Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sense and Smell

Today's Creation Moment: 
Sense and Smell
Leviticus 3:5
 And Aaron's sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.

What determines the sort of smells that we like and dislike? Is it nature or nurture? Do we like the smells of the environment, in which we were brought up, or are our likes and dislikes inherited from previous generations?
White mouseScientists at the University of Campinas in Brazil have done some interesting work on the subject. The olfactory sense is by far the most complex of our senses. Our eyes basically work with three kinds of sensors, arranged around the three primary colors. Taste involves 49 different receptors, but can be approximated by five primary tastes. However, the number of different olfactory sensors numbers into the thousands, with at least ten primary scents—though there could be more.
Brazilian scientists showed, as expected, that the construction of the olfactory sensors in the noses of laboratory mice was mostly determined by genetics. However, they placed genetically different mice in similar olfactory environments, and genetically similar mice in differently smelling environments, to see if environmental characteristics had any influence on these receptors. They did. The genetic factor was the most important, but there was a significant difference between receptors in genetically similar mice placed in different environments.
It is interesting that, in the Bible prayer is likened to an aroma ascending to the Lord. This is the reason for much of the symbolism of aromatic sacrifices, both from the smell of cooking, and from the scent produced by skilled perfumers. God desires an environment of sweet-smelling prayer for us, and this is clearly the best environment for us to be in.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Scuba Gear for Bacteria

Scuba Gear for Bacteria

Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high.
~Job 21:22

Biotechnology may be a new word to you. It’s a relatively new science. Biotechnology is the science of engineering custom-made life forms. For example, biotechnologists can add to a bacterium the gene that makes fireflies glow. This procedure gives the bacterium the ability to glow.
Firefly illuminated by self-emitted lightToday, many engineered bacteria have been designed. They make medicines, hormones, enzymes and even food products. As biotechnologists are learning more about how to custom-design bacteria, they are able to make bacteria that are better able to do their assigned jobs. The efficiency of bacteria in doing their jobs can be affected by how efficiently they use their food and how much  oxygen they need. Getting enough oxygen to bacteria growing in  vats is often a challenge.
Biotechnologists have now discovered a bacterium that does well in low-oxygen situations. It can get by with periods of lower oxygen because it makes hemoglobin, the same molecule that carries oxygen in our blood. The bacterium uses the hemoglobin much like scuba gear to help it breathe. Biotechnologists have successfully added the hemoglobin gene to bacteria to make an enzyme used in the commercial production of high-fructose corn syrup. As a result of their increased efficiency, these bacteria are now able to make twice as much enzyme.
Even so-called “simple” living things are a symphony of carefully designed abilities. Modern science is revealing that they are intelligently designed by our Creator.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Amphipod's Unique Escape

The Amphipod's Unique Escape

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 
~James 4:7

The hunted are smart to stay downwind of the hunter. Many predators hunt using scent, at least in part. The same principle works in water. Many predators smell chemicals given off by their Amphipodprey and use that scent to help them locate their prey. If you were a predator in a stream you would be smart to stay downstream from your prey. The prey won't smell you. In addition, you might be able to smell him if he gets too close.
Amazingly, the little shrimp-like amphipod seems to be able to smell predators even downstream. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have discovered that amphipods can even smell a brown trout downstream and try to avoid it. Scientists designed an artificial stream that divided into two branches. Down one branch was a brown trout, while no predator waited down the other branch. Then amphipods were placed upstream of the branch and allowed to go downstream. When the amphipods came to the branch, they avoided the branch with the trout. To check whether the amphipods were actually smelling scents from downstream, researchers put trout scents in the downstream water. This was enough to cause the amphipods to avoid that branch. Yet, when trout were placed in one of the downstream branches in glass tubes, keeping their scent from entering the water, the amphipods did not respond to the sight of the trout.
We, too, are being hunted as prey by the devil and his forces. We would do well to learn how to sense where the devil lies in wait for us, and like the amphipods, flee from him.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Human Speech Itself Glorifies God

