Research Articles: All posts by Stephen Caesar MA

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Rapid Microevolution and Fitness Cost 6/6/2011 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Frequently in this column, the phenomenon of fitness cost has been discussed. This is when an organism, as it undergoes minor changes in reaction to changes in its environment, improves in one area of its abilities but pays a price by becoming less fit in another area. These minor changes are known as microevolution, in which the individual organism may undergo noticeable alterations and improvements, but does not become a new, superior species.

Hopeful Monsters? 5/11/2011 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Lateral gene transfer has been discussed several times previously in this column. This phenomenon occurs at the microscopic level, when bacteria or viruses that get inside a living organism transfer strands of their DNA to the host being. These strands then get worked into the DNA of the host, which in turns causes the host to change or mutate.

Texas Flood Rapidly Creates Canyon 4/7/2011 - by Stephen Caesar MA

The theory of uniformitarianism states that the geological formations we see on Earth today came into existence over millions of years through the slow, gradual action of natural forces. Catastrophism posits exactly the opposite: that the features we see on the surface of the world today came about rapidly, through massive natural disasters. In the nineteenth century, uniformitarianism replaced catastrophism as the dominant theory in geology.

Hydrothermal Vents and the Origin of Life 2/23/2011 - by Stephen Caesar MA

In the 1970’s, geologists discovered hydrothermal vents, holes in the ocean floor that spew out scalding hot water. They subsequently learned that these seemingly inhospitable environments actually permitted the existence of primitive life forms. Some scientists believe that such conditions, and not the “warm little pond” theorized by Darwin, might have been the setting for the formation of the first life on Earth.

Is Malaria Evolving? 6/15/2010 - by Stephen Caesar MA

The cover of the March-April 2010 issue of Harvard Magazine features the headline “Malaria: An Elusive, Evolving Foe.” The article inside opens by referring to “a reality of evolutionary biology: EVERYTHING changes and adapts, and microbes have a way of outmaneuvering medicine..."

Dating the Permian-Triassic Extinction 4/12/2010 - by Stephen Caesar MA

One of the most controversial topics in the debate over origins is the age of the Earth. Geochronology, the science of dating the age of our planet and its major events, is less precise than most people might believe...

Creating Life from RNA 2/8/2010 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Recent studies have suggested that the earliest life sprang from RNA, and two scientists have successfully created a strand of RNA that startlingly mimics the way primitive life is believed to have developed.

The Blessing of the Silver Scrolls 1/6/2010 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Excavations in Jerusalem in 1979–80 by Gabriel Barkay turned up two amulets dating from the late seventh century BC. They were found in the fourth of several burial caves he discovered on an escarpment known as Ketef Hinnom, which overlooks the Hinnom Valley just opposite Mt. Zion. Each amulet contained a rolled-up sheet of silver which, when unrolled, revealed the Priestly Benediction inscribed on them...

Ramidus vs. Orrorin, Again 12/8/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

The dispute over these two fossils shows that the search for human origins is not a purely scientific endeavor, but is fraught with personal animosity and the desire to be the first paleontologist to prove that humans evolved from lower animals.

New Doubts About Half-Life Dating 11/5/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

The most widely used tool to measure the age of the Earth is radioactive decay. The great scientist Ernest Rutherford was the first to define the concept of “half-life,” that is, the time it takes for one half of the atoms in a given quantity of a radioactive element (such as plutonium) to decay into another element (such as uranium), or for one isotope of an element (such as carbon-14) to decay into another isotope of that same element (such as carbon-12)...

The Wealth and Power of the Biblical Patriarchs 10/14/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

The Biblical record suggests that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were exceedingly wealthy men. This is borne out by the fact that they owned both donkeys and camels. The rarity of domesticated camels in the Bronze Age Near East, combined with the economic advantages enjoyed by camel owners over non-owners, along with the exclusive ability of the rich to initiate camel domestication and eventually to profit from it, provide a significant connection to the Patriarchs as described in Genesis...

Is ‘Ida’ the Missing Link? 9/1/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

On May 19, 2009, scientists unveiled a fossil primate in a ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Alleged to be 47 million years old, the skeleton is remarkably complete, and it bears strong resemblance to modern-day lemurs, which are members of the primate family...

Self-Assembling Structures 8/3/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

One of the most heated topics in the search for origins is the debate over whether the enormous complexity of living beings is the result of accident or design. Recent breakthroughs in nanotechnology may shed further light on the subject...

