Evolution of Feathers and Birds – Naturalistic/Evolutionary Perspective

 

Introduction:

The two most distinctive things about birds are that they can fly and have feathers. But have you ever wondered how feathers evolved? How complex are feathers? Could they have evolved from reptile scales? How long did it take to evolve feathers? What was their use before they enabled the bird to fly? If those are not enough questions, how did the whole bird itself evolve? 

Naturalistic/Evolutionary Answer:

Archaeopteryx-FossilOne of the prevailing theories is that some dinosaurs evolved into birds, so feathers evolved on reptilian dinosaurs. The fossil record gives only small glimpses of that transition. “By analyzing specimens from China, paleontologists have filled in gaps in the fossil record and traced the evolutionary relationships among various dinosaurs. The fossils finally have confirmed, to all but a few skeptics, that birds descended from dinosaurs and are the living representatives of a dinosaur lineage called the Maniraptorans.” Possible transitions from feathered dinosaurs to birds or examples of feathered dinosaurs include: Anchiornis huxleyi, Archaeopteryx, Confuciusornis, Sinosauropteryx, Psittacosaurus, Microraptor, Velociraptor, and more.[i]

“Feathers originate in a skin layer deep under the outer layer that forms scales. It is very unlikely that feathers evolved from reptilian scales, even though that thought is deeply embedded in the minds of too many paleontologists. Feathers probably arose as new structures under and between reptile scales, not as modified scales. Many birds have scales on their lower legs and feet where feathers are not developed, and penguins have such short feathers on parts of their wings that the skin there is scaly for all practical purposes.”[ii]

“Feathers in their most primitive form were single filaments, resembling quills, that jutted from reptilian skin” and started evolving nearly 240 million years ago. “After the emergence of single filaments came multiple filaments joined at the base. Next to appear in the fossil record were paired barbs shooting off a central shaft. Eventually, dense rows of interlocking barbs formed a flat surface: the basic blueprint of the so-called pennaceous feathers of modern birds. All these feather types have been found in fossil impressions of theropods, the dinosaur suborder that includes Tyrannosaurus rex as well as birds and other Maniraptorans.”[iii] One paleontologist says, “it seems that, genetically, it’s not a great trick to make a scale into a filament.”

Though many dinosaurs evolved feathers, the proto-feathers did not evolve for flight as they were not sufficient enough to fly with, but instead may have been useful for insulation, for mating practices, or for camouflage.[iv]

“The thermoregulatory (insulation) theory for the origin of feathers is probably the most widely accepted one today, but it does have problems. Why feathers? Feathers are more complex to grow, more difficult to maintain in good condition, more liable to damage, and more difficult to replace than fur. Every other creature that has evolved a thermoregulatory coat, from bats to bees and from caterpillars to pterosaurs, has some kind of furry cover. There is no apparent reason for evolving feathers rather than fur even for heat shielding.”[v]

It is possible that a fuzzy type of feather coat initially evolved for insulation purposes and very quickly these reptiles used their proto-feathers for dominance in mating situations, in competition for food, and in defense from predators (the display and fighting hypothesis). For these reasons, the more elaborate and longer feathers made these reptiles more impressive, or intimidating, and thus were more fit to survive based on natural selection tendencies. This display of feathers “would have been most effective on movable appendages, such as forearms and tail.”[vi]

As birds evolved from reptilian dinosaurs, the cursorial hypothesis states that the origination of feathers would have helped running dinosaurs gain extra lift for bouncing away from predators or closer to prey. The arboreal hypothesis states that those proto-feathers would have allowed tree climbing and dwelling dinosaurs to glide through the air better. Either way, these proto-feathers allowed dinosaurs to become more efficient at running, jumping, and moving on the ground or through the trees. “The Running Raptor” version of the cursorial hypothesis suggests that this reptile ran through the brush scaring out flying insects to which it would leap after by waving or flapping it’s hands to stay up long enough to catch its prey. From the display hypothesis, the flapping motion would have been impressive and intimidating and these circumstances would naturally lead to the selection of reptiles with stronger pectoral muscles, longer arms, and longer feathers. These features would also be advantageous for fighting as well.[vii]

