Animal Memory Capacity

Animal Memory Capacity in Clark's nutcracker
Clark’s Nutcracker

One of the most interesting areas of study in living things is animal memory capacity. Memory is designed into animals to benefit both them and other forms of life in their ecosystem. We see a good example of partial memory in squirrels who bury massive numbers of seeds, such as acorns, but only remember where they put a fraction of them. What that means is that the squirrels have enough to eat, but they plant trees over a huge geographic area. There are many forms of life where partial memory serves a similar purpose.

On the other hand, some life forms remember virtually 100%. A good example of this is Clark’s Nutcrackers. They survive on pinion seeds, and a single bird may hide as many as 30,000 seeds, placing 4 or 5 seeds in each spot. Throughout the winter, the Nutcracker, when hungry, will return to each hiding place to get food. By the time spring arrives, this bird will have consumed almost all of the seeds hidden in thousands of different places.

It is interesting that different forms of life have different memory capacities that benefit not only themselves but also their environment. You could compare it to thumb drives for your computer, having different memory capacities depending on the thumb drive’s design. God has placed different storage in the memory of the brain of each creature He created. In humans, that storage capacity is huge and can be accessed in many ways. In the animal world, there is an interaction with the environment that is beneficial to the animals and the environment.

Trying to explain this animal memory capacity by evolutionary reasoning is incredibly difficult and is full of assumptions. Those of us who believe in God as the creator understand why this kind of thing occurs over and over. It speaks of God and His wisdom and design in the world around us.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: Our Fascinating Earth: Strange, True Stories of Nature’s Oddities, Bizarre Phenomena, and Scientific Curiosities by Dr. Philip Seff, Ph.D.

The Grand Canyon and Change

The Grand Canyon and Change

The Bible tells us that God designed planet Earth with the capacity to change, and the geologic and fossil record agrees with that. The Grand Canyon is one of the most fascinating places on Earth. By going to the bottom of the canyon eight times and floating on the Colorado River four times, I have seen the history of change and its benefits to humans. I have also seen the harm that humans have inflicted on the Colorado River.

The Grand Canyon is not just one massive layer of rock. The canyon exhibits multiple layers of different kinds of rocks, and each layer has a different story to tell. At the bottom of the Grand Canyon, we see rocks forged in Earth’s creation. They are tilted and eroded with a layer of sedimentary rocks on top of the eroded surface. The sedimentary rocks contain the remains of creatures that lived in an ocean that once covered the region. One animal is the trilobite, similar to today’s horseshoe crabs. A layer of petrified mud called Bright Angel Shale rests on top of the sandstone, and Mauv Limestone covers the shale layer. Limestone is only deposited in deep oceans, so change was involved.

The sea became shallower for a while and then deeper again, indicating climate change. This deeper layer is called the Redwall Limestone, but the red is caused by iron minerals seeping from rocks above it. This limestone layer is 800 feet thick and is covered by the 700-foot-thick Supai formation, which contains corals, crinoids, and gastropods not seen in earlier layers.

With a warmer climate, the ocean became shallow enough that land plants could exist. More change happened, and the area became a desert, laying down the Coconino Sandstone. That layer contains frosted sand grains produced by high winds blowing the sand, which does not happen underwater. We can see lava flows on top of some of these layers, revealing the change produced by volcanic activity. Then, a shallow sea developed and got deeper, producing the Kaibab Limestone with many ocean creatures we don’t find in earlier layers.

Over time, a series of geological changes transformed the area we now know as the Colorado Plateau. These changes, including the uplift of the land and subsequent erosion, are what we see today in the Grand Canyon. They are a testament to the dynamic nature of our planet and the resources it has provided for human survival.

