Archive for the evolutionary news articles Category

How Old is the Grand Canyon?

Posted in evolutionary news articles with tags on December 1, 2008 by egoeimi3

Who Knows the Age of Grand Canyon?   11/30/2007    
“In spite of over a century of work on the Grand Canyon, there are still fundamental questions about the age of the canyon and the processes that have formed it.”  Thus begins a paper in the November GSA Bulletin of the Geological Society of America.1  To re-evaluate the date of Grand Canyon, a team dated lavas comparing argon-40 and argon-39, examined fault lines, and modeled rates of downcutting by the river.  Their result?  The canyon is half as old as previously thought: from 1.2 million years maximum, to probably less than 723,000 years – maybe even as little as 102,000 years.
    This represents another step in a long trend of falling ages for the world’s most famous canyon.  John Wesley Powell thought the canyon was 70 million years old – a date that stuck for nearly a century (source:  In more recent decades, 5 million years was the consensus figure.  Now it’s getting down into the hundreds of thousands (07/22/2002), with no end in sight.  Textbooks can’t keep up with the scientists, though.  This website for Utah fifth graders, for instance, nonchalantly tells the kids the canyon is 10 million years old.
    Meanwhile, creationists have long argued that the canyon is very young.  Their most popular model has a large lake upstream breaching its dam and carving the entire canyon within days or weeks.  Remarkably, some secular geologists are warming up to that idea, supplying their own variations on the dam-breach theme but putting the event farther back in time (09/30/2000, 05/31/2002, 07/22/2002, 09/16/2005).  Who knows; maybe tradition makes it hard to give up those millions of years.

1.  Karlstrom et al,40Ar/39Ar and field studies of Quaternary basalts in Grand Canyon and model for carving Grand Canyon: Quantifying the interaction of river incision and normal faulting across the western edge of the Colorado Plateau,” GSA Bulletin, Volume 119, Issue 11 (November 2007), pp. 1283-1312.

Our commentary is based on analysis of this paper by a field geologist with over 28 years’ experience in the oil, gas and mining industries, who has also given presentations about the Colorado Plateau.
    The authors of this paper cherry-picked their data.  They only used 26 of 63 radiometric dating tests – that is tossing out 60% of the data.  How can we trust their results?  Even then, the spread in resulting ages is huge, but they never questioned the validity of their dating method.
    In addition, there is a large discrepancy between the dates of lavas on the Uinkaret Plateau (3.4 to 3.7 million years) and those of intracanyon flows (100,000 to 700,000 years), but they assumed that their results are immune from the flaws of earlier attempts.  Regardless, they had to admit that radioactive dating of basalt is very difficult, particularly in Grand Canyon.  They also acknowledged large discrepancies between radioactive dates and those determined by stratigraphic position: in one case, they were off by more than two standard deviations.  The way out was to use a method of “recalculating errors to better reflect scatter of the dates beyond analytical error.”  Some stratigraphic dates agreed with the radiometric dates, but the above discrepancy stuck out like a sore thumb.  What did they do?  Ignore it!
    The incision rates (downcutting of the river) they modeled would require 10 to 12 million years to carve the canyon – much older than the date they got from radiometric methods.  They tried to correlate incision rate with faulting rate, but those are two processes that have nothing to do with each other; to get disparate pieces of the puzzle together, they allowed incision rates to vary by nearly 1000%.  When needed, they added some ad hoc forces to keep things in sync: raising the whole Colorado Plateau by a “buoyant low-velocity mantle upwelling.”
    In short, our geologist concluded, “RA [radioactive] dating can give any date you would like, depending on where you sample and what method you use.  Because the evolutionists’ assumptions are wrong they are asking the wrong questions, using the wrong methods, and generating wrong interpretations.  What a waste of time and effort.”  (See 09/19/2007).
    Scouring through the jargon and numbers in this technical paper, it is apparent that these geologists were trying to piece together a lot of uncooperative data into some kind of patchwork that gave them a human sense of accomplishment.  Undoubtedly the team felt gratified for getting a paper published by their peers in the Geological Society of America.  Whether their claims have any necessary correlation with what actually happened at Grand Canyon is an entirely different question.  Here, it is publish and perish – perish the thought that their assumptions might be totally off kilter.  See 11/05/2003, 11/04/2003.