“Since the last of the non-avian dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago during the mass extinction that closed the curtain on the Cretaceous period, birds have evolved other characteristics that set them apart from dinosaurs. Modern birds have higher metabolisms than even the most agile Velociraptor ever had. Teeth disappeared at some point in birds’ evolutionary history. Birds’ tails got shorter, their flying skills got better and their brains got bigger than those of dinosaurs. And modern birds, unlike their Maniraptoran ancestors, have a big toe that juts away from the other toes, which allows birds to perch. ‘You gradually go from the long arms and huge hands of non-avian Maniraptorans to something that looks like the chicken wing you get at KFC,’ says Sues.”[viii]

As more rocks are turned up, there will be more discoveries clarifying the transitions between reptiles and birds. There is difficulty, though, “partly because birds, then as now, were far less common than fish and invertebrates, and partly because birds more readily evaded mudslides, tar pits, volcanic eruptions and other geological phenomena that captured animals and preserved traces of them for the ages.”[ix] New discoveries are continuing to show links between dinosaurs and birds including the fact that traits specific to birds like “fused clavicles were common in dinosaurs after all. Deinonychus and Velociraptor bones had air pockets and flexible wrist joints. Dinosaur traits were looking more birdlike all the time.”[x]

 

by Brian Mariani and others

 

Is the above correct? Do you evolutionists agree with this position? I have tried to write it as you believe it. Do you have any disagreements or concerns or additions?

 

Before commenting, please read the following disclosures.

Any offensive language will automatically disqualify your comment for publication, even if the arguments contained are good. Please comment on the ideas that are presented and not the presenter.  If your comment becomes an ad hominem argument and does not substantially address the issue, your comment will be disqualified as well.  We are looking for real arguments, not fallacious ones, so that we can present and challenge opposing ideas and arguments as they are truly believed by evolutionists.  We do not want to tear down straw men as well as you do not want to be misrepresented. Also, please keep your comments as brief as possible, and if the majority of the comment does not address the current issue, but becomes a red-herring, it will not be posted as well. If your comment does not fall into one of the above restrictions, then your comment will be posted unedited (you may want to check your spelling, grammar, etc.) We thank you for your time and comments.

One thing to keep in mind, each blog is one piece of evidence. Evidence has to then be interpreted, which is not a fact…but evidence strengthening or weakening a specific hypothesis or theory. So there can be multiple ways of interpreting the same evidence. I am not being unscientific, but asking more questions and being skeptical is being more scientific. I am still working on these, so please help with your comments.



[i] Richard Stone, Dinosaurs’ Living Descendants: China’s spectacular feathered fossils have finally answered the century-old question about the ancestors of today’s birds, December 2010, Smithsonian Magazine, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaurs-living-descendants-69657706/, accessed May 28, 2014.

[ii] Cowen, University of California – Davis, The Origin of Feathers: a Display Hypothesis, http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/HistoryofLife/feathersandflight.html, accessed May 28, 2014.

Cowen, R., and J. H. Lipps. 2000. The origin of feathers and the origin of flight in birds. In Cowen, R., History of Life, 3rd edition, Chapters 13 and 14. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Science.

[iii] Richard Stone, Dinosaurs’ Living Descendants: China’s spectacular feathered fossils have finally answered the century-old question about the ancestors of today’s birds, December 2010, Smithsonian Magazine, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaurs-living-descendants-69657706/, accessed May 28, 2014.

[iv] Lanny and Marilyn Johnson, Dinosaur To Bird?, May 18, 2012, Alpha Omega Institute, http://www.discovercreation.org/documents/DinosaurToBird.htm, accessed May 22, 2014.

