Sunday, May 24, 2015

CREATIVITY posts list

The 17 blog posts [ on  ] listed below have something to do with creativity.  The ones with creativity in the title are somewhat more likely to have something of benefit in helping develop and/or understand creativity.  The number is from the sequential list of over 100 posts; the date can be used to help you access the blog from the blog archive on the right.

1          5/9/2013          My Evolution Blog
3          5/18/2013        Creativity
4          5/19/2013        Creativity and Cognitive Dissonance
31        11/11/2013      Creativity: honesty helps
34        2/2/2014          Science: Quiet and Creativity
35        2/8/2014          Creativity: Art
36        2/18/2014        Creativity: Brainstorming
37        2/28/2014        Science Thinking Errors
40        3/12/2014        Evolution Insights: Preface
47        5/4/2014          Psychoanalysis of a blogger
52        5/31/2014        Evolution Insights author
61        7/25/2014        Evolution: Intelligence and Creativity
65        8/18/2014        Creativity: Last First
70        10/5/2014        Creativity: Reverse Viewing
71        10/11/2014      Habit, Creativity, Evolution, and God
77        11/19/2014      Creativity: Frame of Mind
92        2/8/2015          Creativity, bee language, and dyslexia

Joseph G. Engemann     May 24, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

GOD Posts List

God related posts

The following list of 23 posts has the post number, date, and approximate title of posts with something pertinent to the GOD page of   Other posts on creativity or science may also be of interest.  If you accept my view that God is the Creator of the world and its principles, such as evolution, then all 104 prior posts should be of interest.

1          5/9/2013          My Evolution Blog
5          5/21/2013        GOD
10        6/8/2013          God and His People
12        6/12/2013        Darwin and God
28        10/22/2013      Evolution and Morality
29        10/27/2013      Evolution and Stem Cell Morality
32        12/18/2013      God and MLK
40        3/12/2014        Evolution Insights: Preface
41        4/3/2014          Evolution and Marriage
42        4/12/2014        God, Science, and the Media
47        5/4/2014          Psychoanalysis of a blogger
49        5/13/2014        Hello World
50        5/17/2014        Finding God
60        6/30/2014        God: Lectio Divina
61        7/25/2014        Evolution: Intelligence and Creativity
66        9/15/2014        Evolution and the error of irreducible complexity
69        10/4/2014        Evolution, Science, and Extraterrestrial Life
71        10/11/2014      Habit, Creativity, Evolution, and God
74        10/31/2014      God, Evolution, and the Pope
76        11/17/2014      God: Women Priests?
81        12/27/2014      Konnersreuth and Teresa Neumann
83        1/19/2015        God and Religious Traditions
84        1/21/2015        Our Relationship with God

Sunday, May 17, 2015



In my post of June 13, 2014 I noted some evidence that pogonophorans can easily live to be over 10,000 years old.  A brief discussion of factors leading to extreme longevity in the deep sea was presented earlier in a post on June 22, 2013.  The importance of the pogonophorans as an over-looked link connecting chordates to annelid ancestors makes it important to understand deep-sea conditions better in order to understand the reality of that relationship.


My first clue to understanding the problem preceded my understanding of the pogonophorans.  When teaching a marine biology class in my early years at Western Michigan University I was examining one of the fifty volumes of Challenger Reports of deep-sea research done in the 1870's.  A map or graphs included distribution of oxygen, salinity and temperature by depth and latitude.

An oxygen minimum zone, with little or no oxygen, was centered at about 500 meters depth in temperate, sub-tropical, and tropical latitudes.  In contrast to eutrophic fresh-water lakes where the oxygen rich zone is seldom more than ten meters thick, the oceanic counterpart may be over 100 meters thick.  Oxygen was most abundant at the surface, but, after a brief, rapid increase below the oxygen minimum zone, gradually increased with depth below 1000 meters until, at the bottom a few miles lower, oxygen concentration was almost comparable to surface concentrations.

