Archive for December, 2010

Genesis: Many of the Plant-Eating Dinosaurs Terrifyingly Became Meat-Eaters: Science: The Most Terrifying Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Suddenly Went Vegetarian

Church of Darwin, Religious, s8int.com, Science, The Flood of Noah, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Dec 26 2010

GEN 1:29 (Pre-Flood)Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

Genesis 9 (Post Flood)
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

Here is another one of those “just so” stories that vex even the minds of some evolutionists. In this article, scientists discover that many of the fearsome “meat-eating” dinosaurs had a diet consisting mainly of vegetation. The surprising findings came from the study of such items as fossilized stomach contents and dinosaur droppings.

After the research findings were known, science needed an explanation that fit in with other preconcieved Darwinian stories (like dinosaurs to birds) so the notion is advanced that dinosaurs evolved on purpose as it were into birds because of the sudden lack of meat in their environments. This is dumb for many reasons but chief among them is te idea that birds are vegetarians. Birds are certainly at the least omnivores and some are most decidedly carnivorous,

It’s interesting isn’t it that both Genesis and now science believe that meat-eating dinosaurs were at one time; plant eaters. Genesis and science simply disagree on which came first……s8int.com


The Most Terrifying Meat-eating Dinosaurs Suddenly Went Vegetarian

The theropod dinosaurs, like Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor, were some of the most fearsome carnivores ever. Yet most of these perfect hunters abandoned live prey in favor of a more peaceful, vegetarian existence…which started their evolution into birds.

Researchers recently set out to determine the diet of 90 different theropod species. They were expecting to find a lot of meat-eating – after all, theropods are known informally as the predatory dinosaurs. But even confirming that hypothesis would be tricky because so little evidence of dinosaur diet remains.

Teeth do often pass into the fossil record, but it’s not always easy to figure out diet based on just teeth. While the sharp teeth and jaw of a T. rex is obviously that of a fearsome superpredator and the blunt teeth of a Triceratops obviously belong to a plant eater, a lot of dinosaur teeth fall somewhere in the middle. A lot of therapod dinosaurs have strange, peg-like teeth which seem less than ideal for either a carnivorous or herbivorous existence, so figuring out what they ate becomes a real challenge.

The good news is that there are lots of other types of evidence: fossilized poop, preserved stomach contents, marks on the teeth, and even stones inside the stomach that would have been used to digest vegetation all provide clues to dinosaur diet. The researchers used statistical analysis to figure out which of these bits of evidence were most strongly correlated with eating meat or eating plants, and then look for other dinosaurs that also possessed those features.

The results were shocking. Many of the supposedly carnivorous therapod dinosaurs were actually eating plants. The highly carnivorous diets of T. rex and the Velociraptor actually made them the unusual ones among their dinosaur peers. Researcher Lindsay Zanno explains in words that will surely come back to haunt her if ever a Jurassic Park scenario breaks out:

“Most theropods are clearly adapted to a predatory lifestyle, but somewhere on the line to birds, predatory dinosaurs went soft.

Indeed, a lot of the adaptations these dinosaurs underwent as they ate more and more plants brought them closer to modern birds. Along multiple evolutionary lines, once carnivorous dinosaurs lost their flesh-ripping teeth in favor of weird new teeth in the shapes of pegs, wedges, or even leaves. They then lost their teeth completely, as they evolved a bird-like beak. Zanno explains:

“This is a clear-cut indication that the repeated evolution of a toothless beak in theropod dinosaurs is linked to plant eating. Once a beak appeared on the scene, it continued to evolve. Theropods would have used their beaks in a myriad of ways; they still do.”

So why did the perfect hunters of the dinosaur world switch to vegetarianism? It might have been caused by the breakup of continents, which opened up new and unusual habitats for these dinosaurs to explore. However it happened, the theropods – particularly the coelurosaur subgroup, which included T. rex and Velociraptor – became one of the most diverse and successful dinosaur groups of the Cretaceous Period. Maybe it really is worth eating your vegetables after all.

io9.com via Live Science

Thanks Scott S.