[v] Cowen, University of California – Davis, The Origin of Feathers: a Display Hypothesis, http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/HistoryofLife/feathersandflight.html, accessed May 28, 2014.

Cowen, R., and J. H. Lipps. 2000. The origin of feathers and the origin of flight in birds. In Cowen, R., History of Life, 3rd edition, Chapters 13 and 14. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Science.

[vi] Cowen, University of California – Davis, The Origin of Feathers: a Display Hypothesis, http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/HistoryofLife/feathersandflight.html, accessed May 28, 2014.

Cowen, R., and J. H. Lipps. 2000. The origin of feathers and the origin of flight in birds. In Cowen, R., History of Life, 3rd edition, Chapters 13 and 14. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Science.

[vii] Cowen, University of California – Davis, The Origin of Feathers: a Display Hypothesis, http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/HistoryofLife/feathersandflight.html, accessed May 28, 2014.

Cowen, R., and J. H. Lipps. 2000. The origin of feathers and the origin of flight in birds. In Cowen, R., History of Life, 3rd edition, Chapters 13 and 14. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Science.

[viii] Richard Stone, Dinosaurs’ Living Descendants: China’s spectacular feathered fossils have finally answered the century-old question about the ancestors of today’s birds, December 2010, Smithsonian Magazine, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaurs-living-descendants-69657706/, accessed May 28, 2014.

[ix] Richard Stone, Dinosaurs’ Living Descendants: China’s spectacular feathered fossils have finally answered the century-old question about the ancestors of today’s birds, December 2010, Smithsonian Magazine, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaurs-living-descendants-69657706/, accessed May 28, 2014.

[x] Richard Stone, Dinosaurs’ Living Descendants: China’s spectacular feathered fossils have finally answered the century-old question about the ancestors of today’s birds, December 2010, Smithsonian Magazine, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaurs-living-descendants-69657706/, accessed May 28, 2014.

Not all in the Family

 Exhibit Placard at Field Museum in Chicago

I was taught through grade school, high school, and college; increasing brain capacity was evidence of human evolution. They would show pictures of ape like creatures with small skulls and small brains leading up to the more human like creatures with larger skulls and bigger brains.    Touring the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL, a few years ago, I noticed that the teaching hasn’t changed.

As I studied science, and the limitations of science, I discovered this was primarily speculation. There hasn’t been any scientific evidence for Darwinian evolution, or what is sometimes termed macro-evolution.  We do see the Biblical and scientific evidence for a “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” microevolution.  All creatures are pre-programmed with a mind-boggling complex and orderly genetic data and networking system that enables them to adapt to their surroundings (one that even Bill Gates is envious of).  Bacteria are an excellent example of this observational fact.   Bacteria always stay bacteria, but they do exhibit the great ability to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,” by being able to survive in their changing environments.  With these facts in mind, I began to study the variations within living apes and their skulls along with the variations in humans and their skulls.

Apes today have a variance of skulls and brain sizes as follows:  the bonobo has a brain size which ranges from 326-356 cc;  the chimp has a brain size of 350-386 cc; the orangutan from 337-437, and the gorilla has a brain size ranging from 455-525 cc.

Humans also have a huge range and variation in skulls and brain sizes.  Some mentally retarded adults have a brain size of about 511-519 cc.(1) http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v4/n1/cranial

Pygmies have a brain capacity about half of the larger human adult, and so would be about 600-700 cc.

