Archive for February, 2009

That Dog Won’t Hunt! -Dog in Turtle Shell Appears to be a Glyptodont

Crypto, Dinosaurs in Literature, s8int.com, Science, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Feb 28 2009

The guys at Barakat gallery aren’t scientists any more than we are, but; a dog in a turtle shell!?

It appears instead to be one of the varieties of the glyptodonts, who were inhabitants of South America, supposed to have gone extinct between 15,000 and 2,000,000 years ago.

We are certain that this is an accurate depiction of an actual living animal rather than a mythological dog/turtle. There is a stong similarity between the glyptodonts, the anklyosaurs and certain of the giant armadillos, and this object is certainly closer to them, particularly the glyptodonts than it is to a turtle-shelled dog. It’s somewhat surprising that they did not go to that tried and true “worship object” or fetish.

In the photo below, the Pre Columbian artifact from between 300 B.C. and 300 A.D. is compared from bottom right, clockwise to; glyptodont, top left an 18th century Dogon glyptodont depiction (in our humble opinion), and a depiction of Doedicurus, a type of glyptodont supposed to have lived during the Pleistocene.

“Colima Vessel in the Form of a Dog with a Turtle Shell –

Origin: Western Mexico
Circa: 300 BC to 300 AD
Catalogue: V4
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Colima
Medium: Terracotta
In the mythology of ancient Meso-America, the gods sometimes played strange tricks with nature: men were changed into animals, odd hybrids were created, the world was turned upside-down.

This fascinating turtle-dog, with his beautifully burnished shell, perhaps played a key role in the deceased’s passage into the underworld. He challenges our notions of the conventional world even as he delights both the eye and the hand. “…Barakat Gallery

Glyptodon was one of the biggest ancient armadillos. Fossils of this car-sized mammal have been found in Argentina, South America. Glyptodon lived in the Ice Ages, during the Pleistocene (between 2 million and 15,000 years ago). Glyptodon (meaning “carved tooth”) was named by paleontologist R. Owen in 1839. These herbivores (plant-eaters) may have been preyed upon by saber-toothed cats….Wikipedia

Ancient Persian, Bambara and Pakistanian Sauropod Depictions? Ancient Hadrosaur, Pterodactyl Depictions? Did Glyptodonts Really Become Extinct 15,000 Years Ago?

Crypto, Dinosaurs in Literature, s8int.com, Science, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Feb 24 2009

by Chris Parker
Copyright s8int.com 2009

Photo:Persian bracelet, approximately 500 B.C.

Dear friends, distinquished guests, creditors; can we take a moment to review? The term dinosaur does not appear in the Bible. That word wasn’t coined until 1842 and means; “fearfully great lizard”. Dragons are mentioned in the Bible however, and it appears to us that this was the term used throughout history to describe these various animals until-1842.

There are no creatures given a fuller description in the Bible than are the “dinosaurs” described in Job 40 and 41. In Genesis, the creation of the universe and of course every creature is described. This must include “dinosaurs”, if the Bible is true and accurate. Also, given that the Bible is true and accurate, dinosaurs were taken aboard the ark and thus survived the flood. (Since they hatch from eggs and never stopped growing, it is assumed that juvenile dinosaurs were taken aboard).

If the foregoing is true, then man and dinosaur interacted. If there is not then evidence that this is the case, (interaction) this would be a serious problem for Creationists. Many have provided evidence for this proof, and in our case, we believe that we’ve done so in over eighty pages of material in our section entitled “Dinosaurs in Literature, History and Art.”

We freely admit this evidence in many cases is subject to argument and interpretation. The evidence such that it is open to each individuals interpretation piece by piece but taken as a whole we believe it proves the point.

Sauropod Dinosaurs

Photo 2. Persian bracelet, approximately 500 B.C., compared with head and skull of diplodocus. Note similarity of eye sockets, jaw lines and the matching bulges of Persian piece and diplodocus near the topof the head.

Sauropods are the largest and are certainly among the most easily recognizable “dinosaurs”. Curiously, despite their large size, few complete skeletons have been found and often the various types were named and reconstructed from only a few of its bones.

The fact that the skull falls off easily accounts for the wrong head initially having been placed on the brontosaurus, now apatosaurus. Throughout their discovery in the mid-1800’s though the early 1900’s and even as late as 1950, science has had some trouble deciding just how these creatures looked.

For quite a long time, they were drawn as aquatic animals and the attitude of their neck has been an area of contention. Nearly complete skeletons were discovered around 1877, but as late as 1910 they were still being drawn by some scientists with their humerus and femur at right angles to their bodies.

Science has decided that there are four main types of sauropods skulls/head shapes and of the four, we have two which if they are in fact sauropod representations, most closely match the diplodocus.

The first object of which we will make outrageous claims tonight is one of Persian manufacture at around 500 B.C. It is a bracelet for sale on an online antiquities bazaar called “Treasures of the World”.

The Assault on Your Credulity Continues Here

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“So We Make Up Stories” About Human Evolution

Church of Darwin, Religious, Science, Uncategorized, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Feb 23 2009

Richard Lewontin is the Alexander Agassiz Research Professor at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University.