Temperature decreases with depth, salinity increases with depth.  The change is most rapid near the surface and very gradual with increasing depth.


Density of ocean water increases with depth until about 2000 meters depth due to greater salinity and lower temperature.  So away from the polar regions bottom water is slowly rising with replacement from cold, salty, oxygen-rich water sinking along the bottom from polar regions at a relatively slow rate because of entrapment in the Arctic Ocean by shallower sea bottoms near most of its fringe.

The replacement of the sea-water beneath the oxygen-minimum zone takes over 10,000 years.  The rate can vary according to overall ocean levels and depth of sills where Arctic Ocean water spills over to sink and eventually reach topical latitudes.


Oxygen would be depleted and the deep ocean would be an anoxic wasteland if animals lived at the same rate they do in shallower waters.  Photosynthetic production of oxygen is limited to the first 100 meters or so of the ocean.  Enrichment from the atmosphere is the only other significant source of oxygen in the ocean and is limited to the surface and circulation by mostly wave induced surface currents.  The warmer surface and rain combine to lower density of water and make wave induced circulation ineffective below the thermocline (the zone of rapid drop in temperature).


The thickness and depth of the thermocline can vary within the 50 to 300 meter depths of ocean water.  Presumably a very intense hurricane induced wave episode could mix the ocean to a greater depth and compress the thermocline.  That could perhaps store excess heat for a few years and reduce surface water temperatures so they have less heat energy to produce another mammoth hurricane for a few years.  So the complications of predicting global warming rates is increased.


The ocean is generally more productive, with nutrients and organisms abundant, in shallow regions fringing continents, and in areas of up-welling currents which bring colder nutrient rich water to the surface.  Sedimentation rates are generally very slow beyond the continental shelves.  Most of the open ocean can be thought of as biological desert, but some very small organisms may be more abundant than others that are better known.  More recent research indicates the small organisms may be more important than generally is known.


As long as its descendants stay in abyssal waters they will remain to help remind us of the stage that survived extinction episodes and enabled those moving to shallow water to adapt again to shorter lives and greater variety that includes the chordates.  The previous post has a figure that shows one of the annelid-like features of the pogonophora and their similarity to near chordate relatives, the hemichordates.

Molecular clocks fail to place pogonophorans in the correct position in the "tree of life".  The problem is addressed in the February 2, 2015 post; a better guess at the correct position is in the post
and why the molecular clock estimates of phylogeny of phyla is wrong in the post

Inspiration for understanding evolutionary aspect of the embryological differences between protostomes and deuterostomes was presented in six posts from June 22, 2013 to June 30, 2013.


The long residence time of bottom water of the ocean would make it anoxic if animals lived at the same rate we see occurring in shallow water.  The alternative explanation would be extremely low populations and/or biomass in the abyss.  Life is less abundant, but not nearly enough to account for the difference.  The stability of conditions made it an ideal refugium to allow survival of forms that could later repopulate surface waters after an extinction event bad enough to cause the demise of over 90 percent of living species.

Joseph G. Engemann   Emeritus Professor of Biology, Western Michigan University     May 17, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015



The pogonophora to hemichordate transition is the most difficult step to see because pogonophorans are most easily seen as specialized polychaete annelids; and hemichordates are generally accepted as being in the chordate line.  So the big step from the first (the protostome part of the lineage) to the last (the deuterostome part of the lineage) faces the greatest difficulty in seeing for those not familiar with what I have tried to show in earlier posts about this topic.

An obstacle is the residue left from past objections when the annelid theory was thought to be discredited by embryological and molecular evidence.  Why those objections are irrelevant has been treated in earlier posts.


