Part Two: Are We Really Extinct?

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As promised, part two. We have already discussed why certain species have gone extinct or are near extinction. The first reason is because of climate change after the Flood. Before the Flood there was a canopy of water that surrounded the earth protecting it from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. This canopy allowed for extended life spans as well as the existence of now-extinct species. It is a well-known fact that reptiles never stop growing and, under the right conditions, could no doubt reach tremendous sizes. Creation scientists have concluded that explains the existence of what was called we now call ‘dinosaurs’, however, before the coining of the term in 1842, they were referred to as ‘dragons’.

The second reason ties in with the above statement, since people would have been feared these terrible lizards, as far as man colonized these creatures would have been killed or chased out of their native habitats. Some Kenyans, and even local residents of Texas, have claimed to have seen what we know as Pterodactyls. These sightings extend into the Congo where locals say that on occasion they will see these creatures while fishing or hunting and that if you are ever fishing in an area where you see the malambo plant growing, you will note there are no natural predators as this is the home of what we know to be a certain species of plesiosaurus. However, all these sightings claim they are not as big as what you would think them to be, this as a result of the conditions mentioned above.

So Where AreThey?

So…where? How can these creatures still be alive if the world they are living in far harsher than the times before the Flood? Where are they? Some, like the nocturnal gracidilis ant, choose to live underground and only emerge at night. Some are too afraid to show themselves. As I mentioned in part one of this article, the Nelson Shrew was thought to be extinct but instead was just shy and hid itself. Every day we are discovering new species that have survived in the world we have now.

If you ask natives of the Congo, they will tell all about the species they have seen there. These animals live in hiding in environments that are conducive to their health. In the mountains on certain parts in Kenya, there are still a remaining species of pterodactyl that natives have claimed to see. In fact, these sightings are so common that some tribes bury their dead as dead as they can go because if not then Kongomoto, as they call him, will come and dig up their dead and eat them.

Now why are Kenyans burying their dead more than 6 feet underground and taking pains to do it so throughly? Why are Congolese fisherman avoiding certain parts of the swamp? And why have people been drawing and writing of dragons (dinosaurs) all through the ages if they are supposed to be extinct?

From my previous article, we can see that many times scientists have had to eat their words when it comes to what’s extinct and what’s not. There are many more examples throughout the world such as the Stubfoot Toad of Columbia that was said to have been eradicated in a pandemic, but was recently discovered to have survived this pandemic.

Then there are the more obvious suspects: Nessie, the Megaladon and Lake Erie’s Bessie. All of these creatures in the deepest part of the oceans or lakes where they reside. These areas where man cannot venture.

Coming to a Close

As I mentioned in the paragraph above, there are many more examples of animal species, as well as plants, that were thought extinct but have astounded scientists upon their discovery. Creatures such as Nessie and his Lake Erie cousin, Bessie, cause us to ponder whether or not science is wrong about these sea monsters, just as they were about the animals they thought were extinct. Can science be trusted when it comes to these things or are we to question what they have to say about botany as well as zoology? Should we perhaps be doing our own investigation into what scientists can only speculate?

I have my own opinions. I believe that the existence of these creatures are a definite possibility, however perhaps not in the glory we expect them to be. However, you read up, do your own digging and let me know in the comments and forums what your opinions are. You know I love hearing what you have to say 🙂

For now, my darling avidReaders, I wish you a good afternoon.

God bless you all.

Part One: Are We Really Extinct?

For hundreds of years we have been hunting animals. In ancient times it was for food or for medicinal purposes. In the colonial era, we hunted them for simple sport or to boast that we had shot a lion on the great plains of Africa or to bring back tiger skins from India. Whatever the reason, we have hunted many animals into extinction or near extinction. It is only in recent times that some really special, kind-hearted people took it upon themselves to try and preserve these beautiful animals God made for us to love and look after.