Christian Morality Scientific Support; Abortions Lead to Higher Depression Statistics and Waiting Until Marriage for Sexual Relations Creates Measureable Benefits

Church of Darwin, Religious, Science, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Dec 26 2010

Clinical Depression After Unintended Pregnancy Linked To Abortion Springfield, IL (January 18, 2002)

– This week’s prestigious British Medical Journal reports that women who abort a first pregnancy are at greater risk of subsequent long term clinical depression compared to women who carry an unintended first pregnancy to term. Publication of the study coincides with anniversary events related to the Supreme Court’s January 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Data from a national study of American youths, begun in 1979, was used to conduct the research. In 1992, a subset of 4,463 women were surveyed about depression, intendedness of pregnancy, and pregnancy outcome. A total of 421 women had had their first abortion or first unintended delivery between 1980 and 1992.

An average of eight years after their abortions, married women were 138 percent more likely to be at high risk of clinical depression compared to similar women who carried their unintended first pregnancies to term.

Among women who were unmarried in 1992, rates of high risk depression were not significantly different. The authors suggest that the lack of significance in unmarried women may be explained by the higher rate of nonreporting of abortions among unmarried women. Compared with national averages, unmarried women in this study report only 30 percent of the expected abortions compared with married women, who report 74 percent of the expected abortions.

This may make the results for married women more reliable, say the authors. Another explanation is that unmarried women who are raising a child without the support of a husband experience significantly more depression than their married counterparts.

Study: Couples Who Delay Having Sex Get Benefits Later

December 22, 2010
While there are still couples who wait for a deep level of commitment before having sex, today it’s far more common for two people to explore their sexual compatibility before making long-term plans together.

So does either method lead to better marriages?

A new study in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology sides with a delayed approach.

The study involves 2,035 married individuals who participated in a popular online marital assessment called “RELATE.” From the assessment’s database, researchers selected a sample designed to match the demographics of the married American population. The extensive questionnaire includes the question “When did you become sexual in this relationship?”

A statistical analysis showed the following benefits enjoyed by couples who waited until marriage compared to those who started having sex in the early part of their relationship:

Relationship stability was rated 22 percent higher
Relationship satisfaction was rated 20 percent higher

Sexual quality of the relationship was rated 15 percent better

Communication was rated 12 percent better

For couples in between – those that became sexually involved later in the relationship but prior to marriage – the benefits were about half as strong.

“Most research on the topic is focused on individuals’ experiences and not the timing within a relationship,” said lead study author Dean Busby, a professor in Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life.

“There’s more to a relationship than sex, but we did find that those who waited longer were happier with the sexual aspect of their relationship,” Busby added. “I think it’s because they’ve learned to talk and have the skills to work with issues that come up.”

Sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin, who was not involved with this research, read the study and shared his take on the findings.

“Couples who hit the honeymoon too early – that is, prioritize sex promptly at the outset of a relationship – often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy,” said Regnerus, author of Premarital Sex in America, a book forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Because religious belief often plays a role for couples who choose to wait, Busby and his co-authors controlled for the influence of religious involvement in their analysis.

“Regardless of religiosity, waiting helps the relationship form better communication processes, and these help improve long-term stability and relationship satisfaction,” Busby said.

Provided by Brigham Young University (news : web)
Source: Physorg.com

Since shame, secrecy, and thought suppression regarding an abortion are all associated with greater post-abortion depression, anxiety, and hostility, the authors conclude that the high rate of concealing past abortions in this population (60 percent overall) would tend to suppress the full effect of abortion on subsequent depression. Unreported abortions would result in women who experience depression following an abortion being misclassified as delivering women.

“Given the very high rate of concealment of past abortions “the fact that significant differences still emerged suggests that we are just catching the tip of the iceberg,” said David C. Reardon, Ph.D., the study’s lead author.

Reardon, the director of the Elliot Institute in Springfield, Illinois, says the study’s findings are consistent with other recent research that has shown a four to six fold increased risk of suicide and substance abuse associated with prior abortion. He says the findings are also important because this is the first national representative study to examine rates of rates of depression many years after an abortion, on average approximately eight years later in this sample.

The data set used was the same as that used by feminist psychologist Nancy Russo of Arizona State University, whose examination of a self-esteem scale revealed no significant difference between aborting women and women who carried to term. Russo concluded that the absence of difference in self-esteem scores in this large national data set proved that abortion has no “substantial and important impact on women’s well-being.” (see critique of Russo study here.)

According to Reardon, Russo’s much publicized study has frequently been used to support the claim that, on average, abortion has no significant effect on women’s mental health. The Elliot Institute’s new analysis of the same data set reveals that significant differences do exist.