As such, he is internationally recognized as one of the foremost “evolutionist” , Atheist and Materialist in the world. We haven’t read a fraction of all that he has said, but he is apparently given to occasional bouts of blatant honesty.

He was previously and famously quoted for saying:

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. “….Billions and Billions of Demons, The New York Review, p. 31, January 9, 1997.

As reported in the following article, he began verbally thrashing around again at an address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in which he delivered some remarks that (unintentionally?) struck some severe blows against the Darwinist religion:

“So We Make Up Stories” About Human Evolution
by Kyle Butt, M.A.
Apologetic’s Press

Dr. Richard Lewontin is the Alexander Agassiz Research Professor at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Harvard University Press describes him as one of their “most brilliant evolutionary biologists.” A Harvard professor since 1973, he has impeccable academic credentials, and has gained worldwide notoriety for authoring several books, including The Triple Helix, The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change, and Biology as Ideology.

During the week of February 14-18, Dr. Lewontin was invited to speak at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting held in Boston, Massachusetts. Michale Balter, writing for Science magazine, reported briefly on Lewontin’s comments that caused quite a stir in the evolutionary community. Balter titled his article “How Human Intelligence Evolved—Is It Science or ‘Paleofantasy’?” (2008). In the first paragraph, Balter quipped that Lewontin really “knows how to grab an audience’s attention.”

What did Lewontin say that was so noteworthy and attention-grabbing? Lewontin “led off a session titled ‘The Mind of a Toolmaker’ by announcing that scientists know next to nothing about how humans got so smart. ‘We are missing the fossil record of human cognition,’ Lewontin said at the meeting. ‘So we make up stories’” (Balter, 2008, emp. added). While Balter spent the rest of his article scrambling to show that Lewontin’s conclusions are not recognized by all in the scientific community, Lewontin’s devastating blow to evolution’s long-cherished scenario of human development could not be papered over so easily.

James Randerson, science correspondent for the United Kingdom’s Guardian, wrote an article titled “We Know Nothing About Brain Evolution” in which he, too, reported on Lewontin’s speech. Lewontin titled his speech, “Why We Know Nothing About the Evolution of Cognition.” Randerson reported that, in the lecture, the eminent Harvard professor “systematically dismissed every assumption about the evolution of human thought, reaching the conclusion that scientists are still completely in the dark about how natural selection prompted the massive hike in human brain size in the human line” (2008, emp. added).

Lewontin then turned his attention to the fossil record. Randerson summarized Dr. Lewontin’s statements by saying: “The main problem is the poor fossil record. Despite a handful of hominid fossils stretching back 4m [million—KB] years or so, we can’t be sure that any of them are on the main ancestral line to us. Many or all of them could have been evolutionary side branches” (2008). Randerson continued, stating: “Worse, the fossils we do have are difficult to interpret. ‘I don’t have the faintest idea what the cranial capacity [of a fossil hominid] means,’ Lewontin confessed. What does a particular brain size tell us about the capabilities of the animal attached to it?” (2008).

Of course, Lewontin’s comments fly in the face of everything the general population has been led to believe about human evolution. The beautiful drawings showing ape-like creatures gradually evolving in a straight line into humans have been plastered on science-lab walls, in science textbooks, and in popular science magazines for the last five decades. We have been told that the hominid fossil record is so complete that it provides irrefutable evidence verifying human evolution. We have been told that our “ancestral” fossils indicate exactly when our ancient great-grandparents began to walk upright, when they evolved greater cognitive skills, and when they evolved into us.

Lewontin was not finished tearing into the standard evolutionary party line about hominid fossils. Randerson noted that Lewontin “is even skeptical that palaeoanthropologists can be sure which species walked upright and which dragged their knuckles. Upright posture is crucial for freeing up the hands to do other useful things” (2008).

What, then, did Lewontin conclude regarding the prevailing status of ignorance that pervades the scientific community regarding the supposed evolution of humans? He said: “We are in very serious difficulties in trying to reconstruct the evolution of cognition. I’m not even sure what we mean by the problem” (as quoted in Randerson, 2008).

The bombshell that Lewontin dropped on the 2008 AAAS annual meeting will leave devastating and lasting carnage in its wake in the evolutionary community. He debunked 50 years of orchestrated evolutionary propaganda. Randerson concluded his summary of Lewontin’s statements by observing: “All in all, despite thousands of scientific papers and countless National Geographic front covers, we have not made much progress in understanding how our most complicated and mysterious organ [brain—KB] came about” (2008).

After reviewing Lewontin’s statements and the various journal articles describing them, the writers of Creation/Evolution Headlines appropriately admonished the reader:

Remember this entry the next time you get a National Geographic cover story of a hominid with a philosopher’s gaze. Remember it when you are told stories about hominids walking upright, their hands now freed to scratch their chins and think. Remember it when you are shown a chimpanzee on NOVA performing memory tricks for a banana or smashing bugs with a rock. Remember it when a stack of erudite scientific papers on human evolution is placed on the witness table at a trial over whether students should be allowed to think critically about evolution in science class (“Paleofantasy…,” 2008).