There is a report of a man with a cranial capacity of only 624 cc. His name was Daniel Lyon and he displayed no mental or physical abnormalities.(2) http://creation.com/turkana-boy-getting-past-the-propaganda

Most of the larger human brain sizes range from 950 to 2,200 cc and with a mean cranial capacity of around 1,370cc.(3) http://topics.info.com/Whose-brain-is-larger-Neanderthal-man-or-modern-man_2699

There are people today who live in Australia, Indonesia, and Africa who have Homo erectus like skulls, yet they look perfectly human.(4) http://creation.com/turkana-boy-getting-past-the-propaganda; http://creation.com/how-different-is-the-cranial-vault-thickness-of-homo-erectus-from-modern-man

Below is a common illustration of increasing brain sizes that attempts to show evidence of human evolution.  But this is just speculation.  A scientist can make a similar illustration using creatures which exist today.  Starting with the bonobo with 326-356 cc then evolves into the chimps with a brain size of 350-386 cc.  The next step in this evolutionary scenario is the orangutan with 337-437 cc and then finally the gorilla with the brain capacity of 455-525 cc.  This brings us to the end of the ape evolution.  We do have to remember that species within a kind, or family, are consistently going extinct, so in the past we would have had many more apes to pick from… like the Australopithecines.

Cranial-Capacity-Illustration

In comparing the variations of human skulls we find around the world today, along with their increasing brain capacities, we can also make an evolutionary timeline. Starting with the mentally handicapped with brain capacities as low as 511-519 cc, and then increasing to the pygmies with 600-700 cc.  Evolving upward until we arrive at the larger humans with more consistent brain sizes ranging from 950 to 2,200 cc and with a mean cranial capacity of 1,350-1,370 cc.

Using the variety of apes and humans alive today, we can make a typical textbook illustration that shows the supposed evolution of man’s cranial capacities and we would be 100% wrong.  The advantage we have from studying living organism is that we not only have the hard anatomy to study, but the soft anatomy as well.  With the abundance of scientific research and evidence, we only observe speciation within the ape kind and the human kind, but no evidence of Darwinian evolution.

One of the disadvantages of using fossils is most, if not all, of the soft tissue is missing.  So the vast amount of information is missing, thus leading to increased speculation and the mixing of distinct kinds into an evolutionary jumbled mess.

In the fossil record, we find the human brain capacity ranging from around 900cc on up. Since humans were made on day six of the creation week, all human variations would live within a few thousand years.  So scientists should find some humans with small brains (Homo erectus) and some with bigger brains (Neanderthal).  What is interesting is that we find the same thing today.  Some people have small brains and some people have big brains.  Some people have Homo erectus like skulls and some do not.  Not much has changed over the years.

What makes matters worse for evolutionary theory is the research done by John Hawks, an anthropologist from the University of Wisconsin, that states, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”(5) http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking#.UvaltrQk-So

Another comment from the same article stated, “If our brain keeps dwindling at that rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of that found in Homo erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago and had a brain volume of only 1,100 cc.” (6) http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking#.UvaltrQk-So

It appears that human evolution has peaked in the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man, and we are now in a process of devolution according to these findings.

But the good news is found in an article from Answers in Genesis: “Because man’s cranial capacity is so variable today, it has been shown that there is very little relationship between cranial capacity and human intelligence.”(7) http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v4/n1/cranial

The bottom line is this, different brain sizes and skull shapes have nothing to do with Darwinian evolution or increasing intelligence.  We exhibit different brain sizes and skull shapes in our past and we still have them today.  As we study the evidence today, as well as in the fossil record, we discover we are not all in the same family.  The apes are in the ape family, or kind, and the humans are in the human family, or kind, and each family has a wide range of variation.  God is a very interesting and fascinating God, by creating a complex and orderly genetic information system that enables a huge, and fantastic, variance within each kind, and with all this He clearly displays His glory.

 

Rich Stepanek

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Control and Provision

 

hJust recently, we were blessed by a wonderful gift of money from a family member. We were excited as it added a buffer, some breathing room, as we look towards added expenses with our baby on the way.

The next day, we had to go to the DMV to register our cars in Colorado for the first time since moving here. The DMV, for many, is known for long wait times and over-complicated “simple” transactions. We got there, took our number and waited. We only had to wait for a little bit, and eventually our number was called.

