Evolution on Trial: Ape-Men Take the Stand

April 7, 2012

Taking the Stand next in the case on Evolution is the Ape-Men discoveries that many evolutionist cite give proof of the common decent between man and apes.

A lot has been made about the close relation between man and primates.  It has long been said that of all the animals, humans are  more closely related to the primates more than any other genus family and species.  Evolutionist point to studies done where primates can be taught to communicate and other simple reward based tasks.

Ernst Mayr an evolutionist cites the homology between apes and humans as proof of common descent.  Homology is the study of similar structures between  certain species.  “For example,” as Chris Sherrod explains in his book on the flaws of evolution  “if we compare a bat’s wing, a bird’s wing, a man’s arm, and a porpoise’s fin, we  can see very similar  patterns in how the bones are arranged” 1

Sherrod continues to point out that the homological similarities come from different types of cells and DNA and they develop in a different pattern during embryological development.   Additional, it is just as easy to say that they come from a common designer as it is to say they come from a common ancestor.   Evolutionist must explain the incredible similarities between the hands and feet from random mutations, that all end up the same.

Molecular geneticist, David Berlinski notes, “Chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorilla reason; they form plans; the have preferences; they are cunning; they have passions and desires; and they suffer.  This is the same of cats, I might add.  In as much of this we see ourselves.  But beyond that what we have in common with apes, we have nothing in common, and while the similarities are interesting, the differences are profound.” 2

Difficulties between the primates and man are what ultimately caused Darwin’s partner or collaborator, Alfred Wallace to doubt his own theory about evolution.  He saw the extreme advancements of the human race leaps and bounds ahead of all the primates.  Besides obvious differences between physical appearances, there are other issues to address including; the human brain, the organs of speech and articulation, the human hand, the external human form, with its upright posture and bipedal gait.  It is only human beings that can rotate their thumb and ring finger  in what is called ulnar opposition in order to achieve a grip, a grasp, and a degree of torque denied of any of the great apes.  Sure science has its guesses, but they are not backed by facts.  Do we understand why among the animals humans alone have acquired language?   A refined delicate moral system? Or art, architecture, music, dance, or mathematics?

There is much more to mention about the homology, but we will move on and perhaps address more homology in later posts.  The next section of my blog I want to spend some time examining the hominoids that have been discovered by  paleontologists.  A hominoid is a claimed extinct man like ape that led up to the modern humans.  Many of the hominoids have been given names due to the location and details of the discoveries.  These hominoids can be broken down into 3 categories;  fakes, mistakes, and unknowns.  I will not go into great detail about each one, but you are welcome to “dig up” more information in books and articles.

First the fakes, there have been a number of discoveries that have initially gotten praise by those who support evolution and have turned out to be fakes. One most famous was Piltdown Man, found in 1912 where someone had filed down an orangutan jaw and stained it and attached to a human skull.

Secondly, there have been a number of hominoid discoveries that when originally discovered were touted as support for evolution, but in more recent times and under a deeper look, paleontologists have backed off from their original views and labeled them as something else.  Nebraska Man, found in 1922  was used in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial and was a strange-looking tooth.  It turns out it was only an extinct pigs tooth.  Lucy, who was only about 3 feet tall was thought to be a pygmy, was actually an orangutan.

The last group of hominoids are a bit of a mystery and there is not a lot of evidence to point in any direction anyway.  Many of the hominoid fossils are only skulls, incomplete fragments of bones, and really not much to make educated guesses on.  While some are strange, with the knowledge of bone crippling diseases that we are aware of today it is more likely that these few hominoids are human remains that have suffered from bone diseases like Ricketts or arthritis.  Other human remains dated around the same time period show us that humans were already walking upright at this current time period.  Ones like Java Man, Peking Man which was actually 14 monkey skulls that appear to crushed at the base, Neanderthal Man found in Germany in 1856 who had a sloping down forehead and a was found to actually be human that cared for family, wore clothes, and looks very similar to the aborigines living in Australia today.

As always questions, comments, snide remarks are welcome.