To comment on this entry, email s8intcom@comcast.net

REFERENCES
Balter, Michael (2008), “How Human Intelligence Evolved—Is It Science or ‘Paleofantasy’?” Science, 319 [5866]:1028, [On-line], URL: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/319/5866/1028a.

“Paleofantasy: Brain Evolution is Mere Storytelling” (2008), Creation/Evolution Headlines, February 22, [On-line], URL: http://www.creationsafaris.com/crev200802.htm.

Randerson, James (2008), “We Know Nothing About Brain Evolution,” Guardian, [On-line], URL: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/02/the_distinguished_biologist _pr.html.

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Picture of 100ft-long Snake Sparks Fears of Mythical Monster in Borneo

Crypto, Dinosaurs in Literature, Giants in Those Days, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Feb 19 2009

By Richard Shears
Daily Mail Online

Photo:Borneo’s Nessie: The image that sparked fears a giant serpent was stalking the river Baleh

According to legend, the Nabau was a terrifying snake more than 100ft in length and with a dragon’s head and seven nostrils.

But now local villagers living along the Baleh river in Borneo believe the mythical creature has returned after this photo of a gigantic snake swimming along the remote waterways has emerged.
The picture, taken by a member of a disaster team monitoring flood regions by helicopter, has sparked a huge debate about whether the photos are genuine or merely the work of photo-editing software.

Even the respected New Straits Times newspaper in Kuala Lumpur has asked readers to make up their own minds about the photos.

Villagers who claim to have seen the snake say they have given it the name of Nabau, after an ancient sea serpent which can transform itself into the shapes of different animals. People who have studied the photograph of the shape taken from the air have dismissed suggestions that it’s a log.

As one writer asked: ‘A log can’t be that winding, can it?’ Others have suggested it’s a speedboat, but this has been dismissed because of the twisting wake.

The most common accusation is that the photo has simply been manipulated on a computer, while others complain that the river is a different colour to the real Baleh rover which is a murky brown.

Photo 2: Right; A second photo of the alleged giant snake.

But villagers who insist the snake exists say that photos of the creature being taken in different parts of the river prove it is swimming about.

Earlier this month scientists unearthed the fossil of a killer snake that was longer than a bus, as heavy as a small car and which could swallow an animal the size of a cow.

The 45ft long monster – named Titanoboa – was so big that it lived on a diet of crocodiles and giant turtles, squeezing them to death and devouring them whole.

Weighing an impressive 1.25 tons, it slithered around the tropical forests of South America 60 million years ago, just five million years after the last dinosaurs were wiped out.

Partial skeletons of the boa constrictor-like prehistoric killer were found in a Colombian coal mine by an international team of fossil hunters.

The Past is a Disputed Country

Science, Uncategorized | Posted by Chris Parker
Feb 18 2009

8 January 2009

By Matthew Reisz, www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/

Archaeology’s ability to reveal the truth untainted by political, cultural and nationalist bias remains a matter for heated debate.

There is a dark side to archaeology that is seldom acknowledged in Indiana Jones films; namely a long tradition of using excavations to prop up nationalist and colonial claims; to confirm (or occasionally challenge) the truth of religious and classical texts; and to present an idealised picture of groups seen as “ancestors”.

Things get particularly fraught in relation to the Middle East and “biblical archaeology”, yet the same fundamental issues – ethical, political and methodological – apply all the way from Maiden Castle to Machu Picchu.

In the Balkans, argues Evangelos Kyriakidis, lecturer in archaeology at the University of Kent, “archaeology has been very significant for national identity”. It “played an important role in 19th-century international sympathy towards the Greek national cause; today, the Kosovo issue has important archaeological extensions. Both Greece and the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia use archaeology in their arguments against each other.”

But can archaeologists working outside war zones remain immune to ideological influences, conscious or unconscious, which direct them towards what to look for and then convince them that they have found it?

Even if individuals inevitably have their biases and blind spots, can the discipline as a whole incorporate the kind of self-correcting mechanisms we find in the other sciences? Can it offer us any kind of objective truth, however partial and tentative, about the past – or will it always be tainted by politics?

In 1985, Richard Wilk, now professor of anthropology and gender studies at Indiana University, published a paper, The Ancient Maya and the Political Present, which clearly hit a raw nerve. “It was widely derided at the time,” he says. “Some Mayan archaeologists still won’t talk to me.”

Wilk’s argument was simple: there is no written evidence for classic Maya culture or its “collapse”, so any theories have to be based on archaeology. Many different ones have been put forward. Yet all of them, Wilk argued (and even illustrated with a graph), reflected current concerns: “almost every trend of importance in recent United States history finds some reflection … in learned analyses of the rise and fall of ancient Maya civilisation”.

The Vietnam War, the vogue for hallucinogenic drugs, environmentalism, the women’s movement, and anxieties about population growth or “big government” all subliminally affected how scholars accounted for the end of the Maya, Wilk said.

Wilk claimed that our images of the past were influenced by the present – and that this was a good thing. “If the past bore no relation to the present,” he argued, “it would be dreadfully boring, even to archaeologists.”

The stories we want to hear about prehistory are those that either legitimise present courses of action or offer warnings about what we should not do. Although Wilk denied that he was taking the extreme position that “archaeologists are just making up stories about the past”, he was certainly undermining any straightforward claims that they could offer us direct access to prehistory.