We had both of our cars to register at the same time. The young lady was very helpful and walked us through signing the paperwork. Now, I knew car registration was not cheap, but I figured it wouldn’t be too terrible and that is when the young lady told us about the late fees! Ouch! What a bummer – we thought we were being wise by re-registering last year in our previous states, due to the fact that we were moving half-way across the country and had not settled or established ourselves in Colorado yet.

The late fees really added to the total, but thank God one of our cars wasn’t as late because we didn’t retrieve it until later in the year. As we were waiting at the desk, I realized that I didn’t have any checks with me – I usually have one or two in my wallet.  I also noticed that there was an extra charge for using a credit card. Then I remembered, that envelope of cash from my family member! It covered the entire cost for that day, plus a little more as well. This may just seem like a coincidence to some, or not sound like that big of an issue, but to my wife and I, it was the powerful hand of God providing for us.

We had a professor at Bible College who taught about God’s character and power. I don’t feel like I learned, or remembered, much academically from him during that class, but I do remember him telling story after story of God’s provision for him and his family. That impacted me. I thought, what a better way to live life than to have these challenging experiences and to see God provide and to glorify Him by sharing that with others!

It stills surprises and scares my wife and I that we are missionaries, but let me ask this question: would you rather trust a man, an organization, the government or God for a paycheck?

We thought we were being wise and were trusting God by not registering our cars earlier, and it didn’t seem to work the way we wanted. We worried about it. Why do we worry? Who is in control??? God is in control! God has a better purpose and a better plan than we do, and I think that through His provision for us, God is greater glorified… and that is the goal. We often worry because we don’t want our life to be hard. Who are we living for?

Consider the Words of God:

25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own…

“…Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Matt 6: 25-34, 7:7-11)

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…If God is for us, who is against us? (Rom 8:28, 31b)

 

Brian Mariani

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Is Teaching Creation Child Abuse?

 

Boup5YcCcAEX7PQAn article in Creation Ministries International’s Prayer News (April 2014) caught my eye. It was entitled: “ ‘Teaching creation is child abuse’? A response to rabid atheist claims.” In this well-written article, Gary Bates exposed their tactics and answered their unscientific claims.

Teaching creationism has been called “child abuse” because it is withholding information from children. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Creationists like Bates and those of us at AOI, do not support withholding information about evolution from children. Rather, we advocate teaching them the whole story, helping them to really understand both the scientific method and the evolution model and teaching them to recognize the underlying presuppositions and philosophical implications of the origins debate.  We want students to learn to think critically, to ask good questions, to evaluate data, and to differentiate between facts and assumptions.

We advocate teaching students to distinguish between operational (experimental) science and historical science, and to learn to recognize what type of science is needed for various types of questions. We encourage them to test competing models, to examine the strengths (and weaknesses) of each, and to evaluate how they fit with real, objective evidence. In addition, we encourage them to research and think deeply about the logical and historical consequences of adopting each viewpoint.

It is not creationists, but evolutionists who withhold information from students. From preschool to university, they are taught a one-sided, biased evolutionary worldview. They are not given the opportunity to examine anything else, or even to hear about the weaknesses of the evolution model. God has effectively been banned from the classroom under the guise of “neutrality,” which is not really neutral at all. If anything is intellectual child abuse, this one-sided, biased approach would seem to qualify.

One has to wonder: if teaching creationism is seen as “child abuse,” how long will it be before teaching about God, even at home, will be labeled as such? You think it couldn’t happen? Open your eyes. Think again. In the communist Russia not so long ago, teaching children about God was strictly forbidden and could result in fines, punishment, and removal of children from the home. In some countries today, you can be killed for teaching the Bible to children. We need to wake up and turn the tide, taking a firm stand on the truth of Scripture; teaching children to be wise, discerning, and bold; speaking the truth in love to a lost and confused generation.

(For more information on this topic, check out Creation Ministries International – creation.com.)