End Notes:

1. Sherrod, Chris, Faith, Facts, and Reason Study #5 The Flaws of Evolution, pg. 84

2. –  Berlinski, David, The Devils Delusion, Chapter 8


Evolution On Trial: Fossils Take the Stand

April 4, 2012

Last Call for Fossils.  Fossils, where are you at?  Apparently the fossil record is in danger of not showing up for court and being held in contempt.  It’s about time.  Sorry for the bad humor….  The next witness to take the stand is the fossil record.  The fossil record is most likely the most over used evidence for Evolution today.   We will take a closer look at the fossil record and see why it does not make a good witness/evidence for evolution either.  I will address the fossil record in 2 parts, ape-men fossils, and the rest of the animal fossils, specifically transitional fossils.

First, lets examine the transitional fossils and define what a transitional fossil is.  A transition fossil is a has characteristics that are intermediate in nature to organisms that existed both prior to it and after it. 1  There is some debate as to what is a transitional fossil and what is not.  Supporters of Evolution say that every fossil is a transitional fossil in some capacity.  Several months ago someone tried to explain the fossil record to me as a blank line, that was continuous.   The gaps or parts missing where just not found in the fossil record.

As some one who is skeptical of evolution, I am looking for more in the fossil record that tightly connects fossils between different genus species, which is what the claims of Evolution make.  In other words, more of the evidence that macro-evolution is valid.  So at one point I would say that yes, there are transitional fossils that show a change from one type of prehistoric turtle to another turtle or one type of prehistoric horse to a more modern style horse.

In Darwin’s theory of Evolution he acknowledge himself that in order for his own theory to be proven it would have to be found true in the fossil record. 2  These types of fossils he was hoping to find have yet to be found.     You may have seen pictures of the famous tree of life drawings that Darwin and evolution supporters have used to explain.  The simplified drawing in my blog comes from a book by Chris Sherrod. 3  It is meant to serve as a simple example of the tree of life, other drawings are often more complicated.

I have repeatedly asked people to give me examples of transitional fossils between species and I get 2 responses typically.  First, there are none, because fossils are hard to come by and the transitional ones have been destroyed due to fossils becoming fuel for us greedy humans to use up as energy.  Secondly often bad examples start popping up.  I’ve been told to look at Wikipedia, I’ve been told look at videos on YouTube that people have created with a type of “flip book” effect, and I’ve been shown pictures of prehistoric animals that could pass for a modern-day type of animal.   Here is why I call these bad examples.  The list on Wikipedia is there, and it is long, BUT, most of the pictures of transitional fossils are drawings, artist interpretations, not even based on real fossils found.  There are a few small bones, that are from incomplete remains, but most are drawings.  The YouTube video that is highly pushed also falls under the same boat.  They are drawings.  The pictures of actual fossils found I can easily take a few seconds on each one and call it a member of one of the species that we have today.

Every once in a while someone will bring up the Archaeopteryx, which was discovered 2 years after Darwin wrote The Origin of Species.  You can see from the picture that it is a very interesting fossil for more than one reason.  It is complete and in good condition and appears to be a combination of a reptile and a bird.   Evolutionist said this was a true transitional fossil and crowned it as evidence.  But since it was found in 1861 a majority of scientists believe now that it is most likely a strange type of bird for the following reasons.

1. It was not really a good transitional fossil, because of the fully formed wings and fully formed tail it looks more like a creature that would stand as a different animal, not one in transition.   It’s wings, tail, and claws suggest it was a type of bird possible related to the liaoningornis, recently discovered.

2. The Archaeopteryx was dated to be in the Jurassic period in which birds had already been established in by thousands of pre-dated fossils.  It doesn’t fit the time sequence if birds had already evolved.  HE must have been a “late bloomer.”

