Wednesday, May 31, 2017



I intended to write one or more posts for publication after I am gone.  But the timing of that is so uncertain, as well as the uncertainty of my heirs publishing them considering the chaotic state things may be in at that time, it seemed to be sensible to do so now.  The posts of this blog do not have as much documentation as is typical of most scientific literature, a fact that tends to make it viewed as possible fake news.  But new ideas are difficult to publish in scientific journals protected by editors and reviewers indoctrinated in old ideas regardless of their validity.  Also, truly new findings are not likely to have much closely related literature supporting the topic.


Much of what I have written is based on data in legitimate scientific journals.  But in the most important ideas I have posted I have little original data of my own.  For example, the important role of the pogonophorans in main-stream evolution was discovered by analysis of other people’s research, especially by indicating to me the first step of showing the extreme longevity of deep sea species. [see June 13, 2014 post, EVOLUTION AND THE OLDEST ANIMAL].

Because my peers have missed this step, they have been unable to see how the error in molecular dating has led to the non-sense descriptions of Ecdysozoa and Lophotrochozoa.  [my post of May 31, 2013 provides documentation of this fact].  Extreme longevity can make a group almost unchanged, in molecular data, to the common ancestor of widely divergent groups, so molecular ancestral trees miss accurate determination of relationships.

Finding the missing link role of the little known pogonophorans

My own research on isopod crustaceans helped me understand the principles involved in the pogonophorans bridging the embryological gap between the two main lines of advanced animals. [see my post of June 24, 2013, “The protostome-deuterostome link”].  Comparable embryological observations are likely found for the same phenomena in other groups, but finding it out myself made it more useful.  The embryological evidence was a minor, but satisfying, part of showing the discarded annelid theory of chordate origin should not have been discarded, but just revised.  [many posts of this blog document that fact,  for example, see the last five posts of June 2013]

Annelids, arthropods, and mollusks

Level of organization, systems, and a peculiar arrangement of cells (the annelid cross) had been evidence of the closeness of annelids, arthropods, and mollusks.  Annelids are usually accepted as the oldest of the three groups.  The discovery of Neopilina and the fossil, Acaenoplax, [ see August 3, 2013 post, Evolution of Mollusks ] helped solidify the annelid origin of mollusks.  The annelid ancestry of arthropods is generally accepted.

Cnidaria: nematocyst origin

The gross structural organizational comparison suggesting a poriferan-cnidarian-flatworm sequence in those three phyla is given possible support by the connection of a spicule-nematocyst-rhabdite sequence suggested in the post “Nematocyst Origin” [ April 18, 2015 ].

Other subjects treated may provide better understanding of the factors acting in evolution by natural selection.  Posts on macromolecules (5/2/2014), extinctions (3/6/2014), sperm whales (8/29/2013 and 11/4/2013), body cavities (2/27/2015) may help understanding of evolutionary processes. [The last topic includes misleading placement of pseudocoelomates between those having no body cavity and those with advanced body cavities.  They are an offshoot, possibly of a common ancestor, but not a known link to advanced coelomates.]

The basis for my evolution judgments

I hope that my evolutionary findings are not viewed as anything other than good scientific thinking- data driven analysis of cause and effect.  When the evidence became overwhelming for the missing link role of the pogonophorans, I probably felt no need for a rigorous search for alternative explanations when I knew existing views were incomplete or erroneous.  So, my hope that this blog would help scientists know that they can at the same time believe in God is not a factor supporting my view of evolution other than, like Darwin, I believe it is a grand view of creation to believe that evolution by means of natural selection was and is God’s idea.

Joseph Engemann      Emeritus Professor of Biology,   Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 31, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017


First Communion

The night before the recent First Communion of my youngest grandchild I paused to read and think about its place in our spiritual development.  I was impressed by a meditation or account entitled “Celebrate the Covenant” in the 2017 Easter Issue of The Word Among Us.  I suspect all my grandchildren are more advanced in their understanding of such matters than I was at their age.