Opportunity:  Want to see evidence for a young canyon with your own eyes?  Join us for the Memorial Day 2008 3-day rafting trip in Grand Canyon! (see sample picture).  Click here for details on this fun-filled, educational vacation package.  Don’t hesitate – the trip is expected to fill by January 2008 or before.
Next headline on:  GeologyDating Methods

Paley’s Watch all over Again!

Posted in evolutionary news articles with tags on December 1, 2008 by egoeimi3

Paley’s Watch Found in Bacteria   10/31/2008    
Oct 31, 2008 — A clock with cogs, gears and ratchets that keeps accurate time – what more could William Paley wish for?  The 18th century natural theologian used the illustration of stumbling upon a watch in a heath as an example of reasoning from design to a Designer – as from watch to watchmaker.  Skeptics like David Hume challenged such reasoning of the natural theologians as a mere argument from analogy: living things are very different from mechanical machines, he argued.  One can only wonder how their debate would unfold with the discovery of a ticking watch inside one of the simplest forms of life.
    Scientists have long wondered how living things keep time.  We are all aware of our own natural cycles throughout the day.  Organisms without eyes and ears, though, like bacteria, also keep time with diurnal cycles.  How do they do it?  The secret has only been coming to light in the last few years (see 05/17/2005)  Johnson, Egli and Stewart wrote a review article in Science this week that describes what is currently known about the circadian clock present in cyanobacteria.1  They could not help but use mechanical terms for this biological machinery.  It began right in their opening paragraph:

An endogenous circadian system in cyanobacteria exerts pervasive control over cellular processes, including global gene expression.  Indeed, the entire chromosome undergoes daily cycles of topological changes and compaction.  The biochemical machinery underlying a circadian oscillator can be reconstituted in vitro with just three cyanobacterial proteins, KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC.  These proteins interact to promote conformational changes and phosphorylation events that determine the phase of the in vitro oscillation.  The high-resolution structures of these proteins suggest a ratcheting mechanism by which the KaiABC oscillator ticks unidirectionally.  This posttranslational oscillator may interact with transcriptional and translational feedback loops to generate the emergent circadian behavior in vivo.  The conjunction of structural, biophysical, and biochemical approaches to this system reveals molecular mechanisms of biological timekeeping.

“Conformational change” is jargon for bending, springing, unfolding and other kinds of motion that take place as the proteins operate.  Proteins are therefore the “moving parts” of the clock.
    Later, they spoke of “cogs and gears” in the “clockwork mechanism” evident in the Kai-ABC proteins.  Each protein, in turn, is made up of multiple parts, composed of hundreds of amino acids.  KaiC, for instance, is a barrel mechanism with two donut-shaped rings, each made of six toothed parts that make it look like a gear wheel.  The clock runs on ATP energy pellets.  It accumulates hydrogen bonds through phosphorylation events that force it to “tick” like a ratchet in one direction.  It keeps an accurate 24-hour cycle, releasing its energy for the next round in conjunction with feedback loops from the nucleus and cytoplasm.  These, in turn, affect what genes are expressed by the transcribers in the nucleus and translators in the ribosomes.
   In his description of the clock posted last April on Reasons to Believe, Dr. Fazale Rana described how the KaiA and KaiB parts interact with KaiC like a rotor and wing nut.  He made the same connection to Paley.  Describing this as a “biochemical watch on a heath,” he showed how it refutes David Hume’s criticism of natural theology.  The discovery of molecular machines like the circadian clock have revitalized the watchmaker argument for the existence of God, he said.
    The Science article pointed out that several questions remain.  How is the clock robust against temperature fluctuations?  Does the eukaryotic clock, which employs very different molecular systems, operate on similar design principles?  They referred to evolution twice, but only in a very indistinct, indirect way:

The benefit of a clockwork that is imperturbable even when buffeted by the massive intracellular changes of cell division could have provided an evolutionary driving force for convergent circadian clock mechanisms among diverse organisms.
    We now recognize KaiABC as a dynamically oscillating nanomachine that has evolved to precess unidirectionally and robustly. 