3. Lastly, there has only been 1 fossil found of the Archaeopteryx.  It is in the Natural History Museum in Berlin, and not a standard re-occurring fossil that we find all over the place. 4

The Fossil Record does not look good for supporting Evolution.  Scientists know this and that is why they have come up with some alternate theories about the fossil record, trying to fit  a square (Evolution) into a round hole (The fossil record).  In 1972 Steven Jay Gould & Niles Eldredge  proposed a theory called “Punctuated Equilibrium.”  This is the idea that evolution happened in quick  “spurts”  rather than over a gradual slow process.   There are 2 problems with this theory;

1. There are no transitional fossils found that support this theory.  It would be absurd to think that the organisms would change over night.

2. P.E. goes against all current knowledge we have with DNA and adaption.  For an organism to change like that would  go against all DNA and genetic science that we know about. 5

Going back through the layers of rock there is an interesting discovery between the pre-Cambrian ad Cambrian time periods.  In the pre-Cambrian rock there are few fossils and most of the fossils are invertebrates, but at the dating of the Cambrian rock there seems to be a this enormous amount of fossils of many different kinds and types.  This time has been called the Cambrian explosion, because it appears that these fossils came out from nowhere.  Each side of the argument between creationists and Evolution supporters have their own ideas about why this is so.

I will look at the ape-men fossils in the next post, I don’t want to get to long-winded with this post.  If you have any questions, comments, rebuttals please feel free to leave them.

End Notes:

1. – http://atheism.about.com/od/aboutevolution/a/TransitionalFossilsEvolution.htm

2. – Darwin, Charles, “The Origin of Species” pg. 152

3. – Sherrod, Chris, “Faith, Fact, and Reason Study #5 The Flaws of Evolution” pg. 28

4. – Rhodes, Ron, “10 Things You Should Know About the Evolution and Creation Debate.” Chapter 4

5. – Rhodes, Ron, “10 Things You Should Know About the Evolution and Creation Debate.” Chapter 4


Evolution on Trial: Mutations Take the Stand

April 3, 2012

The next witness we will look at in the case of Evolution is mutations.  I am not talking about bringing any of the X-Men to the stand either.  In the Theory of Evolution mutations and natural selection are two of the main pillars that hold up the case for evolution.  We will look at natural selection in a separate post in the future.

According to Britannica:

Mutation – Alteration in the genetic material of a cell that is transmitted to the cell’s offspring. Mutations may be spontaneous or induced by outside factors (mutagens). They take place in the genes, occurring when one base is substituted for another in the sequence of bases that determines the genetic code, or when one or more bases are inserted or deleted from a gene. Many mutations are harmless, often masked by the presence of a dominant normal gene. Some have serious consequences; for example, a particular mutation inherited from both parents results in sickle-cell anemia. Only mutations that occur in the sex cells (eggs or sperm) can be transmitted to the individual’s offspring. Alterations caused by these mutations are usually harmful. In the rare instances in which a mutation produces a beneficial change, the percentage of organisms with this gene will tend to increase until the mutated gene becomes the norm in the population. In this way, beneficial mutations serve as the raw material of evolution. 1

The last two sentences in the paragraph above dealing with beneficial mutations “being the raw material in Evolution” when the “mutated gene becomes the norm in the population” is what I will take issue with.  This is where the credibility of mutations, losses it power to influence Evolution.

First, lets look at some facts about mutations.

1. Mutations are rare in the first place because an enzyme acts as a sort of proofreader during DNA replication to check for mistakes.  When a genetic mistake is found, the tendency is to correct it.

2. Mutations distort, destroy, or damage the current DNA structure and do not improve or add to it.  As John Morris, faculty of the ICR (Institute for Creation Research) describes “It‘s instructive to try to imagine what must happen to turn a cell into an invertebrate, or a worm into a fish, or a fish into an amphibian, etc. List the structural changes needed. A cell doesn‘t have the genes needed to produce even a simple nodal chord, nor does a fish have the genes to produce legs. This extra genetic information must be added from some external source, but science knows of no such source. Mutations do produce novel changes, but never has a mutation been known to add coded information to an already complex DNA system. On the contrary, it usually and easily causes a deterioration of the information present in the DNA. For random mutations to add the information for a leg where there is none is asking a lot, in fact, asking too much.” 2

The final question is are mutations beneficial?  There seems to be a handful of examples floating around as proof that they are.  Perhaps you may have heard of some of the following examples;  two copies of the mutant sickle-cell anemia gene cause illness, one copy confers resistance to malaria,  the Pima, a Native American tribe that have to be on a special diet to avoid being morbidly over-weight, artificial breeding of crops and livestock that produce greater yields and drought resistance crops. 3   These hypothetical examples of beneficial mutations were all discovered in a lab and through human experiments.  All of these examples did not produce a new animal genus from another, in other words they fall into the label of adaptions rather than macro-evolution.