Dating Problems 7/5/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

The inexact nature of the methods currently used by scientists to date the earth has been discussed numerous times in this column. A recent example of this inexactitude was discovered by Elizabeth Catlos, associate professor of geology at Oklahoma State University...

Blind Fish See 6/12/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

A well-known icon of evolution is the blind fish that lives in numerous caves in Mexico. At some time in the past, sighted fish living in the sunlit waters of Mexico entered lightless caves and, over time, lost the ability to see...

Lucy Gets Disinherited 5/6/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

In the 1970’s, an earth-shaking discovery of a fossil was made in Ethiopia. The fossil was of a young female who appeared to bear anatomical similarities to both modern humans and chimpanzees. Dated to 3.2 million years ago and popularly named “Lucy,” she was at once decreed to be the missing link between modern humans (Homo sapiens) and our evolutionary ancestors...

Hybridization Creates New Species 4/14/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

When new species appear suddenly in the fossil record, scientists automatically ascribe the new appearance to evolution in the classical Darwinian style. However, it is now known that brand-new, viable, reproducing species can suddenly appear not necessarily through evolution and survival of the fittest, but through the hybridization of separate, already-existing species...

Habilis and Erectus...Again 3/10/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

When many people hear about the controversy over human origins, they usually think of creation versus evolution. However, some of the most heated debates occur within the theory of evolution itself...

Patriarchal Wealth and Early Domestication of the Camel 2/19/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

The Genesis account of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob suggests all three were wealthy men. While scholars generally view references to camels in relation to these patriarchs as anachronistic, author Stephen Casear points out that is not the case. He adds that the mention of camels actually helps explain the source of the patriarchs’ wealth...

Fins to Feet Again? 2/6/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Unfilled gaps, incomplete fossils, and incorrect anatomical reconstructions should give us pause before we jump to hasty conclusions about a missing link between fish and tetrapods...

The Prophets’ Knowledge of Contemporary Idolatry 1/22/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Some critics have claimed that the prophets greatly misinterpreted the true theology behind the idol-worship of Israel’s ancient neighbors...

Revising Radiocarbon Dating 1/5/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Carbon 14 dating is fraught with problems...

The Human Race: A Young Species? 11/26/2008 - by Stephen Caesar MA

A recent series of genetic studies has revealed tantalizing hints of the origin of the human species. What’s more, these new discoveries would seem to lend support to the ancient history of the human race as outlined by the Book of Genesis...

A Brief Comment on the Census in Luke 2 10/16/2008 - by Stephen Caesar MA

The issue of the Luke 2 census has been debated for decades, but there are solutions to the apparent Bible problem...

Intelligent Design by Humans 9/9/2008 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Most scientists bristle at the idea that the extremely complex compounds and chemicals that led to the first life were put together by intelligent design. Only a theory involving pure chance will even be considered...

Prebiotic Soup? 8/11/2008 - by Stephen Caesar MA

The origin of life is one of the most hotly debated topics in science today. The current reigning theory is that life first sprang from non-life in a “prebiotic soup” (“prebiotic” means “pre-life”) of various chemicals...

Planets Without Suns 7/3/2008 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Hubble’s new images have shown that celestial bodies can indeed coalesce without a parent star providing the requisite dust and gas. The best place to witness these awesome births of planets is the Milky Way galaxy’s Orion Nebula, which is only 1,500 light-years from Earth...

The Rapid Formation of Stars 6/20/2008 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Recent photographs of the Orion nebula in the Milky Way galaxy, sent back by the Hubble’s new, high-resolution Advanced Camera for Surveys, have suggested that the formation of stellar bodies from clouds of matter may take a lot less time than was originally supposed...

Without Form and Void 4/1/2008 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Genesis 1:2 says that the Earth started out "without form, and void." Interpretations differ as to precisely what this means...

Einstein and Intelligent Design 1/16/2008 - by Stephen Caesar MA

In the past few years numerous scientists, scientific journals, and popular authors have published a slew of articles and books ripping the concept of Intelligent Design. While not specifically denying the theory of evolution, the theory of Intelligent Design postulates...

A Localized Flood? 1/9/2008 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Remarkably similar flood stories can be found all over the world. The sheer number of stories from all over the globe, in addition to similar details in them (a mountaintop, a boat, attendant animals), argues that at some point in the distant past, the entire world must have suffered a devastating Flood...