“The most serious flaw of the Russo study is that the authors did not even comment on the extraordinarily high rate of concealment of past abortions in the sample,” Reardon said. “Women who do not want to mention a past abortion are most likely the ones who will have unresolved feelings of shame, guilt, or grief.”

Reardon says that another problem with the prior analysis was that Russo’s team relied solely on a measure of self-esteem that is not sensitive to post-abortion stress. He says the examination of depression scores is more relevant to the known negative reactions to abortion.

“Russo’s previous analysis of this data set was methodologically weak and was frankly a poor basis on which to build the claim that abortion has no measurable effect on women’s well- being,” he said. “The results of our reexamination of this data set—especially in combination with other studies showing higher rates of suicide, substance abuse, and other mental health disorders associated with prior abortion—shows that the ‘no effect’ hypothesis should be rejected. Something is going on here. Where there is this much smoke, despite the problem of high concealment rates, there is likely to be a fire beneath the haze.”

Another important aspect of this study, says Reardon, is that is one of only a few studies to use any pre-pregnancy psychological score as a control variable. The most commonly used control variable used in regarding emotional reactions is “pre-abortion” evaluation on the day of the abortion when the woman is in the crux of emotional distress. This is why a pre-pregnancy score is much more useful than a pre-abortion score for evaluating the independent effect of abortion on long term emotional reactions.

Asked what the practical implications of this study are for physicians, Reardon said: “We recommend that physicians should routinely inquire about the outcome of all the patient’s pregnancies. The simple question, ‘Have you experienced any pregnancy losses such as miscarriage, abortion, adoption, or stillbirth?’ may be sufficient to give women permission to discuss unresolved issues related to prior pregnancy losses. Physician’s should remember that there are few social contexts in which women feel it is appropriate to discuss unresolved feelings about prior pregnancy loss. Many patients will appreciate the opportunity to discuss their pregnancy losses with an empathetic person and may welcome referrals for additional counseling.”

The new study was funded by the Elliot Institute, a non-profit organization that is involved in research and education regarding post-abortion complications and also promotes outreach and counseling programs for women. Reardon is the author of numerous books on post-abortion issues, including The Jericho Plan: Breaking Down the Walls Which Prevent Post-Abortion Healing and Making Abortion Rare: A Healing Strategy for a Divided Nation. His newest book, Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion, co-authored with Theresa Burke, will be published in March of 2002. Information on these titles and other research conducted by Dr. Reardon and the Elliot Institute can be found at www.afterabortion.org.

KEY POINTS:
* The association between abortion and subsequent depression persists over at least eight years.

* Screening patients for a history of abortion may help physicians to identify women who would benefit by a referral to counseling.

* The null hypothesis (the conjecture that there are no differences on average between having an abortion and carrying an unintended pregnancy to term) is rejected.

Source: AfterAbortion.org

Famous Atheist Christopher Hitchens’ Brother Writes Book Defending Christianity

Church of Darwin, Fin De Siecle, Religious, Uncategorized | Posted by Chris Parker
Dec 17 2010

Hitchens Brothers’ Rift Starts With Religion
By MARK OPPENHEIMER
NYT Published: July 30, 2010

Chatting at a coffee shop in his hometown, Peter Hitchens is disinclined to talk about his older brother, Christopher, the famously combative journalist.

In May, Peter published the American edition of “The Rage Against God,” a pro-Christian tract meant to counter his brother’s 2007 book, the popular atheist manifesto “God Is Not Great”; last month, Christopher announced that he was starting treatment for esophageal cancer.

YouTube Location of Hitchens vs Hitchens Debates

The two brothers have never been close, and in fact are well known to dislike each other. But Peter is obviously sad when asked about his brother’s illness, and one can imagine that, if he had known what was to come, he might have kept his sword in its scabbard.

But that is not in the Hitchens nature. Christopher is known in England, in his adopted United States and beyond as a mercurial provocateur — once a Trotskyite, now a supporter of the Iraq war, always an atheist, author of a derisive book attacking Mother Teresa — while Peter’s fame is concentrated in England. But his own books, journalism and television commentary, all very conservative, show the same frank ruthlessness, and the same ability to attract enemies. For two sons of a respectable officer in the Royal Navy, they are not very good boys.

Christopher has moved somewhat to the political right in the last few years, thus aligning the brothers’ views a bit. But they still are far apart on religion, and that is what “The Rage Against God” is about. Peter got the idea for the book after a public debate with his brother about theism, in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2008.