You can see that mutations sound exciting but, when you take a closer look at mutations there is really a lot of talk and clearly not enough action behind the idea of mutations.  One such objection to this is that the mutations take place so slowly that it i often hard to see and observe in our human lifetime or over the last several hundred years of scientific study.  This objection will lead us to the next to the witness, the fossils, and a closer look at the fossil record.  As always, questions, comments, and discussions are welcome.

End Notes:

1. – http://www.britannica.com/bps/search?query=mutations

2. – Morris, John D. , “Can the Small Changes  We See Add Up to the Big Changes Evolution Needs?”, Article 2002

3.  – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation


Evolution of Trial: Gene Flow Take the Stand

April 1, 2012

Since the Supreme court was in the news recently with ObamaCare I figured I would use the analogy with the next few posts on Evolution and show how the evidence and facts don’t make good witnesses in a case defending Evolution.  The first witness that we will put on the stand will be Gene Flow.

Gene flow is the transfer of genetic material between separate populations. Many organisms are divided into separate populations that have restricted contact with each other, possibly leading to reproductive isolation. Many things can fragment a species into a collection of isolated populations. For example, a treacherous mountain pass may cut off one herd of mountain goats from another. 1  Gene Flow is a process that describes how the genes are keep local or spread from different plants and animals of the same family.

Gene Flow is often refered to in the human population and see by very easily in America especially in the large metropolitan areas where there is a highly diverse population of people from different areas of the world.  You can see the beautiful combinations of skin colors from the different people who get married and have children.

For example if a missionary’s family were to move to a remote location in a different part of the world and their family slowly is mixed through generations into the local population.  You might see skin color changes, height and weight changes, facial features or other features of the local population.  The same can be said of other plants and animals that would be closed off from others.  If Gene Flow is restricted you will see a population become less and less diverse because the amount of available information from the total Gene Pool is mixed in with the smaller population.   The Gene Pool just represents the total number of possible alleles (pairs of genes) for that particular chromosome within a family or species.

The human Gene Pool contains a massive 40,000 different varieties of genes that can be mixed in many different combinations within the 46 chromosomes we have.  If this is confusing to you, I suggest getting a deeper look at Gene Flow and the other terms online or in a simple biology book.   I will be looking at genes and the science over the next few posts.

Now that we have a basic knowledge of Gene Flow and the Gene Pool lets look at why it makes a poor witness on the stand defending evolution.  No matter how much the gene’s “flow” it will not ever produce new genetic material.  In the above examples with goats and humans, in all the cases the goats are still goats, and the people still people.  This all fits into the umbrella of micro-evolution or adaption.  There are no invertebrates that become vertebrates, or amphibians that become reptiles.  Gene Flow of this type has never been seen or accomplished with a lab.  The DNA will not allow it.

What about Hybrids?  Someone might respond with the examples of the Liger (Lion and Tiger) or another type of hybrid.   These type of examples of Gene Flow are so rare that they do not affect the total population of a genus and do not survive in the world without human intervention by care in a zoo.  There are no known hybrids between different genuses, only between sub-species like a  Bengal tiger and Siberian tiger.  A hybrid of goat and sheep for example that are closely related, but when they mate the children are usually still-born and if they survive they are always infertile. 2   People have experimented with different types of hybrids in the labs, but when left in the wild the animals do not choose to mingle.  These hybrids would fall more into the area of mutations and we will look at that witness on the stand in an upcoming post.