However, mankind isn’t the only reason certain species have died out. Climate changes have forced animals to adapt or die. The world isn’t the same as it was thousands of years ago. Before the Great Flood mentioned in Genesis 7 – 8, there existed a very different world. Before the Flood, the Earth was 70% land mass while the sea was 30%. However after the Flood, the ratio was swapped leaving us with a different climate and under half the land mass we had before. This climate would have made it difficult for certain species to have lived and, if so, for perhaps half of their previous lifespan. There are some who believe that certain species survived, but are half the size they would’ve been previously. There have been many sightings of these species. Of late there has been lots of controversy over the Loch Ness monster (Nessie) and the Megaladon, both thought to be extinct. In this article I will be discussing other animals thought to be extinct, yet proven to still be alive and well.

The Lazarus Species

This name is used to specifically refer to species that, like their namesake, have seemingly risen from the dead. I will be discussing some of the species that fall into this category.

1. Wild Dog

Also known as the Singing Dog of New Guinea. This adorable little creature is a relative of the Australian Dingo. These dogs have been seen and photographed by scientist and tourist alike. They were thought to be extinct until 15 were found and able to be photographed in the remote mountain regions of New Guinea.

2. The Tree Lobster of Australia

If you ever happen to visit Australia, you will find the most amazing wildlife. From the colourful birds to the wombats, kangaroos and Kuala bears, however along with these adorable and beautiful creatures, you will find this creature.

The Tree Lobster, now being bred in Melbourne Zoo, was thought to be extinct since a plague of rats were said to have supposedly eradicated the species. They were declared extinct in 1960. These insects live in the trees and can grow up to 6-inches in length. They were re-discovered in 2001, after hints of their existence were caused by a discovery of four dead tree lobsters.

3. The Tiny Nelson Shrew of Mexico

Image credits: zoofanatic;

This adorable little baby is called the Tiny Nelson Shrew. He was thought to be extinct for 100 years after explorers killed some to take back to the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. In 2009, this little guy made his first appearance in 100 years on the slopes of the San MartAn Tuxtla volcano in Mexico, turns out he was just shy.

4. The Giant Palehouse Earthworm

When it comes to places to live, if you have an aversion to giant earthworms, you may want to avoid the backyards of any house in Washington. Although proven to be the most effective natural fertilizer, the giant palehouse earthworm has been known to reach lengths of between 1 – 5 feet. As you can see in the above photograph taken in Australia, these earthworms have seemed to make a sudden appearance in Australia as well as America. These earthworms were thought to be extinct until the 1980s when they made their first appearance in the backyards of Washington.

5. The Small Elephants of Java

These magnificent creatures have quite a story of blessed irony behind their survival. Found to be happily living in the Borneo mountains for decades, these elephants were saved by poaching. Ironic? Well, here’s where it gets miraculous. Hunted to extinction in their home in Asia, these little elephants were saved by poachers who sold and shipped them all over the world, this in turn, saved them from being wiped out by the other of their species in Asia. Since then, they have been leading a peaceful life in the Bornean Mountains. God preserves His creation in the most amazing ways, doesn’t He?

The Venomous Cuban Solendon

The Venomous Cuban Solendon looks a lot like our Tiny Nelson Shrew, but with one different he has venomous saliva. Thought to be extinct since sightings of the solendon had stopped for 80 years, until the discovery of three different species were found in 1973 and 1974. The most recent sighting of the venomous solendon was in 2003. He was named Alejandrito.

To Be Continued

There was so much I wanted to write that I have decided to split this into two parts. I have covered only a few of the many species man thought to be extinct, but what of the species many cultures claim to still exist? This is what I will be discussing in the second part of this article.

Stay tuned for part two of “Are we Really Extinct?”

God bless you, all my darling avids 🙂

Another Me?

Scotland’s Dolly the sheep

In 1997 Scotland stunned the world by producing their first cloned mammal, Dolly. Dolly was born from an ewe that was artificially inseminated, similar to fertility treatments given to women. The cells that were used were taken from a 6-year old ewe and then cultured in a lab using microscopic needles. Dolly brought on a storm of controversy with many unsure of what Scotland’s discovery could lead to. There are both good and bad to be observed here. While cloning for medical practice can lead to possible breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, others saw it as a means by which we can preserve endangered species. However, an issue was raised, one that is still debated today, what many considered the next step in cloning: human cloning. This has been an ethical debate since the birth of Dolly.