 

Mary Jo Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Learn Through Experience

 

There is something spectacular about getting to live what you are learning. I didn’t think much about that until the years I spent working at a Christian Living History Camp in California. Each day as my fellow guides and I stepped into costume and into character, we experienced both history and ministry from a firsthand perspective. And that experience wasn’t limited to ourselves – we were privileged to provide countless 4th grade campers and their parents with that same unique opportunity.

Panning for GoldWe were blessed to watch as campers, who had been learning about the California Gold Rush for months, were able to practically live history with us. We got to watch their excitement at finding gold in the river, and their disappointment when they realized that it truly wasn’t an easy task. We encouraged them to think outside of their normal lives and consider what the lives of California miners were like. And best of all, we got to do all this away from their “comfort zone,” which for many of them consisted mostly of indoor activities, cement, video games, and comfort drawn from the fact that they knew the nearest Starbucks was less than five minutes away (yes, we definitely drew the parents out of their comfort zones as well as the kids!). In fact, the crux of our ministry at Rock-N-Water was, and is, founded on the basis of getting kids (and parents) out into creation….experiencing God through adventures in His creation, that through witnessing firsthand what He has made, they might see Him more clearly.

Yellowstone 1My experience at Rock-N-Water Christian camp has laid the foundation for me to be very excited about the camping ministry we have and are continuing to develop here at AOI. Our summer camps and tours offer the opportunity for youth, families, kids, and everyone in between to get out and experience Gods creation while being strengthened in their faith through amazing, and even life-changing creation science teaching. We are excited to be able to provide the chance to get out and see what God has made, as well as to provide the background pieces of scientific information that will allow people to see the beauty of creation with new eyes.

While this information is powerful and impactful in any setting, I personally feel strongly that there is a unique power and impact when it’s coupled with the chance to observe the evidence of the beauty and majesty of God’s creation.

As guests of AOI’s summer adventures “discover creation,” my prayer (along with all of us at AOI) is that they will be spurred on to “worship the Creator” who has divinely orchestrated a world scarred by catastrophe brought on by sin to still exhibit a breathtaking display of beauty.

It’s not too late to register for AOI’s summer Creation Adventures. Take a look and give us a call. We pray that you and your family are able to take advantage of this opportunity, and that you are mightily blessed!

 

Aimee Mariani

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Microscopic Structure of Tears

 

hI was alerted to a photographic study, which I managed to find on the web, regarding the microscopic structure of dried human tears. Rose-Lynn Fisher, the photographer, wondered if various tear types dry into different patterns. It appears at first glance that tears of joy yield a different pattern from tears from onions, tears from grief, or just normal tears which continually lubricate the eye.

Although I had never considered that one teardrop might differ from another, it does make some sense. After all, tears released during extreme grief would likely contain different hormones that the body releases compared to those released during times of great joy. If someone gives you an unexpected check for $1000 or when you see a couple getting married, “joy” hormones could be released which would affect the chemical makeup of the tear. Hence, the different chemical properties would cause a different crystalline structure upon drying.

Although the study at this point is quite interesting, I would not say it is in any way conclusive and even Fisher makes no claims. Various temperatures of drying, humidity, etc. could make a difference on the crystalline structure. However, this is how scientific investigation begins. It involves an idea, getting preliminary results, refining the process, and then doing serious controlled investigation. If the results can be shown to be consistent, then perhaps it could later find its way into medical research in determining the state of a person, which might contribute to medical issues, diagnosis, and remedies.

I wonder what someone would think if they accidentally wandered into the research lab and noticed various individuals crying with joy while others are sobbing from deep emotional turmoil, and still others choking on fresh peeled onions.

For more information and various pictures see: The Microscopic Structures of Dried Human Tears from Smithsonian.com

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

What I learned on Father’s Day!

 

So Father’s Day has now come and gone and we haven’t had our baby yet (due in about a week and a half). At church, as well as from friends and family, I received comments saying “happy father’s day…almost” or “happy almost father’s day” and then some not even acknowledging me as a father. I have to admit, I think I may have said that to people in the past who were at that time just expecting.