“I do not think that either of us engaged properly with the other on that occasion,” Mr. Hitchens writes. Afterward, he resolved to hold no more such debates, fearing that they could only lead to enmity and further estrangement. “I am 58. He is 60. We do not necessarily have time for another brothers’ war.” (Christopher is now 61.)

“I think,” Mr. Hitchens writes, “this is a better way of completing the unfinished business of that evening.”

The memoir section of “The Rage Against God” is rather terse, a clear case of British reserve. (“Hitch-22,” Christopher’s recent memoir, has the expansive self-revelation of one who has by now become temperamentally American.) “Rage” begins clearly enough: “I set fire to my Bible on the playing fields of my Cambridge boarding school one bright, windy spring afternoon in 1967.”

We quickly jump to his late 20s, when on a visit to France he sees Rogier van der Weyden’s 15th-century painting “Last Judgment,” with its “naked figures fleeing towards the pit of hell.”

“I did not have a ‘religious experience,’ ” Mr. Hitchens writes. “Nothing mystical or inexplicable took place — no trance, no swoon, no vision, no voices, no blaze of light. But I had a sudden strong sense of religion being a thing of the present day, not imprisoned under thick layers of time.”

From there, his return to Christianity is gradual, beginning with a rediscovery of the joys of Christmas, followed soon, on the occasion of his wedding, by the urge to be married in the Church of England. Mr. Hitchens’s catalog of return sounds quite ordered, indeed rational. He reattaches to the rituals of his natal church; he realizes that Christendom helped shore up what was best in old England. Much of “The Rage Against God” is in fact a rage against the forgetfulness of Britons, who no longer know their hymns, their great literature or the heroism of their forefathers who died in two world wars. Having noticed that the secularization of England seems to have coincided with its decline, he becomes alive to serious flaws in the reasoning of atheists, like his brother.

He notices that post-Christian societies, like Russia, where he lived for two years as a
correspondent, are coarse and brutal. Of Islam and Hinduism, he says over coffee: “I would certainly say, especially having visited countries where they are broadly practiced, that I think they are inferior to Christianity. They are certainly a heck of a lot better than nothing.”

Whereas Christopher argues, in “God Is Not Great,” that criminal states like Stalin’s were in fact not atheist, but quasi-religious cults, Peter concluded that they were indeed as good as their word, atheist to the core, and that their overthrow of God helped enable their murderous policies.

American readers will notice a lack of enthusiasm in Peter’s Christian apologetics. He proceeds largely from historical, rather than personal, evidence: here are the fruits of Christianity, and here is what one finds in its absence. The narrative is cool, not hot; very English, and not with the pious plain-spokenness of, say, C. S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity,” but with a kind of stiff upper lip, as befits a man sent to boarding school when he was 7. The case for God is built slowly and rationally — as he makes clear, “no trance, no swoon, no visions.”

The Sunday morning we meet, Mr. Hitchens has just bicycled four miles to an Anglican service in a nearby village, the closest church he can use Cranmer’s 1662 Book of Common Prayer. His wife, he says, is with their young son at a “happy clappy service” that is, he confesses ruefully, a bit better for young children. “My wife takes him there so he won’t think church is a place that is only a third full.”

At coffee, I tell him that his book seems to have a strange lack of evangelism. He explains, to my surprise, that he is not seeking converts.

“I am hated by a lot of people in this country, where I am viewed as a reactionary thug,” he says. “I doubt if I am going to bring any of them to the cross of Christ. My view is not to preach to other people, though I will attack people who are teaching bad things. Morality is a battle fought in your own heart.”

“People who are teaching bad things” — including one, he believes, in his own family. But we do not speak of that over coffee, and soon his wife and son arrive, fresh from the happy clappy service.

Original Source
E-mail: mark.oppenheimer

Research Indicates Ancient Civilization Thrived Until Ocean Submerged It Beneath the Persian Gulf “About” 8 Thousand Years Ago: Do You Noah What That Reminds Us Of?

Religious, s8int.com, Science, The Flood of Noah, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Dec 14 2010

Painting:Artist Unknown

Veiled beneath the Persian Gulf, a once-fertile landmass may have supported some of the earliest humans outside Africa some 75,000 to 100,000 years ago, a new review of research suggests.

At its peak, the floodplain now below the Gulf would have been about the size of Great Britain, and then shrank as water began to flood the area. Then, about 8,000 years ago, the land would have been swallowed up by the Indian Ocean, the review scientist said.