Some people suggest that Noah’s flood produced the Grand Canyon. They are ignorant of petrology – the study of rocks. The canyon is 278 miles long and gives a solid testimony to the patience and wisdom of God. Noah’s time was yet to come when all of these layers were deposited, and Noah’s flood is not recorded in the rocks or biology of ancient times. Saying that God created all of these layers and fossils to fool us makes God a liar, and James 1:13 says God never misleads us. Make sure the evidence supports your convictions – not unquestioning belief in denominational teachings or blind faith in chance as the causal agent for Earth and its amazing features and living things.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

A Time to Honor Fathers

A Time to Honor Fathers

Father’s Day is celebrated in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and India. In the U.S., Father’s Day began in West Virginia on July 5, 1908, as a one-time commemoration of the death of 360 men which left about 1,000 children fatherless in the worst coal mining accident in U.S. history. Many local communities had their own Father’s Day celebrations, but it did not become a national holiday until 1966. That’s when President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation designating the third Sunday in June as a time to honor fathers. President Richard Nixon followed that in 1972.

The role of being a father is of great importance to Christians. The Old Testament concept of “Father” was simply an “ancestor.” In the New Testament, the Greek word for father is “pater” and was a title of honor. Ephesians 6:2 tells children, “You must honor your father and mother, which is an important commandment with a promise.” Verse 4 tells fathers, “Do not rouse your children to resentment but bring them up with Christian discipline and instruction.” The teachings of Jesus changed society from matriarchal, where women raised the children, to a system in which fathers take an essential role in child training.

In Philippians 2:22, Paul writes, “But you know that Timothy has proven himself to be like a son in fellowship with his father and has shared my servitude to proclaim the gospel.” In Colossians 3:21, Paul writes, “Fathers, do not fret and harass your children lest their spirit should be broken.” As a public school science teacher, I saw the struggle that kids without fathers had to overcome. Their mothers did their best, but a fatherless child has no father image to relate to. Boys had no example set before them, and girls did not have a valid male image to relate to as they grew up.

Too many men do not have the courage or strength to be a father. Often, a man who has fathered children runs away and leaves the job of raising the child to the mother. As the father of three children, I know how difficult it is to be a father. Father’s Day is a time to honor fathers and reflect on our relationship with God, who wants to be a father to each of us. God desires us to reflect His love back to Him. Remember that “God so loved the world (us), that He sent His one and only Son into the world not to condemn the world but to save the world” (John 3:16-17).

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Mother’s Day and Motherhood

Mother’s Day and Motherhood

In 16th century England, a celebration called “Mothering Sunday” was the time for a special dinner in honor of the mother of the children in the family. The American celebration began in 1905 when Anna Jarvis started a campaign for a national day to honor all mothers. On May 10, 1908, a Mother’s Day service was held at a church in Grafton, West Virginia, where the mother of Ms. Jarvis had taught. Then, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day

The Bible holds mothers in high esteem. Exodus 21:15-17 prescribes the death penalty for hitting or cursing one’s mother. In Deuteronomy 21:18-21, stoning is the penalty for refusing to obey one’s mother. Jesus demonstrated the importance of caring for mothers by assigning His mother’s care to John, one of the last things He did while hanging on the cross (John 19:25-27).  

Mother’s Day is essential because American society has denigrated the importance of being a mother. In American culture, success for women is measured by achieving status in the business or educational community. Caring for children is assigned to daycare centers, and having children is a minor part of a woman’s overall role.

Those of us who teach in the public schools have seen the consequences of denigrating motherhood. I was called to the principal’s office for a parent conference concerning a discipline problem with a young man in my class. His mother came into the conference wearing a business suit and serving notice that she needed to attend an important conference at work, so our meeting must be brief. When the mother heard about the problems some teachers were having with her son, she stood up and yelled at him. Before storming out of the room, she told him that she hated him and wished he had never been born. 

I saw tears rolling down the young man’s cheeks. He looked at me and said, “Why doesn’t she love me?” All I could say was that I wanted him to know I loved and cared for him and wanted to help him. I had a special relationship with this student, but his story is repeated over and over in America. Gangs exist and grow because they fill in the hole left in the lives of many young people who lack parental love and support.