A, B, and C illustrate the progression of stages from early larva to adult anterior of the hemichordate, Saccoglossus.
D, E, and G illustrate the progression of comparable stages of the pogonophoran, Siboglinum.
F illustrates the segmented posterior portion of an adult Siboglinum, and G- its anterior.
H illustrates the anterior of a giant pogonophoran from a thermal vent community.  (A, B, and C, after Hyman and others; D, E, F, and G, adapted fromEngemann and Hegner after Webb; H, from a specimen in the U. S. National Museum.)  [Fig. 12-5 in my unpublished 2010 manuscript, Evolution Insights.]

F, above, illustrates the posterior segmentation not reported until done so by Webb [Webb, M.  1964.  The posterior extremity of Siboglinum fiordicum (Pogonophora).  Sarsia, 15:33-36].  Possibly the segmented end of some species lost this region, or an intermediate species did before becoming hemichordates.
 G and H show some of the variability of the anteriors of pogonophorans that resemble the anterior of C, a hemichordate.

A and D are not as precisely alike as one might like.  But this was near the evolutionary step where the early embryology was changing drastically from protostome to deuterostome embryology.

REFERENCES to many of the research articles influential in helping me see the protostome-deuterostome connection, especially the molecular evidence showing the error of current studies were posted in

which you can get to by using the Blog Archive at the right and clicking on the 2014 November arrows.  Or send the address above to a friend you think might find it interesting.  Most of the references are annotated with my comments to myself or quotations from the article.

Joseph G. Engemann    Emeritus Professor of Biology, Western Michigan University  May 4, 2015

Sunday, May 3, 2015



Yesterday's earthquake will not receive recognition in comparison to great earthquakes of the past, or even the present severe one in Nepal this past week.  One five years ago in Haiti resulted in the death of over 316,000 people; the second largest (in fatalities), recorded after 800,000+ in 1556 in China, was followed by 300,000 in 1737 in Calcutta, India.

The geologically stable (relatively) state of Michigan had its worst earthquake in 1947, not far away, near Coldwater at 4.6 on the Richter scale, whereas the 4.2 or 4.4 of yesterday ranked second and was centered about five miles south of Galesburg, in Kalamazoo County near Scotts and Climax.  For comparison the Haiti quake was 7.0 but the even larger quake of 2011 rated at 9.0 caused the death of over 20,000 due the large tsunami generated as a result of its offshore location in close proximity to Fukushimi, Japan.


Because it was centered over three miles deep, those quoted on TV and/or in the paper thought it was not related to the much shallower depth of wells involved in possible fracking activities there.  It is along a fault line running from NW to SE through the area and many miles in each of those directions.

So it was thought to be due to two of the earth's crustal plates shifting or sliding over one another.  It started me thinking about continental drift, plate tectonics, and their causes and effects.  I mentioned glacial rebound (I should have said crustal rebound from the demise of the continental glaciers).  Such rebound it evident from the high past shorelines of Lakes Michigan-Huron noted on Mackinac Island compared to other locations.


The movements of continents and the formation of the Atlantic Ocean are well accepted now.  When I arrived in Tasmania in 1956, a international conference on Continental Drift had just been completed.  They were telling me it was well accepted as a concept by all but the American geologists who thought there was no cause known to be strong enough to cause the movement.  I had already thought the biogeographic evidence was so strong it had to be true.  So I mused about how the earth was a little bit similar to a simmering pot of soup.  The upwelling generated by the heat below produced a column that rose and spread carrying surface material aside.

Once the earth's surface cooled sufficiently and the crust was thick and lighter the accumulation may have caused a reversal of the circulation due its insulating effect and an new column arose under it to disperse the present continents and widen the Atlantic.  The collisions following such movements and continued pressure produced by oceanic plates caused some of the subsequent mountain building and other events.  The reduction of deep sources of heat due to decay of radioactive elements may have caused some decline in rates of crustal movement.


When I looked at the paper and saw we will have a full moon tonight, I thought about the role of tides in the above movements.  Could it have been the straw that broke the camel's back; were tides of sea and earth reaching a peak that triggered quakes.  Probably not, but perhaps tides could be a factor in minor crustal movements that accumulate to cause quakes etc.