The study, which is detailed in the December issue of the journal Current Anthropology, has broad implications for aspects of human history. For instance, scientists have debated over when early modern humans exited Africa, with dates as early as 125,000 years ago and as recent as 60,000 years ago (the more recent date is the currently accepted paradigm), according to study researcher Jeffrey Rose, an archaeologist at the University of Birmingham in the U.K.

“I think Jeff’s theory is bold and imaginative, and hopefully will shake things up,” Robert Carter of Oxford Brookes University in the U.K. told LiveScience. “It would completely rewrite our understanding of the out-of-Africa migration. It is far from proven, but Jeff and others will be developing research programs to test the theory.”

Viktor Cerny of the Archaeogenetics Laboratory, the Institute of Archaeology, in Prague, called Rose’s finding an “excellent theory,” in an e-mail to LiveScience, though he also points out the need for more research to confirm it.

The findings have sparked discussion among researchers, including Carter and Cerny, who were allowed to provide comments within the research paper, about who exactly the humans were who occupied the Gulf basin.

..”Given the presence of Neanderthal communities in the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates River, as well as in the eastern Mediterranean region, this may very well have been the contact zone between moderns and Neanderthals,” Rose told LiveScience. In fact, recent evidence from the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome suggests interbreeding, meaning we are part caveman.

Watery refuge
The Gulf Oasis would have been a shallow inland basin exposed from about 75,000 years ago until 8,000 years ago, forming the southern tip of the Fertile Crescent, according to historical sea-level records.

And it would have been an ideal refuge from the harsh deserts surrounding it, with fresh water supplied by the Tigris, Euphrates, Karun and Wadi Baton Rivers, as well as by upwelling springs, Rose said. And during the last ice age when conditions were at their driest, this basin would’ve been at its largest.

In fact, in recent years, archaeologists have turned up evidence of a wave of human settlements along the shores of the Gulf dating to about 7,500 years ago.

“Where before there had been but a handful of scattered hunting camps, suddenly, over 60 new archaeological sites appear virtually overnight,” Rose said. “These settlements boast well-built, permanent stone houses, long-distance trade networks, elaborately decorated pottery, domesticated animals, and even evidence for one of the oldest boats in the world.”

Rather than quickly evolving settlements, Rose thinks precursor populations did exist but have remained hidden beneath the Gulf. [ History's Most Overlooked Mysteries ]

“Perhaps it is no coincidence that the founding of such remarkably well developed communities along the shoreline corresponds with the flooding of the Persian Gulf basin around 8,000 years ago,” Rose said. “These new colonists may have come from the heart of the Gulf, displaced by rising water levels that plunged the once fertile landscape beneath the waters of the Indian Ocean.”

Remainder of this Article

Thanks to: Scott S.

Evolutionists Say Eating Meat Made Our Brains Larger and Made Us Smarter. If That Sounds Dumb To You; Eat More Meat Einstein!. “Just-so stories” Driving Me Crazy

Amusing?, Church of Darwin, Science, Uncategorized, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Dec 12 2010

A just-so story, also called the ad hoc fallacy, is a term used in academic anthropology, biological sciences, social sciences, and philosophy. It describes an unverifiable and unfalsifiable narrative explanation for a cultural practice, a biological trait, or behavior of humans or other animals. The use of the term is an implicit criticism that reminds the hearer of the essentially fictional and unprovable nature of such an explanation. Such tales are common in folklore and mythology (where they are known as etiological myths — see etiology).Wikipedia

“Just-so stories” driving me crazy john hawks weblog; paleoanthropology, genetics, and evolution.

“NPR has been doing a special series of reports during their “Morning Edition” program called “The Human Edge”, all about various aspects of human evolution. I think it’s just wonderful that they’re doing this, and the stories are available on the NPR website, which is also great.

I’ve been out of town and so haven’t been following closely. So I’m just noticing that some of these stories actually drive me up the wall. Every one of them is presented as what Stephen Jay Gould called a “just-so story”.

I’ll take one of the latest articles as an example: “Food For Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter”. The story begins with a short resume of the “expensive tissue hypothesis”, with quotes from one of expensive tissue’s main exponents, Leslie Aiello. This hypothesis is a serious one, which paleoanthropologists take seriously, and which has some empirical support in the comparative biology of primates. But here’s how the story poses the hypothesis:

“You can’t have a large brain and big guts at the same time,” explains Leslie Aiello, an anthropologist and director of the Wenner-Gren Foundation in New York City, which funds research on evolution. Digestion, she says, was the energy-hog of our primate ancestor’s body. The brain was the poor stepsister who got the leftovers.

