SCIENCE | Ocean discovery presents a mystery Darwinism can’t explain
by Julie Borg
Posted 7/20/17, 01:16 pm
Giant shape-shifting rangeomorphs with soft bodies like an animal but a branching structure like a fern sound like something out of the latest science fiction movie. But evolutionary scientists say they appeared suddenly and mysteriously in the earth’s oceans about 571 million years ago. “They show up in the fossil record with a bang, at very large size,” Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences said in a statement.
Rangeomorphs weren’t really gigantic, but when they needed to reach elevated oxygen levels above they could taper their shape and grow up to 2 meters long. And in a world where
evolutionists think almost all life was microscopic, that would be pretty huge.
The researchers reported in Nature Ecology and Evolution that major climate changes and chemical changes in the ocean most likely produced the sudden appearance of rangeomorphs.
But according to David Klinghoffer, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, chemical and environmental changes aren’t enough to account for the sudden appearance of an entirely new organism. For a new animal or plant to suddenly show up, new biological information has to be encoded in the DNA. “Without infusions of information … there would be no organisms at all, small or large,” he wrote on Discovery Institute’s blog Evolution News & Science Today.
Evolutionary scientists have no idea what the source of such new biological information could be. But Stephen Meyer, a geophysicist and director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, found the answer while working on his dissertation at Cambridge.
“The crucial question in the origin of animal life and the origin of life itself is where did the information come from; information stored digitally in the DNA molecule. … And I realized that the answer to that question is intelligence,” he said in the Discovery Institute’s documentary The Information Enigma.
Researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Sheffield in Britain have developed computer simulations of some aspects of the sense of touch. Their work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, though impressive, shows once again that human engineers cannot duplicate the complexity found naturally in creation.
The researchers announced they had reproduced “tactile signals from the whole hand with millisecond precision.” That’s quite an accomplishment since each fingertip contains nearly 1,000 tactile nerve fibers that have to work together to send information to the brain about the shape, size, texture, temperature, and other attributes of an object a person touches.
The researchers mathematically simulated three different types of nerve sensors, each of which encodes different aspects of tactile sensation. One type of fiber alone does not give the brain much data, but all of them working in concert give the brain a vast array of information. And it all happens within thousandths of one second.
The researchers were able to engineer signals that could create sensations like feeling the edges of an object and sensing the direction of motion, but they did not simulate the perceptions of temperature or pain, nor did they account for friction or the networking responses that would take place in adjacent nerves. As the nerve signals travel to the brain, they have to cross synapses that convert the electrical signals into chemical signals and then back again, all without altering the message the brain receives.
As Discovery Institute experts pointed out on the blog Evolution and Science Today the simple, ordinary action of touching a fingertip on a surface is vastly more complex than we can comprehend: “Our best engineers cannot even conceive of approximating that level of functional coherence, performance, and integration. Not even close.” —J.B.
A light in the darkness
Scientists know that corals in shallow waters glow because they produce fluorescent proteins that act as a sunscreen to prevent them from getting too much sunlight. But they have been baffled as to why deep sea corals, sometimes located as much as 165 meters below the surface, glow when they have no need for protection from the sun.
Now a research study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B has solved the puzzle. Deep sea corals glow for the opposite reason that their shallow water relatives do; they produce special proteins that absorb the little bit of available light to aid the photosynthesis of microscopic algae that live within them.
Corals have a symbiotic relationship with algae. The corals provide the algae with shelter, carbon dioxide, and nutrients and the algae in turn, through photosynthesis, supply the corals with 90 percent of their energy needs.
The researchers found that deep sea corals survive by producing a special type of fluorescent protein that absorbs blue light and turns it into orange-red light, which can penetrate deeper into the coral’s tissue to further assist the algae. —J.B.