Nature Never Stops Talking
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Excerpts and reviews below for “Nature Never Stops Talking-The Wonderful Ingenuity of Nature”.
Movies are much scarier now but as a kid, those talking trees in the Wizard of Oz scared me. Not as scary, is the discovery of communication between trees. It is not entirely new. Even in encyclopedias published in the late 70’s research was being published.
The first surprise to me is that trees can emit various chemicals. For years, scientists assumed it was different kinds of waste. But we know the more we study nature, the more intelligence we discover about it. Chemicals affect flavors. In the spring of 1979, scientist Davey Rhoades was studying what happens to Willow trees when tent caterpillars attack. He had two groups of trees. One group he intentionally infested with the caterpillars. The other nearby group of willows he left alone. The attacked trees had produced a nasty-tasting chemical that discouraged the growth of the caterpillars.
Now before I go any further, I find this fascinating. I always imagined trees as passive things, just sitting there soaking up the sun and growing. A tree or plant cannot run from its enemies but is equipped with an amazing array of chemical defenses. Trees combat hundreds of enemies year in and year out. A hundred different species of insects and worms, bacteria, fungi, all threatening the life of the tree, must be defeated for the tree to survive.
Back to the experiment. What Rhoades discovered was that the un-attacked trees had produced this same nasty-tasting chemical WITHOUT being attacked. Why? He checked to make sure their roots were not connected. They were not. He disclosed his research conclusions three years later after more research. Here was his conclusion: The attacked trees emitted a chemical into the air after being attacked. More amazingly, the un-attacked trees responded to that chemical and flooded their leaves with the chemical that tasted bad and slowed the growth of their enemies in defense BEFORE they were attacked. Communication between trees!
Many other names have been added to the list of researchers studying the process of chemical communication between trees. We now know that plants and trees carry and release not only thousands of chemical compounds, but in an ever changing manner in response to immediate conditions. Most of these functions are not even cataloged.
Some of the more common chemical weapons are:
1) Tannins, which gives the insect a bad case of indigestion
2) Alkaloids, which wreak havoc with the insect’s nervous system
3) Dummy amino acids that produce defective proteins inside the insect. Slick, huh?
Incredibly, the trees can synthesize them on the spot, in hours or days.
Communication between trees may also help coordinate simultaneous flowering for fast cross-pollination. Why would trees benefit from flowering at the same time? There are a couple reasons. One, the flowers attract insects that can cross pollinate. If they are all flowering at the same time the insects will be attracted in bigger numbers and available to pollinate all the flowers while they are there instead of making a separate trip for one or 2 trees. Secondly, when the fruit grows at the same time, the entire generation of fresh fruit is shorter. Otherwise, if one tree is beginning to have rotten fruit and attracting flies and maggots, the maggots can destroy the other trees that are just beginning to bear fruit before they rot. By having simultaneous flowering and maturity, maggots don’t have as much time to reproduce and devastate the crop.
“OK everybody, on three. One-two-three- BLOOM!”
There is certainly more I could tell you but I want you to ponder the complexity and organization of such fine design in the trees all around us. The greatest minds of science are still scratching their heads trying to figure out this communication that is so beneficial and impressive. Do you really think this communication between trees could be a random mistake that was never designed? Or do you think it is not a mistake and that these designs are intentional? Evolution calls it lucky accidents. What do you think?
EVERY TIME YOU SEE ICE
We are more water than anything else.
Scientists figure if they find water on another planet, they will also find life on that same planet.
Water is key to all life as we know it. It is obviously a liquid that can freeze into a solid or be heated into a vapor of steam. Few of us know the real properties of liquids. Scientists have gone to the trouble of carefully evaluating precise responses of liquids to temperature.
“Specific heat” is a term used for the specific rate at which liquids conform to temperature. Some liquids heat up quickly to boiling and cool quickly to freezing, like mercury. Of all the liquids, water takes the longest time to heat up and cool down. This is critical to life forms in water. When the air temperature suddenly changes the water of a lake or ocean or stream is more constant. Kinda lucky that water has those properties, huh?
Another principle studied in liquids is how they freeze. The colder liquid gets, the dense r it becomes. That means the same weight of liquid takes less space as it gets cooler. This is why brake fluid, coolant, or transmission fluid in your car has hot and cold levels. When fluids are hot, the measuring gauge shows a higher notch. This is because liquids expand when heated. There is more space in the molecules. Of course, when the liquid is cold it is denser. It actually takes up less space.