Despite Dolly’s successful birth, she only lived 6, dying due to various health issues they suspect was caused due to the cloning process. This wasn’t before she was able to give birth to 6 healthy lambs.

Human Cloning

This process is far more complex. Molecular cloning refers to the cloning of multiple molecules, but human cloning is a whole other ball game. This idea has brought up a whole slew of controversy as the question raised is: Do these clones, as man-made beings, have the same rights and what about their souls? Can clones have souls? If you have watched the movies Never Let Me Go or Shutter Island, you will see that this discussion is not a new one. As it suggests, human cloning is essentially copying a human’s genome, implanting them once viable into a surrogate and then from there they develop until they are born.

This is a two-pronged argument, though, as there is therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. Therapeutic cloning refers to cloning organs for people who need donor organs, whereas reproductive cloning refers to the cloning of an actual human. The former is something that is currently still in the research process, while the latter is still under heavy debate.

Therapeutic Cloning

This form of cloning as mentioned above is still being researched and as of July 2020 has yet to be put into practice anywhere in the world. This form of cloning is used solely for medicine and to assist with patients who require donor organs. There are two methods currently under investigation: somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) and pluripotent stem cell induction(iPSC).

SCNT

In the SCNT process, the nucleus of a somatic cell is taken and transplanted into an enucleated egg cell (basically an empty egg cell). After it has undergone a scientific process making it viable for human surrogacy it is then either grown within a surrogate or artificially. This was the process used to clone Dolly. This technique has been refined and is now able to be used to replicate cells and re-establish pluripotency (growing numerous cells with the capability of creating a complete organism).

iPSC

This process has been proved to be rather inefficient, since it is a rather long process. In the human donor, the stem cell was typically taken from the bone marrow, but nowadays any cell can be taken. DNA is then removed and put into a pluripotent stem cell, it is then programmed to become the required cell, from there you would be able to “print out” a cloned organ using a specialized 3D printer. With this process the stem cell is able to differentiate between 3 specific germ layers and take on the role of any cell in the body. These layers are the endoderm (the digestive system and the lungs), the mesoderm (muscle, bone, blood and the reproductive system) and the ectoderm (epidermal and nervous tissues). This process is very limited in humans and can have a very negative impact on the person implanted with the organ produced through this process. If a virus is reprogrammed and implanted, it can activate within the patient cancer-causing cells. However, scientists were able to remove the presence of these cells making them more viable for human implementation.

So What Happens Now?

Where do we go from here? We know that cloning organs has the potential to save human lives, but what happens when it comes to cloning an entire human? This brings up the issue of bioethics when it comes to cloning a human subject. While animal cloning has become accepted, many organizations have debated the bioethics issue. While many of these issues have been raised by religious organizations, there have been secular perspectives brought into this debate, as well. There are many countries who have also banned/limited the cloning of humans. Some countries have accepted Therapeutic cloning, has been accepted, however, even this is under strict observations and regulatory guidelines in countries where it is permitted.

Advocates support the therapeutic cloning of donor organs for the multiple medical benefits, however they draw the line at reproductive cloning (human cloning) as there are just too many ways that those clones could be mistreated as it may become a possibility that their rights would become less important than the donor’s rights. Something else to be considered is how would these clones be able to integrate into society?

There is much more to be said about the cloning process as well as the ethical debate surrounding it. Copying a human life form is no trivial matter and brings with it all sorts of possibilities. These can be good or bad and this is where most fear cloning. Until we can be more certain that it is safe, perhaps the best is for us to stick to donor organs. This is where perhaps the best, yet most time consuming and possibly dangerous option, would be iPSC where we can then program the stem cells to be cloned into specific organs. However, this is only my opinion. There will always be hazards to cloning as we are still feeling our way around the field as it were. There is a long road ahead for bio-geneticists, but perhaps one day we will be able to discover a safe and ethical way to utilize this new bio-technology.