There is nothing a woman can do with her life that is more important or meaningful than being a mother. I am glad Mother’s Day gives us at least one day a year when we honor the great women who are the builders of the fabric that makes our lives good and our country great.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Historical data from Old Farmer’s Almanac/

Easter Egg Symbolism

Easter Egg Symbolism
Ukrainian Pysanky

Various Easter celebrations and fun activities revolve around eggs. Ancient people must have been amazed to see a new living creature emerge from a seemingly dead object. In ancient Persia, people gave eggs to each other at the spring equinox, and they set that date as the beginning of a new year. Easter egg symbolism arose much later as Christians used eggs to represent the rock tomb and the hatching chick as a symbol of Christ emerging from the tomb.

Lent was instituted to remember the fasting of Jesus, and people who were fasting would not eat meat from cows, sheep, pigs, or fowl. It was also common practice to avoid eating eggs, but chickens still laid eggs, so people decorated them. The original egg decorations were just plain vegetable dyes, but crimson eggs emerged in honor of the blood of Christ.

Eastern European people used intricate designs on eggs called pysanky, which they sold in Ukrainian shops. In Germany, people pierced and hollowed eggs and hung them on shrubs and trees like Christmas trees. In some countries, people used eggs in games. In addition to egg hunts, egg rolling activities were also conducted on the White House lawn. Some egg rollings were started at Sunday School picnics and parades before the Civil War.

The shell of a hen’s egg weighs only about one-fifth of an ounce, and it’s made from calcium carbonate just over one-hundredth of an inch thick. Despite the thin shell, chicken eggs can withstand 130 pounds of force. If it is set perfectly still with its pointed end up, an egg is almost impossible to break with one hand. Only an uneven force, like hitting it on something, can crack an eggshell.

Easter egg symbolism can remind us of Christ’s resurrection, but the egg’s design is one more example of the wisdom God has built into everything we see in the creation.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

References: The Easter Book by Francis Weiser, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, and Wikipedia

Incredible Accuracy of the Biblical Creation Account

Incredible Accuracy of the Biblical Creation Account shown by stromatolite fossil
Stromatolite Fossil of Blue-Green Algae

As a person with a background in paleontology and a Bible student, any new discovery is of great interest to me. One of the things that led me to become a Christian was the incredible accuracy of the biblical creation account. The establishment of “signs, seasons, days, and years,” as we know them, did not occur until verses 14-19, yet Genesis describes plant life in verses 11 and 12.

In Genesis 1:11-12, we see a sequence:
1- “deshe -This Hebrew refers to an elementary plant and is translated as “grass” in older translations.
2- “eseb -This means a naked seed or gymnosperm and is translated as “herb” in many older translations.
3- “zera -This refers to fruit trees – angiosperms in modern taxonomy.

This sequence is precisely what the fossil record shows. According to fossil records, the first life forms on Earth were algae, known as stromatolites. In more recent rocks, we find the fossil remains of ferns and conifers (spore-bearing plants). In a New Brunswick, Canada quarry, researchers recently discovered fossils of ancient trees so well preserved that the branches had attached leaves. Dr. Robert Gastaldo led the study and described the finding as “literally little windows into deep-time landscapes and ecosystems.”

These ancient trees stood about 15 feet tall with narrow trunks and crowns 18 feet in diameter with more than 250 leaves. The evidence indicates that an earthquake-induced landslide in an ancient rift valley preserved the trees by quickly burying them at the bottom of a lake.