Now it is natural to think that since we don’t have a baby yet, that we aren’t parents. I think this understanding also comes from our cultural context too. That is the point, things in our culture influence us often in very small ways – more often and in more ways than we realize.

For example, even if I am experiencing some pain, I don’t like taking medicine or even going to the doctor. I tend to grit my teeth and say, “people throughout history didn’t use medicine, they just dealt with it…and so can I.” And granted we do need sometimes to be wary about the chemicals or side-effects of medicines, but they can be helpful and necessary as well. I finally realized that my preconceived notions of ancient man were influenced by evolutionary thinking. I was actually picturing cave men never going to the doctor or the dentist. But cave men were humans possibly moving from one city to another (many maybe dispersing from Babel – which was a huge engineering project). Adam was created intelligent and able to walk with God. Humans have always been intelligent, possibly knowing a great deal about natural remedies and medicines.

hBack to my point, we consider a 3-month old as being 3 months old, but he/she is actually closer to 12 months old. A baby in the womb is alive no matter how long they have been there, but parts of our culture claim this not to be the case. God knows us as a person before we even are a physical person! (see verse 16 below) Sometimes making a change in our culture requires a shift in our own thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs. Let’s not forget to stop and ask…”what does God (the Bible) say about ———- ?“

 

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

                                                Psalm 139:13-16

 

My wife and I are already parents. Leadership (parenting) takes personal preparation. Parenting is going to take on a whole new meaning for us in a couple weeks and again in a couple of years, but it has already started for us, even if that is simply… just talking to the baby, singing to the baby, feeling the baby move, preparing doctor appointments and insurance, getting “baby stuff”, practicing loving each other as an example to our children, praying, or studying God’s Word on His will and how to manage – everything. Actually that doesn’t sound that simple, but God is gracious to help. Praise God for His plan as everything is connected (even as our pastor taught that discipline is not just about fixing the behavior at the moment but about life-long instruction).

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.                                                                      Eph. 6:4

Even as we are still awaiting the birth of our baby, my wife and I fully celebrated my first father’s day, including special homemade muffins, burgers on the grill, and adventures at the park. We truly are soooo blessed by your support and encouragement and by God’s great provision! PRAISE GOD and Happy Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to all of those who were with child this year!

 

P.S. I hope you don’t get tired of hearing about us and our young family life…I have a feeling that we will be learning quite a lot this year! Thanks!

 

-Brian Mariani

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Preparing

 

Currently, my wife and I are preparing for the birth of our first child. In fact, I feel like this whole year has been one of preparation with researching for books, blogs, and PowerPoint presentations, as well as planning and preparing for the inaugural class of the Discover Creation Training Institute, Lord willing, in August 2015.

It has all been a challenge, but we are doing our best to prepare for the baby, ministry projects, and…everything…for the rest of our lives…Ha!

Prepare!

I was curious and so I typed “prepare” in a search of the Bible, and found that that word appears 174 times in the NASB. Many instances refer to the preparing of food or lodging, often for guests, or preparing for battle, or preparing to go to the temple and offer sacrifices. Preparation often goes hand in hand with being diligent, well-intentioned and wise.

God’s plan and God’s will are clearly shown in how he has wisely prepared and planned out all of creation and human history. He prepared a perfect creation for mankind, unfortunately Adam and Eve sinned… but God was prepared. He prepared the skins of an animal as the first sacrifice to cover their sin. (Genesis 3) He knew mankind would continue to become more and more wicked and consequently helped Noah and his family in preparing to survive the flood. God sought out Abraham and his descendants and prepared the way their family would move – even to Egypt – and then God prepared the way out of Egypt for that same family (now the Israelites). Since then, God has prepared the way for Old Testament judges, heroes, kings, and prophets to do His will.