Now I am setting this up so pay attention. Every liquid in its frozen form is HEAVIER than in its liquid form. With this in mind, ice cubes should sink to the bottom of every glass and pitcher of water. They don’t. You know ice cubes always float. Water is the only exception to this liquid rule. Other liquids freeze from the bottom up. Funny how this most important liquid has different properties than all other liquids.
I bet you are assuming this water’s exception to other liquids has beneficial effects. And why do you assume that? Because you have learned the more we research nature, the more we discover about the overwhelming details that mean life when a slight difference would mean death, sometimes to entire species. We don’t expect to find stupid ideas in nature. We expect to find greater and greater engineering and why? Because nature’s design is so perfect, precise, and unbelievably connected to dozens, hundreds, or thousands of other life systems.
That is why we want to protect nature because we know the wisdom is so much greater than our own.
Like all liquids, water gets denser as it gets colder but then, a strange and unique peculiarity occurs at 4 degrees above freezing . . . it suddenly gets LESS dense. Since it gets less dense just at 33, 34, 35, and 36 degrees Fahrenheit, when it freezes at 32 degrees, it is LESS dense than water and so it floats. So who cares? So what’s the difference?
If water did not have this particular quality, much of life as we know it would be entirely different. You see, if ice was heavier than water, no one could have ever skated on a frozen lake unless it was 100% frozen.from top to bottom. The ice would first form on the bottom of the lake. The lake would freeze from the bottom up. The water on top would become more and more shallow until we would be able to see the dead starved fish in the remaining shallow water from all the vegetation at the bottom of the lake would be cut off from the fish by ice.
Do you see how incredibly important it is that water does not conform to the properties of all other liquids?
Remember the exceptional, life-preserving property of water every time you see ice floating in your glass.
In addition to the articles, throughout the book we have “IN THE KITCHEN”. While the articles are like friendly talks “on the porch” with company visiting. “In the Kitchen” is like saying goodnight to our company and then we go inside to the kitchen where some more direct points are made. They are called “ALIBRANDO’s LAWS”.
There are 18 of this type of article in the book. Below is a sample.
There are 18 of this type of article in the book. Below is a sample.
ALIBRANDO’S LAW #5 - Extinction Science
Un-provable Notion: Prehistoric, extinct species are all ancestors of modern creatures.
Sensible Fact: When a creature becomes extinct it is gone, not evolving.
Technical Wording: The extinction of a species is not a species mutation.
Explaining the Law:
This is like our modern tiger being a descendent of a saber-toothed tiger which is a descendent of who knows what. Ultimately, we are also supposed to consider it scientific that even the saber-toothed tiger is a descendent of some reptile which is a descendent of some fish with legs. Of course, you are also supposed to believe that the fish with legs is a descendent of fish without legs, which are descendents of simpler life-forms, like squirmy globs that are descendents of some one-celled organism. That is what all the science books teach but they make it sound a lot more scientific than I just did. Think it through for yourself. Isn’t this what they are saying?
With every skeleton we unearth that is an extinct species, we are generally told it is some ancestor that evolved into other species.
Whenever we study a living species today, we are usually told it is the descendent of some extinct species. Sometimes this is accompanied with illustrations showing similar anatomy of that extinct “ancestor”. Just because the anatomy is similar, we are told this is “proof” but there really is no proof.
With 100% of the cases of extinction we have witnessed and documented, we did not observe evolution—ONLY the end of that species.
Example 1: An extinct Dodo bird is not the ancestor of any new species. The Dodo is merely an extinct bird. The fact that it is similar in design to any other species shows comparable design, not relative origin.
Ironically, we have many laws protecting endangered species. No one considers it strange that scientists who believe the evolutionary theory are also zealous to protect these endangered species. Here is a clue rarely observed: It is because they have ZERO confidence in that species’ ability to simply evolve.
Their lack of confidence IS SCIENTIFIC because we see no evidence. We have no confidence. Yet, we are still taught that all creatures that live among us are the result of past evolution from extinct ancestors.
Folks, there is no scientific (meaning proof, not theory) basis for the assumption that any extinct species was necessarily an ancestor of any other species.