This view is supported by Adam Stout, research fellow in archaeology at the University of Wales, Lampeter, and author of Creating Prehistory: Druids, Ley Hunters and Archaeologists in Pre-war Britain (2008). He worries about the naive view that “better science, better technology, better recording, better techniques will give us an ever more accurate understanding of the past”. Although “archaeology today is a broad and on the whole very tolerant church,” he says, he fears that “the beasts are gathering”.

“Archaeology is being driven towards the disciplinary stockade, with the results-driven, answers-not-questions ethos so apparent in TV archaeology, in developer-driven archaeology and increasingly within academic archaeology as archaeologists struggle with research assessment exercise delivery schedules and the need to be seen as productive.”

So do archaeological methods reveal any sort of truth about the past? Stout is cautious. “The past is a devious, amorphous entity,” he says, “very resistant to being skewered by posterity. Nothing about it stays still for long, from the tiniest detail to the grandest of grand narratives; it gets constantly rewritten and re-interpreted. I do think that archaeology is essentially a hall of mirrors – but none the less valid for that. Mirrors are interesting things.”

Some argue that archaeology is becoming more genuinely scientific and objective. Margarita Diaz-Andreu, leader of the history of archaeology research group at Durham University, makes a distinction between the questions archaeologists ask, which are “very much influenced by our own experiences as people”, and the rigour of their methods. “There are more and more techniques/scientific approaches in archaeology to answer our questions,” she says.

Others dispute this. Ethan Cochrane, lecturer in archaeology at University College London, argues that “there is no archaeological science (yet). (We) use other sciences to explain various aspects of artefacts, asking questions such as: where did the raw materials for this artefact come from? How old is this piece of pottery? What is the isotopic signature of this bone? But the science behind these investigations is not archaeology – it is chemistry, physics and biology. Archaeologists take the answers and use them as data to weave stories about the past.”

But what happens when outsiders start to “weave stories” about other groups of people? Cochrane is a specialist in the Pacific Islands and notes that in Fiji, where the local people have political power and own most of the land, “their position is not threatened by anything my research might say”.

In Hawaii, by contrast, “the native population is a colonised and oppressed group”, while archaeology “is practised largely by whites and in the context of commercial/rescue archaeology in a scientific vein … Many see archaeology as yet another act of colonisation and an affront to Hawaiian culture – white people telling Hawaiians what their history means. Archaeology in Hawaii is highly political, as one might imagine, when international corporations owned by non-Hawaiians build luxury hotels and in the process disturb Hawaiian burial grounds.”

A more striking example is provided by Egypt, argues Lynn Meskell, professor of anthropology at Stanford University. The tourist trade demands Nile cruises, luxury hotels and beautifully presented archaeological sites. Many Egyptians, meanwhile, are expected to provide local colour by living in picturesque poverty or performing a pantomime version of Ancient Egypt in a reconstructed pharaonic village. This has made tourism a source of resentment and even violence – and archaeology can hardly claim neutrality.

As this may suggest, there are ethical as well as methodological reasons why archaeology is now much more systematic and self-conscious about examining its own assumptions – and whose interests they serve. Meskell addresses this in Cosmopolitan Archaeologies, a book she is editing for Duke University Press that is due to be published later this year.

For Clare Fawcett, assistant professor on the anthropology programme at St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, the values that have damaged archaeology in the past can and should be replaced by others.

“Archaeological work has been used to justify extreme nationalist ideologies such as those of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in the 1930s and 1940s,” she says, “but it can also reflect more benign notions of group identity, including nationhood. Today, archaeology in former colonies such as Canada often tells the story of indigenous peoples’ histories. This deepens understandings of ‘nationality’ for all citizens.

“Rather than trying to make archaeology a ‘pure’ and ‘untainted’ science, I think the best way to ensure that it is not used to support problematic political movements is for archaeologists to constantly question the assumptions embedded in archaeological interpretation. They can do this by asking whether these interpretations can be supported by the evidence and if there are other interpretations. Archaeology cannot answer the question of what to believe, it can only limit the kinds of stories people tell about history and the past.”

This is an impressive ideal, but Fawcett admits to a difficulty that brings us right back to the controversies surrounding “biblical archaeology”; namely that “one person’s ‘problematic political movement’ is another’s valued belief system.”

SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND: THE POLITICISATION OF BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY

Few areas of academic dispute can be as acrimonious as “biblical archaeology”. And since it is located at the intersection between two viciously contentious issues – the conflict between science and religion, and rival claims to Israel/Palestine – this is hardly surprising.

Paul L. Maier, Russell H. Seibert professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, has proclaimed that: “The spade remains the Bible’s best friend.”

Many places mentioned in Scripture, including Abraham’s home town of Ur, have been excavated to reveal buildings of the biblical era. The fallen walls and layers of ash discovered at Jericho can be plausibly dated to the time of Joshua. Archaeological finds of the early 20th century confirmed the existence of a major Hittite empire hitherto unknown outside the Old Testament.