The more we know of the creation, the more we can appreciate the incredible accuracy of the biblical creation account – and its brevity. Problems occur only when religious people force a dispensational timeline theory on the fossil record. For more on that subject, go to the website and read the booklet titled “God’s Revelation in His Rocks and His Word.” You can order printed copies of the booklet from the

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: “Enigmatic fossil plants with three-dimensional, arborescent-growth architecture from the earliest Carboniferous of New Brunswick, Canada” by Robert A. Gastaldo in the journal Current Biology, February 2, 2024

Reindeer Eyes Designed for the Arctic

Reindeer Eyes Designed for the Arctic

The eyes of reindeer, also known as caribou, are different from those of any other mammal. The retinal tissue known as tapetum lucidum in reindeer eyes changes color from gold in the summer to vivid blue in the winter. Many nocturnal mammals have this mirror-like layer that reflects light, causing “eye shine” and allowing the photoreceptors to sense dim light. Only in reindeer eyes does it change color with the seasons.

Lichens are a main staple of the reindeer diet and are very common in northern latitudes where reindeer live. A lichen known as “reindeer moss” is an off-white color, making it difficult to see in the snow. However, snow reflects ultraviolet (UV) light, and the lichen absorbs it. The changing color of the retinal tissue is designed to make the lichen stand in dark contrast to the white snow.

UV light damages the eyes, so the cornea and lens suppress the UV radiation in most animals. Some of us have experienced temporary snow blindness caused by UV light, and excessive exposure can lead to cataracts. However, reindeer eyes are designed to admit up to 60% of UV light. Reindeer moss has “impressive antioxidant properties,” which may help prevent UV light damage. Also, reindeer feed on the buds and leaves of Arctic willow and dwarf birch, which have high levels of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which helps repair damaged cells.

From September to April, animals such as reindeer living above 70 degrees latitude experience the violet-blue of twilight for 8-11 hours daily. Reindeer eyes display another example of a specialized design unique to one species, giving the animal tools for survival in its environment. Predatory white wolves are well camouflaged in the snow but appear relatively dark to a reindeer detecting UV light.

The color-changing tapetum, unique to the reindeer species, is difficult to explain by gradual chance mutations. We suggest it is another example of how God has produced special equipment to enable an animal to survive in a challenging environment.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: “Reindeer and the quest for Scottish enlichenment” in i-Perception, Sage Journals

Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia

Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia

The Alzheimer’s Association reported that between 2000 and 2019, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease increased by 145%. More than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and the disease kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, and in 2023, Alzheimer’s will cost the nation 345 billion dollars. Eleven million Americans provide unpaid care for people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia. 

These numbers highlight what many of us already know, that Alzheimer’s and other dementia issues are a major problem in America today. By 2050, experts predict the cost will reach the trillion-dollar figure. Medical science is making great strides to find answers for this issue, but how to care for people with Alzheimer’s is a significant problem now. 

I recently read about a man whose wife was in an Alzheimer’s care unit in the advanced stage of that terrible disease. She didn’t know who she was or who he was or recognize any of her kids or friends. Despite that, this man arrived at the facility every morning to get his wife out of bed, wash her face, comb her hair, dress her, and ensure she ate breakfast. One of the nurses in the facility asked the man, “Why do you come every morning and do this? She doesn’t know who you are or understand what you have done for her. She doesn’t know that you are her husband.” The man responded, “No, she doesn’t know any of that, but I know she is my wife.”

This story is not unusual for a Christian who values marriage as a creation of God. However, I have visited Alzheimer’s care facilities where the person was deposited and rarely, if ever, visited. I know there are times when a caregiver is physically unable to meet the needs of a patient with Alzheimer’s and other dementia at home.

 Any disease of nerve cells has tremendous consequences for the victim. God did not create this disease, and medical science is still searching for the cause. Those who reject Christianity or promote a “survival of the fittest” belief system will side with Dr. Peter Singer, the Decamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, who claims that euthanasia is the only answer. 

Jesus said, “By their fruits, you will know them,” and we praise those who are caring for someone wrestling with Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia. God’s blessings will be upon you. Jesus also said, “Come you who are blessed … I was sick, and you looked after me …whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:34-40). 

