Archive of items from Evidence News

U.N. pledge to stamp out superbugs, according to BBC News 21 September 2016. The 193 countries of the United Nations are planning “a landmark declaration to rid the world of drug-resistant infections or ‘superbugs’”. Infectious diseases that are resistant to treatment are becoming a serious problem throughout the world, and medical authorities warn that some infections could become untreatable with current medicines. According to the BBC “The problem has been caused by over-use of antimicrobial medicines for humans, animals and agriculture. Repeated exposure allows bacteria and other infections, including HIV and malaria, to learn how to dodge these treatments by mutating and evolving”. The UN declaration commits governments to surveillance and regulation of antibiotic use, education on uses of antibiotics, and support for new drug development and diagnostic processes.


Editorial Comment: Finding ways to make more effective use of antibiotics and developing new drugs are good things for the UN to invest in, but they will not be able to rid the world of antibiotic resistance. The reason is simple: resistance did not evolve in response to human use of antibiotic drugs. Antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon that already existed before the mass use of antibiotics, and the rise of the modern superbug is the result of strong human selection, not evolution. Superbugs are simply those bacteria that have survived after non-resistant bacteria were wiped out. That doesn’t mean the UN shouldn’t invest in controlling antibiotic resistance, but they should not call it evolution when it is not.

We predict that scientists will get better results if they researched it from a Biblical perspective, i.e. bacteria, with all their functions, including antibiotic resistance (which originally had a good and beneficial purpose), were created in a fully functioning state to work a good world, but they and the environment have now degenerated, so we need to understand how they work, what has gone wrong, and how we can work with it to minimise resistant microbes causing disease. (Ref. microbiology, medicine, health)

Evidence News vol. 16, No. 19
26 October 2016
Creation Research Australia


Flowers give microbes, according to ScienceDaily 6 September 2016 and Microbial Ecology 2016; doi: 10.1007/s00248-016-0838-1. Scientists in USA have found that flowers not only provide bees with nectar and pollen, they are also a “hot spot of transmission of bacteria that end up in the microbiome of wild bees”. Picking up germs from flowers may sound bad for bees, but it is actually a good thing.

The “microbiome” is the community of microbes that live as harmless commensals in the bee’s gut and on other internal and external body surfaces. A healthy microbiome is essential for the good health of the individual that hosts them. Each new generation of bees needs to acquire these “good bacteria” during their larval stage. Social bees, who live in a hive, get their microbes from other bees and hive surfaces, but many species of wild bees live solitary lives, with each female making a nest for her own young and supplying them with nectar and pollen. These bees must have some other means of keeping up the supply of good bacteria. These useful bacteria are found in many places in the environment and flowers collect them from wind blowing them in, or from tiny insects like thrips, and then transmit them to bees via their nectar and pollen.

To see if wild bees were obtaining useful microbes from flowers Quinn McFrederick of University of California Riverside and colleagues set up pieces of wood with small holes in them that would make suitable nesting sites for wild bees, and placed them in fields of wild flowers. When bees nested, the researchers collected the bees, then analysed the microbiomes of the adult and larval bees in the pollen they were carrying and storing. The researchers also collected flowers from the fields and analysed the microbes found in them. They found the same bacteria in both the bees and flowers, and concluded that the flowers were acting as transmission hubs for the bacteria, and that this is important for maintaining bee health.

One of the shared kinds of bacteria they found was Lactobacillus. These bacteria are used by people for making foods such as sourdough bread and pickles. The UC Riverside researchers suggest the Lactobacillus bacteria are important in preserving pollen and nectar stored by the bees to feed their larvae.


Editorial Comment: The health of wild bee microbiomes may seem a rather obscure topic for research, but wild bees are just as important as the more familiar honeybees and bumblebees for pollinating plants, and therefore feeding the world and keeping the world’s ecosystems functioning. It is also a good reminder that even in today’s world, most microbes are helpful rather than harmful, and are actually essential for life.

Having flowers act as hubs for collecting and transmitting useful bacteria is another example of the brilliant way plants, animals and microbes work together with multiple ways of supporting one another. This is real evidence of clever design by the loving intelligent Creator, who made a very good world of fully functioning living things working together in tight-knit fully functioning interactive ecosystems.

