Friday, January 15, 2010

Bad bed bugs more benign, but Alliterating "Boninite" Confounding

Yo y'all.

Just a couple of brief items today as I peek at the most recent issue of Science News, January 16, 2010. Both items are reminders and corroboration of longstanding creationist talking points.

First item relates to the resurrected bedbug population in the USA. Today's newbie generation has likely never heard the old grunt generation's oft-heard "Sleep tight, and don't let the bedbugs bite" - unless the young'uns are enrolled to live on campus at a university. It seems the increasingly international student population in US universities has brought stowaway bed bugs galore from around the world in luggage and clothing. Maybe the upside of the high-resolution airport body scanners would be to detect lurking bedbugs in an incoming visitor's underwear - or wherever.

Anyway ... in the Science News article "Dry ice in a jug attracts bedbugs", (Science News, January 16, 2010, p.8), ends a very humorous yet interesting article with this:
"In North America, bed bugs are back after being dead for decades. 'We have lterally skipped a generation of knowledge with this pest,' said Stephen Kells of the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.
Long-ago studies may not help control today's pesticide-resistant strains coddled by centraol hating, said Andrea Polanco-Pinzon of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. But on the bright side, the modern strain she studies doesn't live as long without feeding as strains documented in earlier research, she said."

The point? For a long time, creationists have correctly been pointing out that mutation-driven population changes in an organism, for example in its ability to survive in a modified environment (for example with the introduction of an antibiotic), invariably result in a weakened and less viable organism. As Dr. John Sanford points out in Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome (FMS Publications, Waterloo, NY, 2008), a mutation-driven phenotype change (what the critter actually changes into) may be beneficial in a selected environmental niche while the genotypic change (what is the DNA change) will almost certainly be harmful in the overall range of all populations. This is precisely true in the note above - even for the lowly bedbugs who just can't go as long between meals as their forebears.

Second item: a spectacular underwater volcano eruption about 200 kilometers southwest of Samoa was caught in the act on video taken by a remotely operated submarine ("Sub records volcano video", Science News, January 16, 2010, p. 14). Especially interesting to your friendly blogger was the last paragraph:

"Rocks snatched from the volcano include boninite lavas, a chemically distinct type of lava previously found only around extinct volcanoes that erupted more than one million years ago."

Young earth creationists (YECs) have long pointed out discordant rock "ages" from recently appearing structures such as underwater volcanoes and island formations. So here is a lava type being formed even as the cameras were rolling, identical to lava types "known" to be a million years old. The question becomes, "since we know the age of the boninite formed today, can we really be sure the other appearances of boninite are really a million years old?"

Well, can we?

Respectfully submitted,

D.U.


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