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: Alzheimer’s Association

Life Elsewhere in the Universe

Life Elsewhere in the Universe

A frequent obsession of modern Americans is the question of life elsewhere in the universe. In July 2023, Defense Department employee David Grusch testified before Congress, claiming government mishandling and deliberate misrepresentations about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) believed to be alien spacecraft. The media continues to sensationalize the idea of alien life and exaggerate the unexplained phenomena.

Alien life has no bearing on God’s existence. If there is life elsewhere in the universe, God created it. The belief that life from outer space could solve the problems of humans on Earth is unfortunate. Here are some erroneous assumptions people have recently made:

  1. Some people claim that objects from outside our solar system, such as Oumuamua in 2017, are sent by aliens to spy on us. Scientists have found meteorites with high abundances of beryllium, lanthanum, and uranium, which don’t match alloys found on Earth. These show no signs of alien creation, and no researcher claims any of these support alien life, even though they probably came from outside our solar system.
  2. India’s landing of a spacecraft on the south pole of the Moon was certainly a great accomplishment. However, scientists were interested in the south pole because of the possibility of frozen water there since direct sunlight does not reach that area. They did not expect to find life, and they didn’t.
  3. Concerns about the Cassini spacecraft contaminating Saturn with Earth organisms when it crashed into that planet and the landing of Huygens on Saturn’s moon Titan are not because of aliens. Saturn’s atmosphere and the cold on Titan make it impossible for life to exist there.
  4. Military pilot sightings of things they don’t understand can have many possible explanations, including reflections on the canopy or effects generated by military actions.

Looking for help from aliens to solve the problems we have on Earth is a waste of time and money. The solution to human struggles will not come from alien life elsewhere in the universe. We can find the solution to our struggles in the teachings of Jesus Christ who came to Earth two thousand years ago. He came from outside of space and time to show us the way, the truth, and the life. 

— John N. Clayton © 2023

References: Article by Eric Lagatta in USA Today and Astronomy magazine for October 2023, page 54.

Denigrating Women Is Not God’s Plan

Denigrating Women Is Not God’s Plan

Some have attempted to use the Bible’s teachings to justify denigrating women. This ignorance was an issue in the time of Jesus, and it continues today, not just in undeveloped countries but even in America.

The problem of not carefully studying the biblical concept of women’s role goes back to Genesis 2:18-24. God created Adam as a living being with a spiritual dimension. Adam observes and names the animals, but he is still unable to live as God intended. Verse 20 says, “There was not a helper fit for him.” The Hebrew word for helper is “ezer,” which is “one who provides strength in the area where the helped one is lacking” (New World Bible Dictionary). Eve is not inferior to Adam. Adam joyfully proclaims, “This, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”

In Matthew 19:8, Jesus refers back to Genesis 2 as He denies men the right to treat their wives as objects saying, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning, it was not so.” The passage in Genesis 2 refers to wife (singular), not wives plural. It is in Genesis 4:19 that man first violates God’s plan with Lamech having two wives. Lamech’s actions and denigrating women eventually led to the immorality that produced the flood of chapter 6.

The rejection of God’s plan has caused terrible treatment of women through the ages. Jesus included women in his ministry, and Luke 8:1-3 reveals they played a major role. In John 4, Jesus deals with the Samaritan woman at the well, and in verse 27, even His disciples were amazed at his treatment of this woman. Ephesians 5:25-33 tells Christian men to love their wives as their own bodies (verse 28). Galatians 3:28 tells us that in the Church, there is no male nor female, for we are all one. That was the message of Genesis 2, which is repeated in Christianity today.

Today’s world has turned away from God’s teachings, denigrating women and using them as sex objects. Men have used survival of the fittest to persecute women and keep them under economic control. Men and women each have specific roles. Only women can give birth to babies, but today many choose to abort. Men have the role of spiritual leadership, but most of them fail at that. Christ’s teachings and the Apostles’ instructions uniquely elevate women and challenge men to be what God calls them to be. As society rejects God’s teachings, women suffer the most.

— John N. Clayton © 2023