Human Speech Itself Glorifies God
Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
~Proverbs 17:7
Several different animals communicate on a limited basis with one another. But human speech is unique, leaving those who believe in evolution perplexed. The very oldest human fossils show the bony structures needed to support speech. Evolutionists will admit, in a candid moment, that they have no idea how speech 
Endoscopic inage of an inflamed human larynxcould have evolved. One modern researcher said they have only "inferences based on hunches."
Some scientists have observed that human beings come with the built-in ability to learn and speak. While this idea is not popular among evolutionists, it is supported by the unique structure of the human vocal tract. No other creature has anything like it. The human larynx is placed low in the throat. That placement creates a sound chamber that allows us to make language expressive. Moreover, the placement prevents us from breathing and eating or drinking at the same time. But we are not born that way. A newborn's larynx is placed higher up in the throat, allowing a baby to breathe and suckle at the same time. By the time a child is six,and has no need to suckle and breathe at the same time, but is learning language, the larynx has moved to its adult position.
This obviously designed arrangement in support of human speech presents only more problems for the evolutionist. But for those who believe in our Creator God, it is one more testimony of His wise handiwork.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Not Every Gift Has Value

Not Every Gift Has Value

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
~Romans 6:23

Human bridegrooms are not the only males who give gifts to their intended. The birds and the flies do it, too. On a previous program we talked about how the bower bird woos his potential mate by Dance flybuilding a hut for her and decorating it with bright objects.
The dance fly presents its intended with a gift, the gift is essentially worthless. The courtship takes place early in the morning as the males swarm. Each courting male carries what looks like a balloon in its back legs. These shiny balloons are only a few millimeters in diameter. As far as we know they are of no value to the female, being made of nothing more than the male's saliva. That may be why the females do not necessarily select the males with the largest balloon. Why did God build this behavior into the dance fly? Perhaps it reflects nothing more than the incredible creativity and variety that God built into His creation. 
Or perhaps it was to remind us that not every gift has value so that we would be doubly thankful for His good gifts to us. And His greatest gift to us was the life, death and Resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Learn of God's Loving Provision

Learn of God's Loving Provision

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. 

A number of species of fish live, apparently comfortably, in Antarctic waters as cold as the freezing temperature of sea water, which is a couple of degrees colder than fresh water. This presents us with several mysteries. First, cold slows down the chemistry necessary for life. At these temperatures, life's 
Ocellated Icefishchemistry all but stops. Second, from a creation perspective, how could fish created to live in a perfect, warm, comfortable world be able to live in an environment that makes life seemingly impossible? A team of biologists from Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station have found some remarkable answers to these questions.
The biologists studied an enzyme found in many creatures that changes a compound called pyruvate into lactate within the muscles. In the Antarctic fish this enzyme appears to help this conversion take place at speeds usually only found in warmer creatures. It seems that the cold-water fish have a slight modification of this common enzyme that allows the enzyme to work more quickly, despite the cold. And yes, researchers have also found the same modified version of the enzyme in a South American warm water species. It appears that God's foreknowledge of what would become of His once perfect world, and His desire to provide for His creatures, led Him to give this special version of this enzyme to creatures of His choosing. If God provides so wisely for fish, will He not provide for you and me, for whom His only Son died?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Species Confusion May Kill Ape-Man

Species Confusion May Kill Ape-Man

Genesis 1:26
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 

Traditional evolutionists theorize that Homo habilis evolved into Homo erectus, who evolved into Homo sapiens. Some evolutionists now want to reclassify Homo erectus as a primitive form of Homo sapiens. A debate about the definition of "species" may remove Homo erectus from the human evolutionary tree.
Homo erectus from Tautavel, FranceThose who don't want to abolish the Homo erectus classification have been supporting their position by emphasizing the differences between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens. Homo erectus has a considerably smaller brain than Homo sapiens. These creatures also had larger teeth and heavier limb bones. Scientists who want to keep the classification conclude that Homo erectus' characteristics are quite distinct from Homo sapiens'. Those who want to reclassify Homo erectus as Homo sapiens want to blur the differences that we generally use to discern between humans and apes. We need to ask, if evolutionists cannot define a species, how do they know when a new one evolves?
How different is Homo erectus? Dubois, who discovered the first fossils that are today recognized as Homo erectus, finally concluded that the fossils were only the remains of a large gibbon. Dubois had promoted the fossils as those of "ape men" for decades, before reversing his position.
The Bible leaves no room for so-called ape-men. Today's human beings are not improved ape-men, nor was Jesus Christ, Who became a man to carry our sins so that we might be forgiven and restored to God.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Birds Do Mental Time Travel