An obelisk depicts King Jehu kneeling before the Assyrian ruler, Shalmaneser III. The name of King David is independently attested on a victory stele found in 1993. And so it goes on. Critics ignoring such evidence are dismissed by one of Maier’s allies as peddling “postmodern malarkey”.

Others claim that biblical archaeology is often sustained by an overtly Christian agenda. One of the founding fathers of the discipline, William Foxwell Albright (1891-1971), was clearly influenced by his background as the son of evangelical missionaries. Convinced of the historical truth of much of Scripture, he has been criticised for seeing the role of archaeologists as “to illuminate, to understand and, in their greatest excesses, to ‘prove’ the Bible”.

Click Here to Read the Remainder of this Article at TimesHigherEducation.co.uk

The Biggest Out of Place Artifacts Ever? Immense, Stupendous Petrified Trees of the Black Hills, South Dakota

Giants in Those Days, Religious, Science, The Flood of Noah, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Feb 17 2009

Photo: Query: What’s the diameter of that tree stump, 25, 30 feet?
Answer”…it is really not a stump. It is actually a very small twig from a larger tree.

“An entire island, 50 x 100 miles, completely petrified. Covered with the petrified remains of a forest of super giants. Trees of incredible/impossible size, destroyed by a cataclysm that collapsed the island itself into the surrounding sea.

Having remained secret for all time. Now, this place has decided to make itself known.

Here is just the beginning of an astounding photographic documentation of this petrified island. A little glimpse of an entirely unknown condition upon the Earth. Giants indeed.” Joseph C. Bennett www.beholdgiants.com

Scientists recently concluded that the maximum height of a tree is 425 feet. So how does one account for trees in the past of such huge size as to be impossible to imagine–up to 1/2 mile in circumference (distance walking around it)–and larger? For instance, a 900 foot petrified tree found in Texas in 1927 had “upright trunks are so large that they appear from a distance to be great symmetrical columns of natural rock.”

If what Joseph has found in the Black Hills of South Dakota is true, then as he says;

“It is a major historical discovery and will cause a major upheavel in the “science”; and religous sectors.

……..”this isn’t “rocket science”. Any self respecting boy scout can identify petrified wood.” www.beholdgiants.com

…….”When you get to the top of one particular ridge, overlooking a long meadow to the south and a larger valley to the south east, you see a vast landscape, littered everywhere with large petrified tree sections similar to the ones you have seen so far. Then when you look out a little further, you notice right away that things get a lot bigger and you realize that everything else you have seen is most certainly smaller giant trees and branches of much larger giant trees.

Wow. Time to burn some brain calories. First, is this for real?”..Update

Joseph Bennett made these discoveries while hiking in the Black Hills of South Dakota himself. As he says, these artifacts aren’t going to go away. Anyone with the time, a little knowledge and the inclination can verify these discoveries-and their implications themselves.

Check out the beginning of the photographic record and a current update here.

How Life Has Preserved Its Mystery

Church of Darwin, Science, Uncategorized, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Feb 14 2009

Despite a century and a half of research since Darwin, our existence is still a thing of wonder, argues our medical columnist.

By Dr. James Le Fanu
Telegraph.co.uk 09 Feb 2009

“Wonders are there many,” observed the Greek dramatist Sophocles, “but none more wonderful than man.” And rightly so, for we, as far as we can tell, are the sole witnesses of the splendours of the universe – though consistently less impressed by this privileged position than would seem warranted.

The chief reason for that lack of astonishment has always been that the practicalities of our everyday lives are so simple and effortless as to seem unremarkable. We open our eyes on waking to be surrounded by the shapes and colours, sounds and smells of the world in the most exquisite detail. We feel hungry, and by some magical alchemy of which we know nothing, our bodies transform the food and drink before us into our flesh and blood. We open our mouth to speak and the words flow in a ceaseless bubbling brook of thoughts and ideas.

We reproduce, and play no part in the transformation of the fertilised egg into a fully formed embryo with its 4,000 functioning parts. We tend to our children’s needs, but effortlessly they grow to adulthood, replacing along the way virtually every cell in their bodies.

These practicalities are not in the least bit simple, but in reality are the simplest things we know – because they have to be so. If our senses did not accurately capture the world around us, were the growth from childhood not virtually automatic, then “we” would never have happened.

There is, from common experience, nothing more difficult than to make the complex appear simple, just as a concert pianist’s effortless playing is grounded in years of toil and practice – so that semblance of simplicity must reflect the complexities of the processes that underpin them. This should, by rights, be part of general knowledge, a central theme of the school curriculum, promoting that appropriate sense of wonder in young minds at the fact of their very existence.

But one could search a shelf’s worth of biology textbooks in vain for a hint of the extraordinary in their detailed exposition of those complexities of life. Rather, for the past 150 years, scientists have interpreted the world through the prism of supposing there is nothing in principle that cannot be accounted for – where the unknown is merely waiting to be known. At least till very recently, when the findings of two of the most ambitious scientific projects ever conceived have revealed quite unexpectedly – and without anyone really noticing – that we are after all “a wonder” to ourselves.