The living world really works by co-operation, not competition and struggle. Life only became a struggle after man sinned against his Creator and God cursed the ground as part of the judgement on sin. Nevertheless, the living world mostly continues to function by working together and using the good functioning systems built in by the Creator. It is also good to learn that flowers have another function, along with providing nectar, pollen and warmth for insects, and food and beauty for human beings. (Ref. ecology, microbiology, insects)

Evidence News vol. 16, No. 19
26 October 2016
Creation Research Australia


Oldest bird vocal organ found, according to reports in BBC News, ABC News, and ScienceDaily and Nature, 2016 DOI: 10.1038/nature19852, published online 12 October 2016. Birds make sounds using an organ named a syrinx, which is located at the junction of the trachea and the two main bronchi down in the bird’s chest. This structure is unique to birds, and is not found in other air breathing vertebrates.

An international group of scientists from USA, China and Argentina have studied a fossil bird named Vegavis iaai, which was found in Vega Island in Antarctica. The researchers used computerised tomography (CT) x-ray scans on the fossil to reveal its three dimensional structure and found it had syrinx structure similar to living birds. To confirm this they studied CT X-ray scans of 12 kinds of living birds. The fossil is dated as Late Cretaceous, 66 to 69 million years ago, making it the oldest fossil bird with evidence of a syrinx.

This finding has led to speculation about when the bird vocal organ evolved. Birds are claimed to have evolved from dinosaurs, but no evidence of a structure like a syrinx has been found in a dinosaur fossil. Julia Clarke, a palaeontologist at University of Texas, who led the study, commented: “This finding helps explain why no such organ has been preserved in a non-bird dinosaur or crocodile relative. This is another important step to figuring out what dinosaurs sounded like as well as giving us insight into the evolution of birds”. The researche team wrote in their report: “The new data shows the fossilization potential of the avian vocal organ and beg the question why these remains have not been found in other dinosaurs”.

ABC, BBC, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Talk about a triumph of ideology over observation, and a demonstration of how useless evolutionary theory is to real science. The actual observations here are: a fossilized bird syrinx; some living birds, all with syrinxes; and dinosaur fossils and living reptiles without syrinxes.

Since this fossil is a fully formed bird, note well that this finding will not give any insights into the evolution of birds. The answer to the question posed by the researchers about why remains of avian vocal organs have not been found in dinosaurs is simply because dinosaurs are not birds, and we predict time will continue to affirm this!

The only provable scientific conclusions that can be drawn from this study are that birds have had fully formed syrinxes from the time this fossil was formed, and they still do, and reptiles, including dinosaurs, do not have them.

Now note how these observations fit Genesis, which tells us that both birds and dinosaurs were created as unrelated fully formed creatures, each to reproduce after their own kind. Dinosaurs as well as many birds have become extinct, but until they died out they were separate and distinct life forms, and no-one has observed one turn into the other, nor found any evidence they did. (Ref. ornithology, reptiles, fossils)

Evidence News vol. 16, No. 19
26 October 2016
Creation Research Australia


Oldest fossils found, claim scientists, according to reports in BBC News, Science (AAAS) News and Nature News 31 August 2016, and Nature (2016) doi:10.1038/nature19355 published online 31 August 2016. Australian and British scientists studying a rock formation named the Isua supracrustal belt (ISB) in Greenland claim to have found the oldest fossils on earth. They wrote: “Here we report evidence for ancient life from a newly exposed outcrop of 3,700 Myr old metacarbonate rocks in the ISB that contain 1-4 cm high stromatolites - macroscopically layered structures produced by microbial communities”.

Stromatolites are multi-layered structures of limestone mineral grains laid down by mats of microbes, forming dome shaped structures described in the Nature News article as looking like “geological cauliflowers”. The Greenland formations show the same multi-layered structures with peaks and domes just like living stromatolites.

Martin van Kranendonk explained: “We see the original unaltered sedimentary layers, and we can see how the stromatolite structures grow up through the sedimentary layering. And we can see the characteristic dome and cone-shaped forms of modern stromatolites”. According to Science News “The shapes are set against a distinctive background in the rock with a different texture and chemical makeup, the team reports. Further analyses of rare-earth elements suggest that the rocks were deposited in shallow ocean waters - just like modern microbial mats made by bacteria living in today’s oceans”.