For now, we can only wait and watch to see what happens next. I was asked what my opinion on all this was and after all the reading and consulting with geneticist friends I have done, I am very cautious of this process. There are good and bad in everything, but the bad very often comes from the human element. This is not my opinion, this is my observation from what I’ve learnt from history. Therapeutic cloning has many medical benefits, but as far as reproductive cloning goes…I find myself rather uneasy. Cloning animals and cloning humans are two very different things and come with very different responsibilities.

God bless all you, my darling avids. 🙂 I would also like to extend a warm and hearty welcome to all the new members of our avidReader community!

Is The Earth Flat?

Flat earth map drawn by Orlando Ferguson in 1893, courtesy of Wikipedia

For many people, this is an easy answer: No! However some believe the opposite and today we will be looking at the world through their eyes. I, myself, have two friends who believe in the possibility of a flat earth and that’s essentially what got me to ponder this topic. So let’s have a look!

History’s Views

There have been many authors that have published papers wherein they hypothesize that the earth is flat. One such author went under the pseudonym “Parallax” where he published the results of various experiments concerning the curvatures of water over a long drainage ditch. He published a pamphlet in 1849 he named “Zetetic Astronomy” in which he published these results. He later went on to publish a further work detailing his theory.

William Carpenter was greatly affected by the work of Parallax, thus leading him to publish his work Theoretical Astronomy Examined and Exposed – Proving the Earth not a Globe. He published this in eight parts under the name Common Sense. He later was quoted as saying thus:

“There are rivers that flow for hundreds of miles towards the level of the sea without falling more than a few feet – notably, the Nile, which, in a thousand miles, falls but a foot. A level expanse of this extent is quite incompatible with the idea of the Earth’s convexity. It is, therefore, a reasonable proof that Earth is not a globe”.

There are many other men and women who have expressed the same sentiment. Men such as John Jasper, Joseph W. Holden and Wilbur Glenn Voliva expressed the same belief in a flat earth.

The Flat Earth Society.

The  International Flat Earth Research Society (IFERS), more commonly called the “Flat Earth Society”, was set up by Samuel Shenton in 1956. Shenton was a direct descendant of the Universal Zetetic Society. His goal was to teach children at a young age of a flat earth. In 1972, Charles K. Johnson took over Shenton’s role as leader of the IFERS. Through his hard work, he was able to build it up to 3,000 members. He proposed that there was a conspiracy against the flat earth theory. He published his beliefs in 1980 in the scientific journal Science Digest. Unfortunately, there was a fire at The Society’s headquarters in California causing a decline in the 1990s, then followed by Johnson’s death in 2001. In the year 2004, it was revived by a Daniel Shenton (of no relation to Samuel Shenton) who started a website for The Society, firmly believing that there is no evidence disproving a flat earth.

The Flat Earth Theory

Described as the ultimate conspiracy, the leading flat earth theory states that the earth is a flat disc with the Arctic circle in the center and Antarctica, a 150 meter wall of ice, around the rim. Earth’s gravity is an illusion, not pulling us down, but moving up at 32-feet per second. There is so much to explore in this theory, you will see below I have posted a video provided by the LiveScience website as well as the website for the IFERS.

Website link for the IFERS: http://www.theflatearthsociety.org

Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/ifersorg?lang=en

As I said above, there is so much more to this theory than meets the eye. I have tried to condense the history and current views in this article as much as I could, but if you find yourself wanting to know more, I have posted links above for you.