It started in the early 1980s with a series of technical innovations in genetics and neuroscience that promised to resolve the final obstacles to comprehensive understanding of ourselves. They were, first, the immensely impressive achievement of spelling out the entire sequence of genes strung out along the double helix – the genome – of worms, flies, mice, monkeys and humans, which should have identified those “instructions” that so readily distinguish one form of life from another.

And second, the development of those equally impressive scanning techniques that would permit neuroscientists for the first time to observe the brain “in action”: thinking, imagining, perceiving – all the seemingly effortless features of the human mind.

This was serious science of the best kind, filling learned journals and earning Nobel Prizes while holding out the exhilarating prospect that these most fundamental questions of genetic inheritance and the workings of the human brain might finally be resolved.

The completion of the human genome project, on the cusp of the new millennium, marked “one of the most significant days in history”, as one of its architects described it. “Just as Copernicus changed our understanding of the solar system… so knowledge of the human genome would change how we see ourselves.”

At the same time Professor Steven Pinker, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, after reviewing how neuroscientists with their new techniques had investigated everything “from mental imagery to moral sense”, confidently anticipated “cracking the mystery of the brain”.

Nearly a decade has passed since those heady days, and looking back, it is possible to see how the findings of both endeavours have enormously deepened our knowledge of life and the mind – but in a way quite contrary to that anticipated.

The genome projects were predicated on the reasonable assumption that spelling out the full complement of genes would clarify, to a greater or lesser extent, the source of that diversity of form that marks out the major categories of life. It was thus disconcerting to learn that virtually the reverse is the case, with a near equivalence of a (modest) 20,000 genes across the vast spectrum from a millimetre-long worm to ourselves.

It was similarly disconcerting to learn that the human genome is virtually interchangeable with that of our fellow vertebrates, such as the mouse and our primate cousins.

“We cannot see in this why we are so different from chimpanzees,” remarked the director of the chimp genome project. “The obvious differences cannot be explained by genetics alone.” This would seem fair comment but leaves unanswered the question of what does account for those distinctive features of standing upright and our prodigiously large brain.

More unexpected still, the same regulatory genes that cause a fly to be a fly, it emerged, cause humans to be humans with not a hint of why the fly should have six legs, a pair of wings and a brain the size of a full stop, and we should have two arms, two legs and a turbo-sized brain. These “instructions” must be there, of course, but we have moved in the wake of these projects from supposing we knew the principles of the genetic basis of the infinite variety of life, to recognising we have no conception of what they might be.

At the same time, neuroscientists observing the brain in action were increasingly perplexed at how it fragments the sights and sounds of every transient moment into a myriad of separate components, with no compensatory mechanism that would reintegrate them together into that personal experience of being at the centre of a coherent, ever-changing world.

Meanwhile, the greatest conundrum remains – how the monotonous electrical activity of those billions of neurons in the brain “translates” into the limitless range and quality of subjective experiences of our lives, where every moment has its own unique, intangible feel.

The implications are clear enough: while theoretically it might be possible for neuroscientists to know everything about the physical structure of the brain, its “product”, the mind, with its thoughts and ideas, impressions and emotions, would still remain unaccounted for.

“We seem as far from understanding the brain as we were a century ago,” says the editor of Nature, John Maddox. “Nobody understands how decisions are made or how imagination is set free.”

There is in all this the impression that triumphant science has stumbled on something of immense importance – a powerful parallel reality that might conjure the richness of the living world from the bare bones of the genes strung out along the double helix and the parallel richness of the mind from the electrochemistry of the brain.

Certainly, for the foreseeable future there will be no need to defer to those who would appropriate our sense of wonder at the glorious panoply of nature and ourselves, by their claims to understand it. Rather, the very aspect of the living world now seems once again infused with that deep sense of mystery of “How can these things be?”

James Le Fanu’s new book, ‘Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves’ (HarperCollins), is available from Telegraph Books for £16.99 + £1.25 p&p

Living Pterosaurs Newsletter 013

Crypto, Dinosaurs in Literature, Science, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Feb 12 2009

February 06, 2009
By Jonathan Whitcomb

Photo: Ancient Nigerian Art

To living-pterosaur investigators and to those interested
*****************

CONTENTS
Introduction to Living-Pterosaur Expeditions
Florida Sighting Around 2002
Philippines Sighting Around 1994
New Insights Into Early History of LP Investigations
New Web Sites (including non-English pages)

*******************

Introduction to Living Pterosaur Expeditions

Living-pterosaur investigations began around 1993, when Carl Baugh (founder and director of the Creation Evidence Museum, in Glen Rose, Texas) and missionary Jim Blume interviewed nationals (natives) in Papua New Guinea. Baugh was later assisted by Paul Nation in their 1994 expedition to Umboi Island, PNG.

In 1996, Baugh and Blume searched for pterosaurs in Northern Papua New Guinea, with one indistinct sighting of what may have been a ropen. In 2001, an American (who later informed me that he wishes to be anonymous) explored on the mainland of Papua New Guinea. He interviewed native eyewitnesses of a giant nocturnal flying creature that was reported to have killed a child years earlier. We suspect that it may have been a ropen.