Birds Do Mental Time Travel
"And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:     ~Matthew 13:4
Episodic memory, the ability to remember something that happened in the past is called mental time travel. It has long been thought that only humans are capable of episodic memory. New research suggests that some birds are also capable of mental time travel.
Western scrub jayResearchers gave captive Western scrub jays wax worms, one of their favorite foods. As they usually do, the jays made their selections and hid the worms in the trays of sand provided. Five days later, the birds were allowed to recover their treats. The jays discovered that after the five days, the worms had begun to decay. The researchers fooled a second batch of jays by replacing their decayed worms with fresh worms just before the birds were allowed to find their treats. Then both batches of birds were again allowed to take and hide a choice of worms. Those birds that had had experience with the decayed worms, would no longer take new worms to hide. But the birds that had been fooled took the worms and buried them, still expecting them to be good later. In other words, the birds remembered what happened in the past and adjusted their behavior. Other tests offered similar results.
God has given all His creatures the abilities they need to make a living without regard to where those creatures are on the manmade evolutionary ladder.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Relax

Relax

Genesis 6:3
And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Before the Flood, people were living hundreds of years. As man grew more evil, God declared that man's lifespan would be reduced to 120 years. Modern biology has learned that we do indeed have built-in timers in each of our cells that limit the number of times they can divide. When enough cells can no longer divide, 
Human chromosomes (grey) capped by telomeres (whitewe die. We can even do things to speed up the timers.
The timers are called telomeres. However, every time a cell divides, a small part of each telomere is lost. When these telomeres are worn down to nothing, the cell no longer divides and soon dies. Researchers studied 58 healthy women between the ages of 20 and 50. All the women had children, but 39 of them had a child that was seriously chronically ill. Stress levels were measured through questionnaires while blood samples provided information about their cell health. Among other things, scientists checked for levels of an enzyme that maintains the health of telomeres. The mothers who saw their stress levels as high proved to have much shorter telomeres than those who reported little stress. They reported that cells from stressed women had telomeres that were as short as unstressed women ten years older.
Scripture tells us to cast all our cares on the Lord. Among the many blessings of doing so are healthy telomeres.

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PO Box 839
Foley, MN. 56329

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

GECKOS DON’T NEED FLASHLIGHTS

Geckos Don't Need Flashlights
Psalm 146:8
The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous:
You get up early. The illumination isn't very good, you put on your socks anyway, only to find out, in the light of day, that you have one blue and one gray sock on. That's because our eyes have cone cells to detect color, as well as rod cells that are sensitive to light, but cannot see color. So, as the light level 
Gecko (not the hooded gecko).becomes lower, we have a decreasing ability to detect colors.
Not so with the hooded gecko. Based on their study of gecko eyes, some scientists wondered whether they could see in the dark. To test this, they made cards with a checkerboard pattern of blues and grays. Geckos were then trained to take crickets labeled with one of the cards. Then, when they offered the geckos crickets labeled with a blue card, they rewarded with the expected cricket. Crickets labeled with gray cards were made bad-tasting by being placed in salt water. During these tests the light level was so low that researchers could not tell the difference between colors. However, the geckos took the crickets labeled with blue cards more than twice as often, proving that they could see the color differences.
While we marvel at God's unlimited creativity in providing for His creatures needs, we see this truth by faith. Faith also shows us that God redeemed us through His Son.