Meat is packed with lots of calories and fat. Our brain — which uses about 20 times as much energy as the equivalent amount of muscle — piped up and said, “Please, sir, I want some more.”

As we got more, our guts shrank because we didn’t need a giant vegetable processor any more. Our bodies could spend more energy on other things like building a bigger brain. Sorry, vegetarians, but eating meat apparently made our ancestors smarter — smart enough to make better tools, which in turn led to other changes, says Aiello.

That’s a “just-so story.” How did meat make us smarter? Is it a magical meat property? If I fed enough meat to the local deer, would they get smarter? The expensive tissue hypothesis proposes an energetic trade-off, but doesn’t provide any mechanism by which the evolution of smarter brains (or diet shift) would occur. A trade-off is simply “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” It needn’t say anything at all about how you bake a cake, or what happens if you can’t eat it.”

Click Here to Read the Remainder of the Article

NASA’s Hyped-Up Alien Life Press Conference Actually About Arsenic; NASA’s Arsenic Microbe Science Slammed

Amusing?, Church of Darwin, Science | Posted by Chris Parker
Dec 07 2010

Last Updated: Monday, December 6, 2010 CBC News

Photo: Costume Source

NASA’s Arsenic Microbe Science Slammed

Wolfe-Simon and her colleagues reported that a microbe found in California, shown in this electron microscope image, can use arsenic — an element that is usually toxic to living things — instead of phosphorus to make chemical building blocks of life such as DNA, proteins and fats. (Courtesy of Science/AAAS)

A recent high-profile astrobiology discovery led by a NASA scientist is being called into question by a B.C. microbiologist, who says the science was sloppy.

“I don’t know whether the authors are just bad scientists or whether they’re unscrupulously pushing NASA’s ‘There’s life in outer space!’ agenda,” wrote University of British Columbia Prof. Rosie Redfield on her blog about the study, which was published Dec. 2 in Science.

Critical chemist

Rosie Redfield is one of a number of scientists in different fields who have publicly criticized the arsenic microbe study since it was published online on Dec. 2.

Alex Bradley, a biogeochemist, posted his own review of the work on the science blog We, Beasties, writing that a “subtle but critical piece of evidence has been overlooked.” Bradley cited Steve Benner, a distinguished fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Fla., who said during a NASA news conference that DNA-like arsenic compounds are very unstable and tend to break down within minutes when exposed to water.

Consequently, arsenic-based DNA should break down into small pieces during its chemical analysis, Bradley said.

The fact that the DNA fragments isolated in the recent study were very large demonstrates that they were normal DNA made with phosphorus, not arsenic, he added.

In a blog post over the weekend, Redfield described the study led by astrobiologist Felisa Wolfe-Simon as “lots of flim-flam, but very little reliable information.”

Wolfe-Simon and her colleagues reported that a microbe found in California can use arsenic — an element that is usually toxic to living things — instead of phosphorus to make chemical building blocks of life such as DNA, proteins and fats. The bacteria were grown in an environment with very high arsenic and almost no phosphorus.

The discovery was hailed as “something different than life as we knew it.” NASA scientists said it opened the possibility of finding life in parts of the universe that might otherwise be considered uninhabitable.

Redfield dissected Wolfe-Simon’s molecular biology and microbiology methods and results in detail on her blog, RRResearch, garnering tens of thousands of hits and dozens of comments from other scientists.

One of the key findings of the NASA study was that the microbe’s DNA was partly made of arsenic instead of phosphorus, based on chemical analyses.

Cleanliness, calculations criticized
But Redfield disagreed, writing that the paper “doesn’t present ANY convincing evidence that arsenic has been incorporated into DNA (or any other biological molecule).

In an interview Monday, Redfield said the methods used by the researchers were so crude that any arsenic they detected was likely from contamination. There is no indication that the researchers purified the DNA to remove arsenic that might have been sticking to the outside of the DNA or the gel the DNA was embedded in, she added. Normally, purifying the DNA is a standard step, Redfield said: “It’s a kit, it costs $2, it takes 10 minutes.”

She also questioned why the researchers analyzed the DNA while it was still in the gel, making the results more difficult to interpret: “No molecular biologist would ever do that.”