These sentences, however, merely assume that evolution produced the machines in the first place.  Since the clocks are present in some of the simplest forms of life, it would seem a grand challenge to believe that a blind, directionless process stumbled upon all this interacting, mechanical system by chance.  Incidentally, they pointed out that each cell has 10,000 KaiC proteins.  If it is difficult to imagine getting one clock by chance, imagine getting 10,000 that tick together. “The challenges ahead,” they ended, “are to delve deeper into the molecular nature of its temperature compensation … and to discover if the clocks in our own cells have attributes that are similar to those of bacteria.”

1.  Johnson, Egli and Stewart, “Structural Insights into a Circadian Oscillator,” Science, 31 October 2008: Vol. 322. no. 5902, pp. 697-701, DOI: 10.1126/science.1150451.

Oh, for the sight of David Hume and Charles Darwin being confronted with a ticking clock inside a “simple” cell.  We can get an idea of their reaction, though, by looking at the fact that the three authors of this review, after having described an intricate mechanism of oscillators, ratchets and feedback loops, attributed it all to evolution.  The many biochemists aware of these and other exquisite molecular machines follow suit.  In spite of overpowering evidence for design, their minds are made up: they will follow Charlie to the bitter end and die with him rather than acknowledge design.
    The Apostle Paul said in Romans 1 that the evidence for God and His attributes is clearly seen in creation, so that men are without excuse.  Each generation has evidence of sufficient clarity for its knowledge base.  For the Romans and Egyptians, the diurnal cycles of the sun, moon and stars have been more than sufficient to remove their excuses for unbelief and mistaken belief.  For today’s scientists, the diurnal cycles of nanoscopic protein clocks throughout life is more than sufficient.  The true challenge ahead is not just to delve deeper into the molecular nature of the design we already see, but to hold it up for display and preach the implications, so that it takes effect in the human mind – as Paul said, “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (II Corinthians 10:5; cf. 01/17/2007).
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyAmazing Facts

  A swarm of bee stories abuzz with design, from 10/27/2006.

Horseshoe Crab debunks Evolution Again

Posted in evolutionary news articles with tags on November 26, 2008 by egoeimi3

Horseshoe Crabs Unchanged Since Ordovician   01/28/2008    
A fossil horseshoe crab has been discovered in Canada that pushes back their origins at least 100 million years in the evolutionary timetable.  The previous record placed these marine arthropods in the Carboniferous (350 million years BP in the geologic column); others were known from the Jurassic.  “Both the Carboniferous and the Jurassic fossil discoveries indicate the ancient horseshoe crabs greatly resembled their modern-day counterparts,” said Live Science.1
    The article contains photos of the two nearly-complete specimens, which look like tiny versions of modern horseshoe crabs.  From head to tip of the tail, these are 1.5″ long.  Modern ones can grow to 20″.  The discoverers put it into a new genus, Lunataspis aurora, but were not sure if the small specimens were juveniles or adults.
    How do evolutionists deal with this example of extreme stasis, or lack of evolution, for hundreds of millions of years?  Comments in the article revealed the reaction: surprise, yet no loss of confidence in evolution or the timeline.

  • “We wouldn’t necessarily have expected horseshoe crabs to look very much like the modern ones, but that’s exactly what they look like,” [David] Rudkin [Royal Ontario Museum] said.
  • “This body plan that they’ve invented, they’ve stayed with it for almost a half a billion years.  It’s a good plan,” Rudkin told LiveScience“They’ve survived almost unchanged up until the present day, whereas lots of other animals haven’t.”
  • And whereas major extinction events have wiped even the mightiest, non-avian [sic] dinosaurs from our planet, this primitive-looking organism has come out unscathed.
  • “The horseshoe crab, the lowly little animal that crawls out of the sea every once in a while to mate, it’s survived for at least 445 million years in more or less the same form,” Rudkin said.
  • The specimens were so finely preserved, even the compound eyes and flexible chitin coating were visible.  “Chitin degrades over time,” the article states.  “For that reason, ancient specimens of horseshoe crabs have been sparse.”
    Update 02/01/2008: Science magazine, in its “Random Samples” feature,2 admitted these fossils are virtually identical to modern horseshoe crabs.  David Rudkin said these are the “quintessential ‘living fossils’ of biology textbooks.”  Another paleontologist said the common ancestor should exist somewhere in Cambrian.

