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany under Svante Pääbo, who sequenced the first Neanderthal fossil genome. They say that non-sub-Saharan Africans all have between 2 and 5 percent Neanderthal DNA. I am still not sure that this is not based solely on the similarity of certain gene sequences, because they have not found mitochondrial DNA that should be present from a Neanderthal mother, nor y-chromosomal DNA that should be present from a Neanderthal father. I think the reason Svante says human women must have found Neanderthals attractive is because neither of these would be present if the hybrid was a girl and had a human mother. For this to be the only way means that all other offspring were either unviable or sterile. It seems the duplications in sequences could also be coincidental adaptations to European/Eurasian environments.

In 2013 they were able to sequence a 40,000 year old anatomically modern human found in China called the Tianyuan Cave Man, and have since further refined the details.  What they are hoping to prove is that ancient anatomically modern humans were different from us:

“The term “early modern humans” generally refers to humans who fall within the morphological variation of present-day humans and date to the Middle or Early Upper Paleolithic. The earliest modern humans appear in the Eurasian fossil record about 45,000 y ago, whereas the last remains that tend to be classified as early modern humans are about 25,000 y old. Early modern humans may exhibit some archaic features shared with other earlier forms of humans such as Neandertals. Although early modern humans are thus only vaguely defined as a group, their genetic relationship to present-day humans is unclear. Similarly, their relationship to archaic humans is of interest, given that they may have interacted directly with them.”

Sadly for evolutionists, this is what they found:

“The results show that early modern humans present in the Beijing area 40,000 y ago were related to the ancestors of many present-day Asians as well as Native Americans. However, they had already diverged from the ancestors of present-day Europeans.

That Europeans and East Asians had diverged by 40,000 y ago is consistent with dates for the first archaeological appearance of modern humans in Europe and also with the upper end of an estimate [23 ka BP (95% CI: 17–43 ka BP)] for the divergence of East Asian and European populations from nuclear DNA variation in present-day populations. The results also show that the Tianyuan individual did not carry any larger proportion of Neandertal or Denisovan DNA sequences in its genome than present-day people in the region. More analyses of additional early modern humans across Eurasia will further refine our understanding of when and how modern humans spread across Eurasia.”

Still, the research is fascinating as it further complicates the story of ancient human migrations.

Here’s another link about the Tianyuan Cave Man

acquiring lactose tolerance is not a proof of evolution either

by Andrea Elizabeth

The last half of Dawkins’ Chapter 5, Evolution in Action, regards Richard Lenski’s multigenerational ecoli experiment. I don’t consider acquiring an easier way to digest citrate as evolution, and after all these years in petri dishes, it’s still ecoli.

At the Discovery Institute’s conference in Denton, which I attended a couple of weeks ago, Michael Behe discussed the experiment in detail, but I’ll not try to reproduce it. See this article for more information about beneficial instances of gene degradation, not acquisition.