Handful of Links

Just some random links and comments. No particular order.

Dinosaur Eel Better Than Modern Variety. So this eel is referred to as a “dinosaur eel” because, they say, it’s family tree goes back 96 million years. Its scales are uberengineered. Though thin, they are made up of four layers and when impacted, they don’t crack lengthwise, they crack in circles so it is almost impossible to puncture. The scale is lighter than modern versions, thinner and more durable. So why don’t other eels have that kind of scale? There doesn’t appear to be any drawbacks to it. Why did this eel keep its super scales? Just doesn’t sound to me like they just evolved.

An Appropriate Level of Superivsion. The more I hear about the Chick-fil-A owner the more I respect him. Some pre-teens(!) broke into his house, fired off fire extinguishers, threw eggs and had a food fight on the tennis court. Damages come to about $30,00. But Mr. Cathy didn’t press charges. He didn’t want the girls to spend time in juvenile detention. He didn’t want them to have a criminal history. Instead, he cut a deal with their parents. No video games and they have to read books. What a great idea! The courts aren’t the answer for everything, parental supervision should be considered. Love it.

Run. I haven’t done it yet, but I am going to register have registered for my first 5k. It is in September at a forest preserve near my house. The beginners program I’m using is called “The Couch-to-5k Running Plan” so that should work, right? Right?

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  • Very interesting about Mr. Cathy… Sounds like a good man.

  • […] Justice Chick-fil-A style. Chick-fil-A restaurant founder S. Truett Cathy has decided not to press charges against two girls who caused $30,000 worth of damage to his home. Instead, Cathy has worked out a deal with the girls’ parents: the youngsters are banned from watching TV and playing video games. They also must read a good book and write “I will not vandalize other people’s property” 1,000 times. (HT: By Farther Steps) […]

  • In fairness, the eel scale thing is not a good argument against evolution. The theory of evolution is based on the premise that that changes occur in critters purely by accident. Totally random. The stuff that survives is not better; it is just stuff that works. Evolution is not based on a belief that species improve over time, only that stuff that works hangs around, and stuff that doesn’t, dosen’t, and when the environment changes, that changes what works, so other stuff starts hanging around instead of the old stuff, regardless of how well the old stuff worked in the previous environment. Deep breath. “Improvement” over time is not part of evolutionary thinking, in part because improvement requires a plan, which requires a planner, which, well, you get the idea.

  • I don’t think I agree David. Well, with the first part anyway. What does “survival of the fittest” mean if it does not imply the improvements that are most beneficial survive and are passed on?

    Survival of the fittest doesn’t require a plan and a planner, it is simply conformity to the environment. So for some dinosaurs big body size was a benefit since there was plenty of food to support it. When food ran scarce the large body size became a liability and they died off. So with this eel, if the basic structure of the scales were beneficial they should have been passed on. For them to no longer be present in eels would mean that they no longer needed that defense and it would be beneficial to no longer grow them

    Or so the theory goes.

  • The super-nanotech eels’ scales were passed on, that’s why scientists found them on living specimens. Other varieties of eels passed on different scales because they also worked. The general paradigm of evolution is not “inferior to superior,” (value-based terms that have no meaning in empirical science) but rather “simpler to more complex” (which can be defined, observed, and quantified) or more precisely, “less specialized (in terms of adaptation) to more specialized.” However, at any one time in the process, there will be some biological characteristics that are not so hot, but hang around for an age or two because they are adequate.

    Anyway, what I think is interesting is the fact that science and Christianity are concerned with different things, and so, rely on different methodology; in the case of science, what can be observed, described, measured and understood within human capabilities, vs. Christianity, which is concerned with what a caring and all-knowing God has revealed, and how we are called to respond to His revelation.

    I have absolutely no idea what the point of my post is. I just think this stuff is very interesting, and I don’t get as many opportunities to chat about it as I would like. Sorry. I will go away now, and stop annoying the decent folks who enjoy your excellent blog.

  • Thanks for the discussion, by the way, David. Good thoughts, good discussion. You are not annoying anyone! Least of all me.

    All of this is tied up in the naturalistic explanation of evolution. There is no guidance behind it, there are merely naturally occurring, mechanistic processes. The only way for an organism to go from less complex to more complex is by the more complex version is given an edge to survive. It can escape predators better or get food more effectively or reproduce more rapidly or whatever.

    My point with the eel scales is that an eel with impenetrable, lightweight scales has a huge advantage over eels without those kinds of scales. Since they are lightweight, there is no drawback to having them. So here is a superior trait that should have ensured the eels with those scales would do very well compared to other, less protected (or better protected with less efficient means) eels. Yet this little bugger is rare. It should flourish enough to pass those scale genes on to a larger population. But it didn’t.

    It isn’t an argument against evolution, but it does seem to challenge blind, unguided evolution. In my opinion any way.

    As to your second point, yes science and Christianity are interested in different things. However, as an evangelical, I believe that what the Bible says, it says infallibly and with authority. So there are points where it comes in conflict with science. Evolution is one point. The relationship between special revelation (the Bible) and general revelation (the natural world around us) cannot be in conflict since both have one author. There are times when general revelation has corrected our misunderstanding of special revelation. But it has never corrected special revelation itself. Where science gets uppity is that it cannot allow for special revelation and so will not submit to special revelation and that’s why we have this conflict. Science will not submit to anything. It is the lingering buzz of a modernism binge.

  • On matters theological, you and I are in absolute agreement, except you said it far more clearly than I could have.

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