Like you, I undoubtedly had heard about Abraham’s, Moses’, and Christ’s covenants. In my case, it started and never progressed to great understanding.  But I see the early covenants as foreshadowing the final covenant God established with his people through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Whether the early traditions are history or stories is not of great concern, they shape and tell the story of our relationship with God.  After his resurrection, Jesus even (Luke, 24) enlightened Cleopas and another disciple about how his life was fulfilling the words of the prophets.

Many times, Jesus made reference to his sacrificial role in the final covenant as well as his role in sustaining us (John , 6), for example – “I am the bread of life”, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.”  He is the “Good Shepard” and the “Lamb of God”.


Christ made it clear for the apostles they were to consecrate bread and wine into his body and blood in commemoration of his sacrifice of his body and blood.  Many Christians view communion bread and wine as symbolic recognition of his command.  By coming together, they derive the benefit Jesus noted – “where two or more are gathered together in my name there am I also.”

Most devout Catholics recognize the “real presence” of Jesus in the consecrated or transubstantiated bread and wine of Holy Communion.  For them, it is a moment of special closeness to God.  Adoration chapels provide opportunities for related close moments of scripture reading, reflection, and inspiration in the presence of Jesus.

My December 27, 2014 post, [  ] “Konnersreuth”, tells some of the story of the stigmatic, Teresa Neumann, who subsisted for many years on a daily communion wafer.  Even after a careful week or more investigation where both believing and non-believing nurses monitored her activities and verified the claim, a doubting journalist denied the truth of her means of survival.


John 15 has the command of Jesus to his disciples “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”  Also, “This I command you: love one another.”

Joseph G. Engemann     Kalamazoo, Michigan     May 22, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017


Fair Taxation

Evolution beats revolution in sensible advances in government and policy as well as leading to success in the natural world.  But as the pinnacle, or dominant species, we have greater obligation to be fair to all, including the natural world.  But today, I want to talk about taxes.

What is a fair tax for the rich?

Flat tax enthusiasts may be right that it would bring in more taxes if loopholes were closed.  But I contend that the wealthy have and will benefit more than proportionately as compared to those in lower tax brackets.  Taxes paid to build and maintain infrastructure, services and defense support the activities and property of companies and wealthy so much that their taxes are a real bargain.  This consideration makes it reasonable to tax annual income above ten million dollars at a rate of 50% or higher.  Executives of companies not paying income taxes or dividends should be taxed if their pay and bonuses exceed 100 times the median full time equivalent salary for the company.

The source of wealth deserves consideration in setting rates.  Fairly gotten wealth should not be penalized, although capital gains exceeding the rate of inflation should be taxable for those of high net worth.  Inflation is sometimes viewed as a tax on the rich, although it can be more devastating to those who have difficulty allocating money to savings.

Many high-income people deserve their pay.  That includes many in the entertainment industries, founders of companies, unusually competent managers.  But sources of exorbitant pay based on overcharging customers, underpaying workers, abusing patent and copyright protection, disproportionate legal fees, and other gimmicks should be highly taxed.

Questionable ethical practices such as skimming assets of corporations and sweetheart deals prior to sale or bankruptcy should not have tax evasive loopholes.

Many of the wealthiest individuals in the country not only deserve most of their pay, but they are also generous in philanthropic activities.  Kudos to Warren Buffet for encouraging other billionaires to pledge half their wealth to good causes.  Many of those are worthwhile causes but the money might do as much or more good if put toward reduction of the national debt.

How do social programs for others benefit the taxpayer?

Government sponsored health coverage for all benefits those able to pay for their own coverage by enabling cost effective programs.  But major benefits are: removing the incentive for expensive hospital emergency rooms to be used by charity cases, with costs recouped from others by higher charges, when a clinic visit would have provided adequate care more efficiently; giving greater leverage for health care facilities to negotiate sensible prices for drugs; possibly better distribution of medical facilities; better opportunities for remote consulting and other inefficiencies such as record keeping using the internet; relieving companies of much of the cost of providing health care for employees thus making them more competitive in international trade; improving the health of the poor thus reducing cost of welfare programs.