Another Believing Scientist 10/24/2007 - by Stephen Caesar MA

A contemporary scientist who shares Einstein's belief in a creator - but who, unlike Einstein, is a devout practicer of his faith - is Dr. Francis Collins, who in 2000 made headlines and was publicly honored by Pres. Bill Clinton for mapping the entire human genome...

The Creation of New Butterfly Species Before Our Eyes 9/19/2007 - by Stephen Caesar MA

According to the Genesis model of origins, God created not each individual species, but the wider genus to which each species belongs. Genesis 1:11 and 1:21 state that God created animals and plants “according to [their] kind.” “Kind” is miyn in Hebrew...

Redoing the Tree of Life, Again? 9/12/2007 - by Stephen Caesar MA

According to this model, life evolved in a linear fashion from the first life form and branched out into the separate kingdoms, phyla, and so forth that we see today. However, as with so many other theories regarding the origins of life, this famous image has proved incorrect...

Evolution and Empirical Evidence 8/29/2007 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Skeptics of evolution have long made the claim that Darwin’s theory is untestable and relies on faith rather than empirical observation to bolster it. It is quite surprising to learn that at least two important figures in the field of evolutionary origins have agreed with this position...

Darwin on the Galapagos 8/1/2007 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Science writer Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of the book Why Darwin Matters, writes a regular monthly column entitled "Skeptic" in the journal Scientific American. He was forthright enough to debunk a famous misconception regarding the story of how Darwin first began to formulate his now-famous theory. According to what is taught in schools..

Some Facts about the Scopes Monkey Trial 6/20/2007 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Many inaccuracies and misconceptions have arisen regarding this famous event, and most of them have their origins in the enormously popular play and move, Inherit the Wind. An article appearing in the April 2005 issue of the journal Smithsonian has cleared up some of these myths...

Synthetic Biologists: Intelligent Designers 5/9/2007 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Much has been made recently of the Intelligent Design movement, which many scientists dismiss as inherently unscientific since it relies on a divine, external force to explain certain phenomena that have not yet been satisfactorily explained by science...

Appearance of Galactic Age 4/11/2007 - by Stephen Caesar MA

In terms of the age of the cosmos, the prevailing theory among astronomers is that the universe is billions of years old, with stars and galaxies forming at extremely slow rates. Those who maintain the theory of a younger universe contend that the oldest galaxies possess only the appearance of great age, rather than actual great age...

A Universe with a Beginning 12/6/2006 - by Stephen Caesar MA

A commonly held misconception about revolutionary scientific theories is that religious authorities oppose them while secular scientists warmly embrace them. After years, sometimes decades, of battling between the two groups, the scientists win out and religion is forced to retreat. This is an oversimplification and sometimes even a misstatement of what actually happens...

Flores Man: Tiny Human Cousins? 11/27/2006 - by Stephen Caesar MA

In 2004, the world of paleontology was rocked by the news that Michael J. Morwood of the University of New England in Australia and his colleagues had discovered...

The Newly Discovered Transitional Fish 10/4/2006 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Recently, much has been made of a fossil discovered in Arctic Canada that is being touted as an unmistakable evolutionary link between fish and land animals...

Stanley Miller's Experiment 9/13/2006 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Evolutionists theorize that life sprang from non-life early in Earth's history. This supposedly happened when a bolt of lightning struck the "prebiotic soup," the term...

Hybridization and Polyploidy 8/16/2006 - by Stephen Caesar MA

In previous installations of this column, we have discussed the fact that brand-new species of plants and animals suddenly appear in the fossil record bearing remarkable similarities to related species. Automatically credited to Darwinian evolution...

Aptameters 7/26/2006 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Some scientists believe that RNA, a fundamental building block of life, holds the key to life's origin. It was once believed that RNA (ribonucleic acid) was subordinate to DNA, which contains information for making proteins...

The Genetic On-Off Switch 6/7/2006 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Many times in previous installations of this column I have referred to the genetic on-off switch, an amazing creation pre-programmed into the genetic code of all living things...

Rational Design and Directed Evolution 3/29/2006 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Rational design nor directed evolution prove the blind, chance-driven macroevolution postulated by Darwin. Instead, they argue strongly for the existence of an outside, rational Designer who "programmed" the elements to come together to form the first protein molecules.

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