Matthew 11:10 explains that John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy from Malachi 3:1, speaking of the messenger before Christ,  by saying – “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way before You.”  Many of Jesus’ parables explain how the master prepares dinners and wedding feasts, which were analogous to His Kingdom,  and exhorts us in the process that we need to be prepared! Prepare yourself and others for the battle of this life, in preparation for the next life, the enemy wants to take as many captive by vain philosophies and empty deceit as possible. (see Colossians 2:8)

As we prepare for our new baby and our new ministry with AOI, I am excited! And the baby and ministry are not the only exciting things. Check out these EXCITING promises from God’s Word:

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  John 14:1-6

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things [wicked things], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.  2 Timothy 2:21 (clarification added)

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.  Hebrews 11:3

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:16

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 1:13

Brian Mariani

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Getting over our fears

 

As many of you know, my wife Sue was diagnosed with cancer in the small intestine.  When we first heard the news, we and the doctors were very concerned about the severity of the cancer.  There was a chance the cancer had already spread to the other organs.  Thoughts of living without Sue went through my mind.  These thoughts were unbearable.  The surgery went very well and the doctors were confident they removed all the cancer, but then there was the recovery.  The recovery was worse than I expected.  Sue had about six months of pain, weight lose, and digestive problems.   On top of all that, she had some complications, and two weeks ago had to undergo major surgery to fix these complications.

Reflecting on the past six months with the fear of losing my wife and the pain she was enduring, I realized this would all be for a season.  I knew one day we would be together again and she would have no more pain. Then I thought about the unbeliever.  If a person has not trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior, he will live forever in a place of misery and be eternally separated from the Creator.  This was a thought too scary to entertain.  I then read a couple of Scriptures where God weeps, and two of these times it was over the unbeliever.  God weeps over the broken relationships caused by sin and the rejection by the unbeliever of His free gift of salvation.  God longs for a relationship with all people.

hThen I realized I was part of the problem.  I was scared, and sometimes reluctant, to witnesses to others.  People need to know about the free gift! And how will they know if someone does not tell them!  It was time for me to overcome these fears and tell others.  After spending so much time in the hospital, I decided to witness to the nurses.  I was surprised to see the hunger that they had to know the truth.  One nurse said he believed God had brought us to the ICU just for him.  He was struggling with many issues and creation and salvation was just what he needed to hear.

John  4:35 –  “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (KJV)

This statement is so true, the fields are white, but we need laborers.

 

Rich Stepanek

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

A Spiritual Battleground

 

In April, I was invited by Master Plan Ministries  to speak on the Auraria campus in downtown Denver. The Auraria campus is the home of Metro State College, University of Colorado Denver, Community College of Denver and approximately 40,000 students. Auraria is the largest campus in Colorado and has a very sizeable international student population from some of the most closed nations in the world.

I was invited to speak on the “hot” topic of Creation at the weekly evening meeting (AMP). I shared with a larger than usual crowd on “Is the Bible Scientifically Accurate?,” which received a good response and lots of one-on-one Q&A time after the meeting.

Jesse and ScottDuring this evening meeting, Scott (a staff member with Master Plan) invited everyone to the talks I would be doing the next day at the science building on campus … “Age of the Earth”, “Hand of God”, and Miracle of Life.”

Scott went on to share, “Today, as Jesse (Director of Master Plan Ministries, Auraria campus) and I were hanging up posters for this event, we had a professor come up and say, ‘No offense, but I will be tearing all these posters down.’ We respectfully responded explaining that we have a right to put posters up as a club and asked that he not tear them down.”

Master Plan had been doing many Creation events at the science building and advertising them with posters … the posters kept disappearing! After taking the science professor to task, the posters have remained after posting. It would seem that an “unbiased” scientist was not so unbiased after all.

While on campus I saw many posters advertising many events and functions – from different religions, alternative life-styles, benefits of drug use, abortion clinics, etc. All of these were tolerated. Yet any mention of the Bible and Creation is considered intolerable by some!

Please pray for the truth of the Word of God to be delivered to the campus through the staff and volunteers at Master Plan Ministries. They are on a spiritual battleground!

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.