Most taxpayers would benefit.  Even the ones paying the most taxes would find that ending deficits by paying sufficient taxes would reduce loss of wealth from inflation.  Free education through college for everyone would improve productivity by having more prepared for a better job and, if they don’t get a better job, not be fettered by massive student det.  The overall effect would be an improvement in the economy at all levels.

Capitalism would benefit, especially small business.  Investment results would improve for those stockholders robbed by inflated rewards for top administrators.   Do the CEO’s of the large pharmaceutical firms all deserve annual pay exceeding fourteen million dollars each?  Am I picking on the pharmaceutical industry- no, they are just the tip of the iceberg visible by data shown in the latest AARP Bulletin.  Finance, energy, and health care industries are also among those wielding undue influence with Congress and distorting true capitalism.

Just remember, I’m a grumpy old man that may have it all wrong after looking at too many drug adds for the umpteenth time that are interrupting my favorite TV shows.  You may have a president with the same problem.  But think about it - who gets the benefit and should pay the most for roads, national defense, and other government functions - the indigent sleeping in a dumpster or a billionaire?

Joe Engemann   Kalamazoo, Michigan    May 15, 2017

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


The accusations that Trump fired Comey because -

- Comey felt nauseous for impacting the election over emails, is he a Clinton fan?
- the FBI was getting subpoenas for a Russian collusion investigation that might trap him.
- it was the first time he had the chance with the new Deputy Attorney General's support.
- the news was leaked so it could first be found on TV on the West Coast by Comey when he was addressing FBI agents there.
- its part of his "your fired" mentality.

are all irrelevant.  I saw on TV how Comey towered at least six inches above the president.  How could any self-respecting alpha male let such a thing go on in potential future meetings?

Just had to break away from the news and get that off my chest.

Joe Engemann     Kalamazoo, Michigan    May 9, 2017

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Returned: Muhammad Ali and Donald Trump

[This post from June 23, 2016 was deleted in mid-October, 2016]



Just as Elvis had his impersonators, Muhammad Ali will likely have more than Donald Trump now that he has gone to his eternal reward.  If you Google Muhammad Ali, you will find a quote of his that that may well be uttered by Donald Trump if he sees it.  The quote - "I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was,"

If you notice in the quote, the claim of greatness precedes acceptance of it as truth.  In the political world it seems that repetition of a lie often leads to it becoming truth to many.


Cassius Clay showed the depth and sincerity of his beliefs several times in then unpopular ways: changing his name first then refusing service in a war he considered unjust.  Whether he was right or wrong, he had a depth of sincerity that deserves admiration.  Later, his philanthropy continued in spite of declining health.

Thirty-six years ago I was with a small group visiting oases in the Libyan Desert portion of the Sahara.  We were there as part of a doctoral student's advisory group for help in studying what could be helpful in controlling blood flukes, a major health problem in the area which involved snail hosts in the springs as part of their life cycle.  A small group of children followed along, curious about the group of adults investigating the aquatic weeds harboring the snails.  One of the children wore a t-shirt with Muhammad Ali written beneath his picture.  I had to be impressed by his fame.


He may have discovered "I am the greatest" on his own.  If so, he was unobservant of popular culture of the time when Ali was saying it.  He has built up an abundant supply of his statements covering all occasions and views so he could well believe he has said whatever is appropriate for the occasion.

Unfortunately, he appears to screen out all who risk telling him when he is wrong.  I am sure there are many good things about Donald, but are there enough to keep the Republican Convention from becoming a Trump Dump?

Joe Engemann    Kalamazoo, Michigan   June 23, 2016

Disclaimer:  I decline all responsibility for the above due to probable low oxygen supply to the brain after blood loss from minor surgery earlier this month.

[I'm not quite sure why I deleted and now returned this post, the only one of 170+ posts to be deleted.  Perhaps I thought I would give Donald a chance, he has shown some ability to change.  But he is not likely to do things scientists have found to be better choices.  J.E. May 3, 2017.]