Redfield also disagreed with the paper’s conclusion that the bacteria had to rely on arsenic to build molecules such as DNA because there wasn’t enough phosphate (a form of phosphorus) available in the samples with the lowest levels. Her arithmetic showed that in fact, there was enough phosphate to account for the amount of bacteria that grew.

“That shocked me,” she said.

Redfield added that there was actually very little arsenic in the DNA of bacteria grown in an environment high in arsenic and low in phosphorus. In fact, the amount was only twice that of the cells grown without arsenic: “That’s a level of difference that could be easily explained by very minor contamination.”

Debate shouldn’t be in media: NASA Read more Here:

When It Comes to Explanations for the Origin of Life, Genesis Has the Quality; So, Science Comes At You With Quantity

Amusing?, Church of Darwin, s8int.com, Science, Uncategorized | Posted by Chris Parker
Dec 06 2010

Genesis 1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

“The origins of life on Earth bristle with puzzle and paradox. Which came first, the proteins of living cells or the genetic information that makes them? How could the metabolism of living things get started without an enclosing membrane to keep all the necessary chemicals together? But if life started inside a cell membrane, how did the necessary nutrients get in?

The questions may seem moot, since life did start somehow.” New Glimpses of Life’s Puzzling Origins…NYT June 15 2009 Article

How close are scientists to knowing the origin of life on earth … Oct 21, 1999 … www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-close-are… Article

In 1924, Oparin began publishing his ideas on how life may have evolved from a prebiotic soup ….… www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurrin1/…/slm/originday.htm -

From Soup to; “Nuts?!” New Research Rejects 80-Year Theory of ‘Primordial Soup’ as the Origin of Life
S8int.com Article

Life could have evolved on Earth not once but twice.” BC Focus Magazine Video

Revolutionary New Theory For Origins Of Life On Earth

ScienceDaily (Dec. 4, 2002) — “A totally new and highly controversial theory on the origin of life on earth, is set to cause a storm in the science world and has implications for the existence of life on other planets. Research* by Professor William Martin of the University of Dusseldorf and Dr Michael Russell of the Scottish Environmental Research Centre in Glasgow, claims that living systems originated from inorganic incubators – small compartments in iron sulphide rocks. The new theory radically departs from existing perceptions of how life developed and it will be published in Philosophical Transactions B, a learned journal produced by the Royal Society”…Article Source

“Life May Have Evolved from Inanimate Matter, with associations among molecules becoming more and more complex. In this view, the force …” www.darwinspredictions.com/

“According to a new study, scientists found that life on earth went from single cells to blue whales and giant sequoias in 3.5 billion years in two distinct bursts. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This theory is against the preconceived notion of life slowly evolved from simple to complex multicelled organism. The analysis of the fossils showed that the study of the two sized jumps were from bacteria to eukaryotic cells and from unicellular to multicellular organism.” Article

“Mineral cells might have incubated first living things.John Whitfield

Life on Earth may have begun in rocks on the ocean floor. More than 4 billion years ago, tiny cavities in minerals may have served as the first cells, two biologists are proposing. Other researchers argue that the idea leaves many questions unanswered.

The key to the new theory is iron sulphide. Hot springs deposit a honeycomb of this mineral on the ocean floor, with pockets a few hundredths of a millimetre across. This would have been the ideal place for life to get going, say William Martin, of Heinrich-Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany, and Michael Russell of the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre in Glasgow, UK.

“There are lots of theories [of the origin of life] but ours is the first to start with the cell,” says Martin. Most scientists assume that self-replicating molecules or proteins came first. NatureNews Article

Methane-Belching Bugs Inspire a New Theory of the Origin of Life on Earth

Two laboratories at Penn State set out to show how an obscure undersea microbe metabolizes carbon monoxide into methane and vinegar. What they found was not merely a previously unknown biochemical process–their discovery also became the inspiration for a fundamental new theory of the origin of life on Earth, reconciling a long-contentious pair of prevailing theories. This new, “thermodynamic” theory of evolution improves upon both previous theories by proposing a central role for energy conservation during early evolution, based on a simple three-step biochemical mechanism. Article

Life Could Have Evolved in Armoured Clay Bubbles ….. arXiv:1011.4711 Article

Life Could have started as self-assembling organic molecules. … Wikipedia Article

Did Life Evolve in Ice? Funky properties of frozen water may have made life possible….. Discover February 2008 issue; published online February 1, 2008 Article