    1.  An article from National Geographic News in 2002 (reported here 06/21/2002) claims that horseshoe crabs go back 500 million years, but did not cite any specific fossils.  If true, it pushes the horseshoe crab into the Cambrian.  Horseshoe crabs possess many similarities to those icons of the Cambrian explosion, the trilobites.
    2.  Random Samples, Science, Volume 319, Number 5863, Issue of 01 February 2008.

    Friends, you have just witnessed ideology driving belief to the point of absurdity.  This is why evolution gets falsified over and over and over again, and its adherents still refuse to admit defeat.  And this is not the worst example.  Remember the fossil ctenophores that look identical to modern ones, but were found fossilized in Cambrian strata 540 million years old? (04/03/2007).  The whole fossil record is replete with similar stories of extreme stasis (e.g., 12/26/2006, 11/15/2007 bullet 6, 04/23/2006).
        Notice that these specimens were already fully-equipped horseshoe crabs.  They were not primitive, transitional forms.  An evolutionist would have to infer that their ancestors existed far earlier, probably back in the Cambrian or before.  It’s probably only a matter of time that a Cambrian horseshoe crab will be discovered.  Trilobites, similar complex arthropods with jointed appendages and compound eyes, are well known Cambrian animals.  In any case, these fully-formed horseshoe crabs appear abruptly in the Ordovician strata without ancestors, with soft parts fossilized and undisturbed.  If they are juveniles, they could well be identical to modern species.
        The only explanation is that the millions of years in the evolutionary timetable are complete fiction.  These specimens are not hundreds of millions of years old.  That would be obvious to any impartial jury hearing all the evidence.  To admit that, though, would be tantamount to reclassifying Darwin’s little book from the science section to the storybook section – a fate too horrible for the Darwinists to imagine, so the faith goes on.
        But faith it is.  What shameless credulity allows these people to believe that delicate fossils like these sat in rocks half a billion years only to show up now, unchanged from living counterparts?  Think about how many generations that is (in their timeline).  There was ample opportunity for the inexorable forces of evolutionary change we are forced to learn about in school to have modified these spider-like animals – to have given them harder armor, lungs, snorkels, water wings or something to show for all that time.
        The claim that they invented a good body plan and stayed with it half a billion years is so ludicrous, all sensible people should rise up and laugh the Darwinists to shame.  If this were the only case it would be sufficient, but critics have been pointing out these anomalies since Darwin’s day, and nothing ever changes.
        So strong is the grip of the Darwin Party on institutional science, theirs is the only belief system too sacred to criticize.  By force of decree it has been labeled the “scientific” view of the world.  It and it alone is permitted to be taught as “science.”  All other explanations must be relegated to the religion class, where the pseudoscientists and clowns hang out.  Something is really rotten in this regime.
    Next headline on:  FossilsMarine Biology

      Geologists admit they were wrong about isochron dating methods, from 01/12/2005.

    Biological Complexity (Article)

    Posted in evolutionary news articles with tags on November 26, 2008 by egoeimi3

    Biological Complexity Continues to Astound   11/03/2008    
    Nov 3, 2008 — There’s more going on in your thinking apparatus than you think.  New scientific discoveries continue to unfold new layers of complexity and control.  Here are a few examples:

    1. Meta-code:  Your body has codes directing codes.  Geneticists were initially dismayed to find only 20,000 to 30,000 genes in the human genome.  “We were expecting that something as sophisticated, complex and intelligent as ourselves would have about a hundred thousand genes at least,” said one geneticists quoted in Nature News.  Something has happened since, “restoring the dignity of complexity to the human genome.”  It’s called alternative splicing.  A given gene can produce multiple RNA transcripts, depending on how the pieces are assembled.  These, in turn, can produce vary different protein machines: “This process, called alternative splicing, can produce mRNA molecules and proteins with dramatically different functions, despite being formed from the same gene.”  The report on Science Daily that two proteins coming from the same gene can have opposite functions, depending on how they are spliced and in what cells they are expressed.
          The potential for expansion of the DNA code is huge; one gene in fruit flies, reported Nature News, is thought to generate over 38,000 protein products.  Only about 6% of human genes, it turns out, produce a transcript from a linear strand of DNA.  Most others put together parts from different locations on the chromosome.  With alternative splicing, it’s possible that dozens, or hundreds, or thousands of different products can be produced from the same gene.  This begs another question: what code is directing the assembly of these pieces of DNA code?
    2. Motor memory:  Your long-term memory may depend on little cellular trucks that run on cellular highways.  These trucks haul neurotransmitters to the junctions between neurons, keeping the junctions active.  Read all about Science Now.  This begs a question: who is the dispatcher?
    3. Rewind repair:  Another molecular machine has been discovered that fixes unwound DNA.  “When your DNA gets stuck in the unwound position,” an article on Science Daily says, “your cells are in big trouble, and in humans, that ultimately leads to death.”  This “rewinding machine” takes a damaged portion of DNA and rewinds it into the familiar double helix.  In effect, it does the opposite of the helicase machine that unwinds DNA for transcribing.  The machine, named HARP, uses ATP, the universal energy currency of the cell.
          The UCSD scientists were “astounded” to find out how this little machine works.  “It didn’t occur to us that such enzymes even existed,” they said.  “In fact, we never knew until now what happened to DNA when it got stuck in the unwound position.”  Good thing the machine knows what to do.  Failure to heal unwound DNA leads to fatal diseases; yet it cannot interfere with the other helicases that legitimately unwind DNA for transcription.  This begs another question, though: what tells this machine where the damage is and how to fix it?