The tides move a tremendous amount of water and its attendant weight about with approximately a twice daily cycle that is of greater magnitude during a twice monthly cycle when sun, moon, and earth or sun, earth and moon are aligned.  When the stresses produced by tides are aligned with crustal movement forces, the movements could show a twice daily cycle of speed or movement if measurements were able to record them.  Then again, it may just be my imagination.


I thought about Michigan geology.  The Lower Peninsula of Michigan has subsurface geology resembling a stack of saucers.  Devonian deposits outcrop around the rim and progressively younger deposits are at the surface as you go to the central part.  Above the Devonian are layers that include salt, gypsum, coal, limestone, and sandstone of varying thickness.  Bedrock is topped by glacial till containing predominately sand, gravel, and clay in an unconsolidated layer as much as 1,000 feet deep in some places.  In many places the water of the melting glaciers left nearly horizontal layers varying according to the materials the melting glacier carried and the flow of the departing water.

Since the coral deposits and other marine material indicated it formed in a shallow sea, it occurred to me that perhaps the saucer like shape of the layers was due to glacial weight after the shallow sea sediments had been deposited.  A likely candidate was late Permian glaciation near the end of the Paleozoic Era that was associated with the extinction of about 95% of marine and terrestrial species.  It was long before the Atlantic Ocean became a significant body of water.  Once the continental glacier, centered on or north of Michigan, got high enough, the altitude effect would prevent melting and perhaps produce a massive ice mountain deforming the flat sediments to its cup shape configuration.

When continental glaciation more recently happened (during Pleistocene glaciation), it is thought to have been centered farther north in Canada so the scouring effect increased the depth of the Great Lakes and caused the formation of the Finger Lakes in New York State.

Joseph G. Engemann    May 3, 2015

Saturday, May 2, 2015



About an hour ago, at 12:23 PM, Eastern Standard Time, an earthquake shook our Kalamazoo condo.  I went outside to see if the rumble was due to a truck or a plane, but none were in evidence.  No people were on the street for me to confirm the event.  A call to our daughter a half-mile to the East confirmed it, she thought maybe a tree had fallen.  A call to a friend a few miles to the West found she had experienced it, and apparently her dog had alerted her to it a brief time before she felt it.

A niece in Grand Rapids had also felt it.  TV news channels in the area soon reported that it had been reported from Chicago to Detroit with no injuries reported.  Now only minor damage has been reported but government reports indicated it was about 3 1/2 miles deep and just South of Galesburg.  A call to a friend living in the reported area indicated it was quite vigorous when she was outside gardening.  She hadn't heard from her husband who was out planting corn.

Michigan is not known for earthquakes.  Today's was the strongest I have felt.  Others have been barely perceptible and no worse than the vibrations some trucks had made.  I only remember one that shook the house, barely noticeably when I was a child.


There are several possibilities.  The likeliest will probably be stressed when all the data are available to those studying the quake.  Glacial rebound from the disappearance of Pleistocene glaciers may not have fully released built up stresses?  Could a major quake from the other side of the world send out waves through the mantle or other layers of the earth and be focused on Galesburg or Climax?  Could the recent oil and/or gas recovery activity near Climax used injected fracking fluids and triggered the quake?  Are we in line with the Madrid fault that caused a major quake in Missouri over a century ago?  Is it just part of the normal tectonic movements and release of the stresses they cause?


I think the most likely cause could be fracking, if it has been going on in the vicinity of Climax, Michigan, which is near the epicenter.  It seems that it has been triggering some quakes in Texas and Pennsylvania.  Or are all of those events just a coincidence?  If this is the reason it seems that it will be unlikely to trigger a major quake and accompanying damage, but who knows?  Fracking quakes could also open cracks that might make ground water contamination more easily include fracking fluids.

Joe Engemann     May 2, 2015