Evidence Mounts That Life May Have Begun In a Scalding Toxic Bath

Born in the fire Evidence mounts that life may have begun in a scalding toxic bath By David Chandler, Globe Staff, 9/12/2000 For humans, it’s about as … Newsgroup Article

Life May Have Begun In The Hot Or The Cold

Over 3000 million years ago, life may have begun in the sea as simple bacteria. As ancient time progressed, there slowly evolved a diversity of …Astrobiology Magazine, Moffet Field CA (SPX) Feb 26, 2008

Life May Have Begun in Upper Atmosphere An experiment that simulated chemical reactions in the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan suggests that life could have begun in the sky. American Scientist, November 2010
Article

Life May Have Begun Deep Down Under the Ground and Then Only Later Evolved and Adapted To Cooler Surface Conditions On Earth. … Nov 16, 2009
earthsky.org/space/paul-davies-do-we-live-in-a-bio-friendly-universe Article

Could life have evolved in cometary nuclei? A. Bar-Nun, A. Lazcano-Araujo and J. Oró

On Earth it is believed that life originated or could have originated in caves or round Hydrothermal vents…. Wikiversity.org

Life on Earth could have grown from the broken remains of alien viruses–Alien “Zombies?” …. Article;Wired Science

Comets may have brought life to Earth: New study www.physorg.com/news203584634 Article

But life could have taken 7 billion years to develop, and still have left time to evolve to beings like us, who could ask about the origin of life. … hawking.org.uk

Researcher Says Life Evolved Between the Mica Sheets: …www.nsf.gov/news/news Article

A new model shows how primitive life could have evolved from simple amino acids in a “primordial soup” – news.softpedia.com

The deep sea vent theory for the origin of life on Earth might apply to ……
www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/…/enceladus-f20080326.html Article

So the common ancestor of life could harness the natural proton … If life did evolve in alkaline hydrothermal vents, it might have …….www.allbusiness.com/science-technology/…/13228098-1.html Article

First Animals Evolved in Lakes, Not Oceans, Study Hints

Jul 28, 2009 … Earth’s first animals may have evolved in salty lakes, not oceans, … and its longevity may have helped animal life gain a foothold, Kennedy said. … Still, there could be other explanations for why older animal …news.nationalgeographic.com/…/090728-first-animals-evolution-lakes.html

Life May Have Evolved From Fresh Water? Carrine Blank, Ph.D., Washington University

Life may have evolved chemically, not biologically www.thaindian.com/…/life-may-have-evolved-chemically-not-biologically_ 1003221.html

Mars; Not Mars

–Or, more extraordinarily, it has been suggested that life may have evolved first on Mars and then come to Earth by the process of ballistic panspermia.7 …www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/M/Marslife.html

–Frozen Mars Likely Never Evolved Life
Jul 21, 2005 … This in turn suggests that Mars likely has not had conditions suitable for life to evolve, at least in the last 3.5 billion years. …www.sciscoop.com/2005-7-21-151739-652.html

–Life may have been seeded on Mars < ---from Earth. www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/M/Marslife.html

--Who knows, that an intelligent life may have evolved on Venus in distant past, even more ‘intelligent’ than us, who might have ruined the …www.chowk.com/articles/11545

What Dr. Seth Shostak is suggesting could come out of the pages of a science fiction novel. His idea is that intelligent life may have evolved into or created artificial intelligence.

These ‘robot’ forms of life may have different forms of communication and could be living in parts of the universe inhospitable to organic life forms like us. Dr. Seth Shostak, who is the Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute. Article

Diamonds may have been life’s best friend.

Billions of years ago, the surface of these gems may have provided just the right conditions to foster the chemical reactions believed to have given rise to life on Earth, researchers in Germany report. ScienceDaily (July 30, 2008)

Unique three-dimensional native structures of first biopolymers could have evolved as a side effect of nonspecific physicochemical factors acting at the prebiotic stage of evolution. Harvard university Jan 23 1996

New theory fills in the gap before Darwin
By Tim Friend, USA TODAY

“Forget what you learned in biology about the origin of life: that it began with a single mother of all cells and became increasingly complex. It was a simplistic notion anyway.

A new theory by leading evolutionary microbiologist Carl Woese, which may revolutionize notions on the origin of life, suggests that life really began with at least three primitive cell-like structures engaged in a promiscuous gene-swapping free-for-all more than 3 billion years ago.” USA Today Article