    The last article said that the discovery is spurring the scientists to look for more DNA-healing machines.  Here was a whole class of proteins they didn’t even know about.  “This will open up a whole new area of study,” said one team member.  “There are very few enzymes known that alter DNA structure.  And we’ve discovered an entirely new one.  This was not expected to happen in the year 2008.  We should have found them all by now.”  Young scientists should take encouragement: “The field potentially can be fairly large.  And as more and more people discover additional annealing helicases, this field will expand.”
        The palpable excitement in their tone required a look at the original paper in Science.1  Yusufzai and Kadonaga called their machine a “molecular zipper” and said, “the pleiotropy of HARP mutations is consistent with the function of HARP as an annealing helicase that acts throughout the genome to oppose the action of DNA-unwinding activities in the nucleus.”  By pleiotropy, they mean that mutated HARP genes can cause problems all over the place.  They identified one disease, SIOD (Schimke immuno-osseous dysplasia), that can actually be traced to mutations in HARP.  The genetic disorder leads to dwarfism, a damaged immune system and early death.
        The HARP machine is ubiquitous in the nucleus, they said, because the possibilities for DNA winding errors are ubiquitous.  Helicases might fail, or bubbles in double-stranded DNA might form spontaneously.  Without repair machinery available, the DNA transcribing and duplicating machines could fail.  “In this manner, HARP would be able to promote the proper functioning of the cell by catalyzing the rewinding of the stably unwound DNA,” their paper ended.  “More generally, HARP would serve as an opposing force to the numerous DNA-unwinding activities in the nucleus.”

    1.  Timur Yusufzai and James T. Kadonaga, “HARP Is an ATP-Driven Annealing Helicase,” Science, 31 October 2008: Vol. 322. no. 5902, pp. 748-750, DOI: 10.1126/science.1161233.

    None of these articles needed, referred to, or owed anything to evolutionary theory.  This was the good old science at work: uncovering the mechanisms of the world, as if it were designed, and seeking to understand the workings of nature.  In fact, the third article says this: “The discovery represents the first time scientists have identified a motor protein specifically designed to prevent the accumulation of bubbles of unwound DNA.”  If that does not presuppose intelligent design, what does?  And how did cells get along before chance found a way to invent a powered repair machine for DNA?
        Earlier scientists like Leeuwenhoek and Pasteur would have been pleased and thrilled to learn about the levels of complexity being revealed in the cells they only knew as black boxes.  There is plenty of work for design-motivated scientists to discover.  We will all benefit from their grand openings of the black box.
    Next headline on:  Human BodyGeneticsCell Biology

    Tip Link:  Is natural selection natural?  Neil Broom, a biomaterials researcher at University of Auckland, argues it isn’t.  In a penetrating essay on Metanexus, “Does Nature Suggest Transcendence?”, he shows how materialists unintentionally sneak intentionality into their supposedly materialistic explanations.    Excerpt:

    I think it is fair to say that at one popular level the expression natural selection serves as a kind of mantra, an almost magical utterance that quickly allays any doubts a skeptic might entertain.  It is uttered with power and authority when any kind of biological achievement required to be explained, and in the currency of a wholly material world.  My argument is that the claim that natural selection explains the extraordinary (read life processes) while drawing only on the ordinary (read material processes), is not only bad science, it is also contradicted by the very narrative the materialist seems compelled to employ to present his or her story of life.