God bless you, all my darling avidReaders. 🙂

Why We Wash Our Hands

Thank you, Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur

We’ve all been raised to wash our hands every time we get sick, cough or sneeze. Wash your hands before dinner. Wash your hand after you’ve been to the bathroom. We all know this and we all know why–germs love to stick to you. They are spread through poor hygiene as well as touch. Another carrier of germs are your pets. They get themselves into all sorts of places and get exposed to all sorts of things, this makes it very easy for them pick up all sorts of germs. Washing them regularly may be a chore, but it stops the spread of germs and decreases the likelihood of them bringing ticks and other nasty little critters into your house.

All this is very simply treated by proper hygiene and washing your hands after handling dangerous substances, as well as maintaining a clean house. When treating pandemics we use bio-hazard outfits and gloves as well as other means by which we can attempt to stop the spread of the specific pandemic we are fighting. If an individual is suspected of being exposed to this particular virus, they are immediately tested and quarantined as a precaution. All these measures are to prevent further spread of the contagion. Various tests would then be run to identify the virus causing the pandemic, but all that would be taken care of by the CDC in conjunction with the WHO.

Things weren’t always handled with such precaution, though, in the earlier years of medicine. In 1861, Louis Pasteur published a theory that would become known as his ‘germ theory’ in which he stated that bacteria caused viruses. Back then, this same theory was only believed by one other scientist, Robert Koch. Robert Koch, a German doctor, pioneered this same belief that led Pasteur to his theories. However, it was only in the late 1900s that Koch started isolating the bacteria that caused viruses, such as TB and Cholera. These two men, as well as a very small segment of other scientists, believed that diseases were caused by micro-organisms or, as Pasteur had already called it, germ theory.

In those days scientists believed that an illness or disease was caused by an internal problem. It was also believed that a disease could also be caused by bad blood, causing a practice known as blood-letting. These beliefs along with poor hygiene by the general public and the fact that a doctor would move from patient to patient without washing his hands, just helped to further spread disease and cause the death of the patients they were meant to be helping. A doctor would handle a dead patient and then carry the bacteria to his next healthy patient. Pasteur, however, had a different approach to this, he insisted that any doctor, nurse or attendant who worked in his hospital was to practice proper hygiene and wash their hands after dealing with each and every patient. This practice alone increased the survival rate and general well-being of his patients. This all started because of a situation in the French silk industry, where Pasteur was able to identify two micro-organisms that were causing a blight on the silkworms in the factories.

Before the discovery of germ theory, in the Middle Ages, people believed that illnesses were caused by foul odors or “evil spirits”. All these beliefs, we know to be incorrect, caused many deaths among the common folk. A lot of these people rarely saw their children survive to adulthood as something as insignificant as a cold could kill their children and the elderly. In early London, filth was thrown out of windows. Anything from dirty bathwater to human excrement was simply tossed onto the sidewalk out of buckets, this, in turn, caused what became the Black Death. This vicious plague caused the death of 25 million people all across Europe in the 14th century. People blamed the infected rats, but if we look at it with hindsight, we are able to see that they provided a perfect breeding ground for these infected rats to spread and infect as many people as they did.

It has been almost a century and a half since these two great men of science discovered that tiny micro-organisms could cause such vicious diseases. Because of Robert Koch, we now have four criteria by which we can identify a virus. These we call ‘Koch’s Postulates’ and to this very day they are still in practice.

Modern day pandemics can be caused by many things, but with all our knowledge from the giants of science that have walked before us, we are now able to look back with hindsight and use their knowledge to identify and treat patients. These pioneers of germ theory were often called crazy and sometimes sent to asylums for believing what we know to be fact today. We owe these men many thanks as they have saved our lives through their discoveries.

Next time you wash your hands with soap or take a shower, think of men like Koch and Pasteur who taught us what proper hygiene is. Take care of yourself when you are ill and take your medicine, it’s a blessing that we have thanks to brave men who defied everything they had been taught and walked where no other scientist had. We are so fortunate to have doctors who help us when we are sick, give us medicine and tell us what’s wrong. God bless these men.

Always remember, my avidReaders, that when doctors fail us, we have a Heavenly Father, who knows our bodies better than any doctor. Turn to Him for healing and He will undertake for you.

God bless you all.