In 2002, Paul Nation and his son, Nathanael, explored on Umboi Island, but saw no ropen. In 2004, the investigations continued with my own expedition and that of David Woetzel and Garth Guessman; we explored on Umboi Island and interviewed many eyewitnesses, in two separate expeditions. There were
two distant sightings: one per expedition.

More expeditions followed (Papua New Guinea): 2006 (Paul Nation) and 2007 (two). These three expeditions resulted in two separate video recordings of strange glowing objects that could not be explained, by scientists, as any commonplace light.

From 2007-2008, most investigations involved sightings in North America.
**********************************

Florida Sighting Around 2002

I received a sighting report from a man who lives in Florida. He says that he is acquainted with birds (that might be mistaken for a pterosaur). In his own words (spelling and grammar corrected):

“About 6 years ago I was sitting outside my house with a buddy of mine . . . about 2 or 3 in the morning . . . something caught . . . our attention . . . [a] flying creature that flew over our heads towards my backyard . . . pointed wing tips, no feathers, pointed beak and . . . long pointed thing protruding from the back of its head.

“I live in florida so I’ve seen my share of cranes . . . but this WAS NOT a bird. A second later, something made us look across the street where we saw a second one flying over a house flying down
into that house’s backyard. . . [The first creature had] about 4′ long (wingspan).

“We were not drinking or on drugs! As soon as we saw the second one across the street we immediatly looked at each other and . . .I said, “was that what I think it was?”

He said ‘naaa it had to be something else.’

“I promise they were not birds.”
**********************************

Philippines Sighting Around 1994
[grammer and spelling corrected] Late in 2008, I received a report from a man in his 20′s who saw
what he called a “pterodactyl,” in fact two flying together, when he was a boy in the city of Pagbilao, Quezon Province (not to be confused with Quezon City).

According to the eyewitness, “I think we’re not the only ones who saw it, because my classmate told me that there are sightings of this thing in Atimonan, Quezon [Province], just one-half hr travel from Pagbilao, and I was told by the local fisherman there that he saw it several times, flying above the sea.”

I asked the young man some questions:

Q: Did the two creatures have tails?

A: YES! they have long tails about 3 to 4 meters long . . .it is not a bird: They don’t have any feathers.

Q: Did you have a good view of them?

A: Yes! I was not the only one who saw it . . .

Q: What time of day was it?

A: It was around 2:00-3:00 pm in the afternoon . . .

He added more: “I saw them clearly: the SHAPE, their BAT-LIKE WINGS, a LONG NECK and
. . . I dunno if it is a horn behind their heads. They have a long beak. I even saw their claws between their wings. They don’t have any feathers; their body really looks like a bat. They seldom flap their wings, about every 3-4 sec.; thats why I knew it is not just a big bat. . . .”

I know of other similar reports from the Philippines. It seems to me that this creature is a ropen, like the one in Papua New Guinea. (JW) We receive many reports of individual ropen-like creatures, but these two reports remind us that there are exceptions: Sometimes ropens do not fly alone. (JW)
**********************************

New Insights Into Early History of LP Investigations

Soon after sending out the last newsletter (012), I received a comment from Garth Guessman (one of themost active living-pterosaur investigators of the past few years). Garth contacted Dr. Carl Baugh (one of the pioneers of these investigations) and received this response from Baugh (about how this got started):

Hello Garth and Duane, [late 2008] . . . If I remember correctly, the late Walter Lang met Fred Brauer at one of Walt’s speaking appointments. After hearing of our mutual interest, Fred related to Walt his
knowledge of the . . . sighting by Duane Hodgkinson . . .

I visited with Fred and Walt at the Minneapolis Creation Conference. As a result of these connections I proceeded with the first venture to Papua New Guinea. Without these vital connections none of the work would have been possible.

Blessings, Carl Baugh

In other words, without the brave openness of eyewitness Duane Hodgkinson, none of these living-pterosaur expeditionswould have gotten started, for Baugh’s expeditions of 1993, 1994, and 1996 prepared the way for the other expeditions. Hodgkinson got these investigations started. (JW)
**********************************

New Web Sites (including non-English pages)

Three redirections for old AOL pages about LP

(“Hometown has been shutdown.”):

WWW.laattorneyvideo.com

Another page about eyewitness Gideon Koro:

Gideon

Reply to the Site “Prehistoric Reptiles”

Ropens Critic

Criticism of living-pterosaur reports, part two

Critic Part 2

An Undiscovered Modern Pterosaur?

Undiscovered Pterosaur

The Indava–Is it a Pterosaur?

Indava

SPANISH:
El Ropen de Papúa Nueva Guinea

El Ropen

FRENCH:
“Ropen” de Papúa la Nouvelle-Guinée

Ropen (French)

Nouvelles dans le Français – Les renseignements sur un animal ont appelé “ropen”

New Inside France
**********************************

The archive of the previous newsletter (012) (about “Lines of Influence,” Near-collision over
Indonesia, and Georgia sightings) is found at:

Newsletter 012
**********************************

Back issues of the first eight issues of this newsletter are at:

Back Isues

Thank you for your interest in living pterosaurs.