    Posted in evolutionary news articles with tags on November 25, 2008 by egoeimi3

    Single-Handed Amino Acids Selected by Experiment  02/17/2001
    Scientists at Scripps Research Institute have made polypeptides that were able to preferentially select single-handed amino-acids, according to a report in
    Nature.  The single-handed peptide chains were also able to edit out the mixed ones.  The article states, “Despite its relative simplicity, the peptide system has life-like characteristics: it can induce self-replication, select for molecules of the same handedness, and avoid the accumulation of errors.  This suggests that self-replicating peptides could have played a crucial role in the emergence of life, and homochirality, on Earth.”

    The experiment is clever but irrelevant to the origin of life.  The single-handedness of proteins has been a major difficulty for chemical evolution theories for decades and still is (read this explanation).  By tweaking and jury-rigging the molecules toward a predetermined outcome, these scientists injected intelligent design into the experiment.  This is a form of cheating called Investigator Interference.  Polypeptides do not form naturally; they hydrolyze.  These scientists started out with polypeptides which are highly improbable and would not survive in nature.  Moreover, if any oxygen were present (as most admit was probably present on the early earth), no amino acids would be formed in the first place.  These scientists also purposely excluded the many destructive molecules that would have been present under natural conditions.  But even if through some miracle they ended up with a pure one-handed solution of polypeptide chains, it would explain nothing of the origin of information and function.  If these scientists really wanted to do a fair experiment, they should keep their guiding hands off the apparatus and let the laws of thermodynamics and probability take their toll.  The results would be depressing.
    Next headline on: Origin of Life.

    Articles 02/16/2001:  A special focus on Sanctity of Life by Leadership U, with articles on euthanasia, stem-cell research, abortion and related topics.
    Next headline on: Politics and Ethics.

    Genetic Potential Increases (article)

    Posted in evolutionary news articles with tags on November 25, 2008 by egoeimi3

    Genetic Potential Increases  02/22/2001
    New findings provide further evidence that the old “one gene – one enzyme” paradigm is incorrect.  Researchers at
    Johns Hopkins have found that two genes in combination can make multiple proteins through a process called trans-splicing.  Apparently messenger RNA can simultaneously read both halves of a DNA molecule in opposite directions and splice them together.  This increases the protein-generating potential of the human genome, which was announced earlier this week to have fewer genes (around 30,000) than expected.

    This means the DNA stores vastly more information than could be stored on one strand, the other being just a template.  It is just one of many marvels sure to come out of our ongoing investigation of the genetic code.  The whole story of transcription by messenger RNA to transfer RNA to protein, accompanied by a host of specialized enzymes, is dazzlingly complex and exquisite in its precision and speed.  How do these little blind molecules know how to do these things?  Truly amazing.
    See also next story, below.
    Next headline on: Human Body. • Next headline on: DNA. • Next amazing story.

    Biased Science

    Posted in evolutionary news articles with tags on November 25, 2008 by egoeimi3

    Are We Getting Biased Science?   10/07/2008    
    Oct 7, 2008 — Much more scientific research is being done than ever gets reported, say three researchers in a story reported by Science Daily.  High-impact journals tend to report selectively from a large field of medical and laboratory research.  As a result, “only a small proportion of all research results are eventually chosen for publication, and these results are unrepresentative of scientists’ repeated samplings of the real world.”  This gives a very distorted view of scientific research, they said.  They feel it is a “moral imperative” to fix the way scientific research is judged and disseminated.

    There is a strong likelihood that the Darwin-loving mainstream journals give inordinate publicity to evolutionary papers.  If the journals printed a true sample of the actual laboratory research that goes on, the science-to-Darwin ratio (like the signal to noise ratio) would probably shoot way up.  Science would sound much sweeter and clearer without the constant noise of evolutionary static.
        This is the Darwin Party’s pump-and-dump scheme.  They artificially inflate the value of evolutionary research, then dump it on the unsuspecting public who think they are getting unbiased science.  This devalues science for everyone.
    Next headline on:  Politics and Ethics