Therefore, I feel compelled to state as a law that can be proved:
LAW #5 - The extinction of a species is not a species mutation.
Also included in the book in the appendix are 7 Rules. This is a brief discussion on the need to monitor conduct, even though in a more perfect world, monitoring would not be necessary. Here is one example:
ALIBRANDO’s RULE #4 - The Weight of Evidence Rule
Favor the Weight of Evidence
For: Scientists & researchers (good rule for anyone)
Beneficiaries: Everyone with an affection for common sense.
This rule is about common sense and honesty.
It applies to scientists, teacher, publishers, jurors and all of us making a decision based on the facts.
How many times have I learned a favorite theory from a professor or teacher and later found that there were other theories with possibly more evidence I didn’t even hear about?
Lets say there are twenty pieces of equal evidence. After reviewing all the twenty pieces of real evidence, not one but two theories emerge about what that evidence proves. The theories contradict each other. They cannot both be true. If eighteen pieces of evidence point one way and only two to the other theory, the one with greater evidence is more likely to be correct?
Why would anyone favor the theory with less evidence? Why would anyone say, “I know these two pieces of evidence are right but I don’t quite understand those eighteen pieces of evidence.”?
I am not talking about circumstantial evidence, but real evidence. I could add weights to the evidence. If each EQUAL piece of evidence were put on a balance scale with A on the left side and B on the right. If there were eighteen on A and two on B, wouldn’t the honest question be “We need to look more closely at the TWO EXCEPTIONS. Maybe they will support A after we review them more carefully.
Inversely, would it not be a suspicious declaration “We need to review those EIGHTEEN EXCEPTIONS that contradict the evidence of the two”? Therefore, I present this as a rule for all honest analysts. Whether they are scientists, jurors, detectives, theologians, or any seeker of the truth:
RULE #4 - The Weight of Evidence Rule
Favor the Weight of Evidence
When there is significantly more evidence to one theory than the other, the one with greater evidence is more likely to be correct.
If EVIDENCE presents itself and the weight shifts to the opposite theory it is abundantly clear the honest response would be to favor the theory with the weight of evidence.
The reviews and endorsements below are from various sources: Reviewers in print, online, blogs and endorsements on the back cover of the book.
“… I, on the other hand, am not a science person at all. But Nature Never Stops Talking gave me some new thoughts about science, philosophy, and common sense that were well worth the time spent reading.”
–Review by Semicolon [Sherry]
“I write the above because I think it applies so well to us homeschooling families and our pursuit for more than just a regular education for our children. This book will make our children THINK!! I personally intend to read the snippets from this book out loud with my children each week. and Nature Never Stops Talking will turn your family into a family who never stops seeking other examples of intelligent design in the world around them. Bring the joy of learning back into your life by reading Nature Never Stops Talking – you won’t be disappointed!”
–Review by Classical Education 4 Me [Kris Price]
“His [Alibrando] primary strength is his clear thinking and his ability to ask tough questions questions that remind me of a famous question from literary history, “but why is the Emperor wearing no clothes?” I found myself at several points in the book remarking to myself that no biologist that I know of would be willing to discuss the points the author raises, given their absolute pledge to uphold Darwinian evolution as dogma. At times I envisioned conversations between the author and those with whom he takes issue, with humorous effect. Alibrando is very sound in his critique of the methods of naturalistic science. This is one of the chief strengths of this book. The appendices alone make the modest purchase price of the book worthwhile. The author holds fast to classic scientific foundations and presents himself as one who demands that modern science remain true to logic and the plain rules of scientific inference.”
–Review by Professor Todd K. Pedlar Assistant Professor Department of Physics
“If you love nature and are a student of its intricacies you will no doubt consider this book a good read. For others of you, it will make an excellent resource as you examine nature with your children. You can quickly find the subject you are covering and come away with some tantalizing tidbits sure to promote thoughtful conversation.”
— Product Review by Dena Wood, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, March, 2006
“Unreduced wonder. Unbridled adventure. Alibrando’s work is a fearless, gentle pursuit of the treasures revealed in the common; the visible; the familiar. This is an essential read for the parent and teacher; scientist and diplomat; poet and policy-maker; anyone seeking to make a difference, and looking for inspiration along the way.”
–Joseph Affholter, PhD – Molecular Biologist, Chemist, Biotech Industry executive and consultant – Michigan