Weird Object Over Wichita

Amusing?, Crypto, Dinosaurs in Literature, s8int.com, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Feb 11 2009

Will these cryptid photos drive me to a distraction?
Hold my legs! I’m having a knee-jerk “creationist” reaction!
I get itchy and I shake when I have to decide
If I’m going to believe “Science” – or my own lying eyes?
No, that dress doesn’t make you look fat- it’s my 20-20 vision
But now, will my perfect eyesight just lead to derision?
One drink of that evolution Kool-Aid and it’ll seem coincidental
That this cryptid has the characteristics of an “extinct” pterodactyl!
The Darwinist police will want my “chrymes” to desist
I hope they don’t check the expiration on my poetic license! :0)

In a story by Dirk Vander Ploeg of UFODigest.com, he recieved an email from “Daniel” on Feb. 6, 2009. (photo submitted by Daniel and enhanced by Bruce Jessop)

“He was taking photos of a construction site East of Wichita, Kansas when he heard a buzzing-whirling sound.

The object or “thing” as Daniel calls it came out of the clouds and streaked past “faster than anything I have every seen!”

Because Daniel lives in Wichita he claims to be familiar with every kind of aircraft from Boeing and McConnell Air Force Base.

He describes the object as being black and very shiny with a surface similar to glass. You can see the glass reflecting off of it. The pink circular pattern in the sky was only there for 10 seconds or so”, said Daniel.”

From the Wichita Eagle Newspaper

“I was facing east when I shot the photo,” the man, who asked not to be identified, said in an e-mail.

He described what he saw: “The object came out of the clouds really fast. It sounded kind of like a jet but much, much softer and had a whirling sound with it.

“I only got off one shot because it was really close before I realized it was something different. It went back upward, much like a jet, and was gone.

“There was a odd pinkish glow in the sky behind it.”

In a telephone interview, the man said he takes still-life photos as a hobby. He said it was fortunate he had his camera out when the object flew into his view because he saw it for only a few seconds.

“The only problem was I had a real slow lens… . I wasn’t planning on taking a picture of anything moving,” he said.

He said he used to work at Boeing and has seen a lot of aircraft over the years.

“It didn’t sound like one of these jets that I hear all the time…. It was much quieter, much quieter,” he said.

He noticed that the flying machine’s exterior looked black and shiny.

He estimated the object came no closer than 1,000 feet above the ground. It swooped in as if it was on “a bombing run.”

“Then in one smooth motion, it went back up,” he said.

There have been a number of comments suggesting what the object is; the space shuttle on the back of a B52, an unknown jet etc. Some have suggested that it is a bird–noting the beak and wings but so far, no one has gone primeval yet (except us).

The article’s source is UFODIGEST.com News There you will find more info, larger photos and comments from their readers.

Our second photo compares Daniel’s photo with a pterodactyl and a “Ropen” with upswept wings, wing claws, a head prong and long tail. Of course, if you believe that the pterodactyl became extinct 65 million years ago, then a crow is a better explanation.

Offered for your consideration….

Click Here to go to UFO Digest.com

Update: Mystery of the 2nd and 3rd Century Roman Dodecahedron

s8int.com, Sophistication of Ancestors, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Feb 10 2009

When someone makes a comment on an old entry, generally no one knows about it but us. We hope to update the blog so that recent comments appear on the front page but that functionality doesn’t exist at this time. This is a fairly detailed explanation of one’s persons hypothesis about the usage of the Dodecahedron. The original article is here.

Original Blog Post with Comments

“In my website dodecaeder.nl yoy wil find a new theory for the use of the dodecahedron, together with experimental support. Shortly summarized, my new theory can be described as followed: the dodecahedron was an astronomic measuring instrument with which the angle of the sunlight can be measured and thereby one specific date in springtime, and one date in the autumn can be determined with accuracy.

The dates that can be measured were probably of importance for the agriculture. The sowing date of winter grain is important for the achievement of optimal produce. Therefore I anticipate that the dodecahedron would only be used in autumn time.

The functioning of the dodecahedron as a measuring device is based on the angle of the sun on the highest point of the day. In a calendar year, the earth travels completely around the sun (365 ¼ day).

The angle of the earth opposite the sun changes during the year in a sinus rhythm. The sun gets to the highest position around June 21, when the sun reaches the tropic of Cancer (degree of latitude N 23°.27?) and the lowest point will be reached around December 22, when the sun reaches the tropic of Capricorn. (degree of latitude Z 23°.27?).

The vernal equinoctial point and the autumnal equinoctial point are at respectively March 21 and September 23, when the sun has reached the level of the equator. The angle which the sunlight makes with the earth is subjected to the degree of latitude where one is.

As an example, take the city of Maastricht, located at N 50°.52?. At March 12 and September 23, the largest angle which the sunlight makes with the earth in Maastricht, is 90° – 50°.52? = 39°.08?. On June 21, it is 90° – (50°.52?-23°.27?) = 62°.35? and on December 22, it is 90° – (50°.52?+23°.27?) = 16°.41?.

When one is able to determine the angle which the sunlight makes with earth, one is actually measuring the date quite accurately. According to my hypotheses, the use of the dodecahedron is based on this knowledge.”

Sjra Wagemans
http://dodecaeder.nl | wagemans6@zonnet.nl | 87.208.242.213