The researchers went on to claim “The ISB stromatolites predate by 220 Myr the previous most convincing and generally accepted multidisciplinary evidence for oldest life remains in the 3,480 Myr old Dresser Formation of the Pilbara Craton, Australia”.

Martin van Kranendonk commented to the BBC: “This helps us think about how life developed on Earth, how fast that process was. It pushes everything back a little further, narrows the window between when we know nothing, and when we begin to know something”.

BBC, Nature, Science

Editorial Comment: Drat! This editor has specimens from the previously ‘oldest’ Dresser formation, so we have been outclassed by the new find. This discovery tells us nothing about how life developed on earth. If these formations were laid down by the same cyanobacteria as today’s stromatolites, it is evidence that such microbes were fully formed and functioning whenever these stromatolites were made. Furthermore, time for evolutionists to fess up – these ‘really old’ rocks provide no evidence the stromatolite microbes have evolved from or into any other form of life because stromatolites with the same structure are still living today.

The best known examples of living stromatolites are in Shark Bay Western Australia and are classic examples of “living fossils”, a term coined by Charles Darwin for creatures whose living representatives show no evidence of evolution. In fact such creatures truly are evidence that living things have reproduced after their kinds, just as Genesis says Christ the Creator made them to do. (Ref. palaeontology, fossilisation, microbiology)

Evidence News vol. 16, No. 19
26 October 2016
Creation Research Australia


Three way lichens found, according to reports in ScienceDaily 21 July 2016, Science News videos 28 July 2016 and Science, 2016, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf8287. Lichens are the classic example of symbiosis, and have long been recognised as being a combination of two separate and distinct organisms combining to make a single functioning entity. Lichens consist of algae or cyanobacteria combined with a fungus. The algae and cyanobacteria are photosynthetic (like plants), and produce food, while the fungus provides structure and protection.

Although the specific fungi and algae that jointly form lichens have been separately identified, the Science editorial summary comments “lichen growth forms cannot be recapitulated in the laboratory by culturing the plant and fungal partners together”. Furthermore, lichens consisting of the same fungus and algae can have very different forms, but scientists did not know why. For example a lichen named Bryoria tortuosa is yellow and produces vulpinic acid, whilst Bryoria fremontii is dark brown and does not produce acid, in spite of consisting of genetically identical algae and fungi with the same pattern of gene expression.

Researchers at the University of Montana and Purdue University have carried out a study of 52 genera of lichens from all over the world, and concluded that lichens are actually a three way symbiosis, with a basidiomycete yeast, forming the third partner. The yeasts are embedded in the cortex, the outer layer of the lichen, and the variation in yeasts correlates with the variation in form of the lichens with the same fungus and alga.

One of the researchers, Catherine Aime, an expert in fungi at Purdue University, commented: “This discovery overturns our longstanding assumptions about the best-studied symbiotic relationship on the planet. These yeasts comprise a whole lineage that no one knew existed, and yet they are in a variety of lichens on every continent as a third symbiotic partner. This is an excellent example of how things can be hidden right under our eyes and why it is crucial that we keep studying the microbial world”.

ScienceDaily, Science

Editorial Comment: Everybody knew lichens were two, but now they are three! Amazing! Even the finding that three organisms are combined in a way that thus far we have not been able to get any of the components to combine on their own is amazing, especially when you add the fact that this enables them to live and function in many places including where other life forms find it very hard to survive.

Lichens are a good reminder that the living world really works by co-operation, not competition, and the more we study the living world the more examples of symbiosis, mutualism and other forms of co-operation we find. It is very hard to explain how this combination of organisms into a functional whole could have come about by struggle and random processes. However, it is exactly what you would expect given the world was created by a sovereign loving Creator who designed a very good world of fully functional life forms and ecosystems that worked right from the beginning, and who in His knowledge pre-designed them for a world that would degenerate until survival in extreme climates was a must.

This study also reminds us there is a lot we still have to learn about the living world, but we safely predict scientists will find out even more if they look at the world in the light of Biblical history, i.e. an original good, complex and mutually supportive creation, followed by loss of complexity and degeneration resulting death and struggle. (Ref. ecology, symbiosis, microbes)

Evidence News vol. 16, No. 18 19 October 2016 Creation Research Australia