One possible rebuttal that someone might give you defending evolution is that “given enough time over millions and millions of years these little changes add up to changes in genuses and new genetic material is born.”  This is false, because if no new genetic material can from within a short-term, then the same is expected with the long-term.  Time is a distraction here and has nothing to do with the process of Gene Flow and Genetic Drift.

For example: 0+0+0+0 = 0 and at the same time 0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0 = 0

According to Genesis 1:24 “And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. “  God created the animals separately.  I realize that we can’t view the creation story just like we can’t observe evolution in the past, but according to the evidence we do have about plant and animal life now, you have to honestly ask yourself what does the evidence we do have now support?  We will cover creation in later blogs.  As always questions, comments, and discussions are welcome.

References:

1 – http://www.answers.com/topic/gene-flow#ixzz1pcMgvfea

2. – http://www.answers.com/topic/sheep-goat-hybrid

3.  – Sherrod, Chris; Faith, Fact, and Reason: Study #5 The Flaws of Evolution pgs. 75-76


The Evolution of Evolution

March 21, 2012

I want to spend a few posts examining the claims of evolution and breaking it down piece by piece, but before I do that I want to give you a basic understanding of what evolution is and how it has changed over the years.  Evolution is one the most popular alternative answers to the question of where did we come from, outside of a theistic of creation answer.  A 2010 gallop poll has shown that 40% of Americans believe in creation, 38% believe that a supernatural being created the world through the process of evolution, and 16% believe in a naturalist evolution without the help of the supernatural. 1

Evolution Belief ChartThe word evolution can mean different things depending on who is using the word.  Evolution simply means a change over time.  People often speak of the evolution of a certain model of car or how computer technology has evolved.  Most people think about the evolution in biology when they hear or use the term.  When you discuss evolution it is important to understand the distinction between two different types of evolutionary.  Micro-Evoluion where minor changes within a species (family group) occur, but do not give rise to new gene material.  I call this type of evolution adaptions.  We see this everyday within varieties of plants and animals such as dogs, frogs, garden vegetables, and trees for example.  Macro-evolution is  larger scale change from species (family group) to another species (family group) that is more complex and higher through mutation and natural selection.  No one has ever witnessed this type of evolution before and this is the type of evolution that is claimed through Darwin’s theory.  From this point forward, when you see the word Evolution, it will refer to Macro-Evolution.

Evolution is a purely physical/naturalistic explanation to the origin of life on earth and of all matter in the known universe.  Charles Darwin has been known as the Father of evolution, but he wasn’t the first to contemplate a purely physical origin, during the fourth and fifth centuries some Greek philosophers like Thales, Leucippus, and Democritus had detailed explanations of how the universe came together through random forces rather than by design. 2  Darwin also had a partner, Alfred Wallace, who worked with Darwin on the theory of evolution, but Wallace began to doubt it was adequate to explain obvious features of the human race.  You don’t hear much of Wallace and His disagreement with Darwin now.

About 30 years ago the theory of Evolution begin to be looked at more closely by public and private school systems  because of the rise of Christian apologists in the mid-century that began to challenge the views of Evolution.  Parents and school boards had Evolution taken out of school textbooks or demanded that other textbooks that taught other ideas like Intelligent Design as equally as Evolution to be used.  This seem to waken those who supported Evolution like Dawkins, Hawking, Dennett, and Harris, to push back even harder with newer evidences and proofs with the new advancements that science was making recently.  Many of these newer evidences are published in scientific journals, books, web blogs and are used by many highschool and university teacher to continually bombard students through indoctrination.  Most of the scientific claims today that are labeled “support for Evolution” are speculative at best, leaving the majority of the proof on assumptions and premises.  They are lean on supporting facts and rely on your presuppositions and how you interpret the data.  I can back up that last thought with the evidence that despite all this “new” evidence for Evolution the debate still wages on.  The case had not been closed in the slightest.  Open-minded intelligent theists are not abandoning their beliefs in support of evolution.  You can reference this in the Gallop chart.

The New Atheists have been on the offense as of late to attempt to snuff out any religious beliefs by Christians. Their words towards religious beliefs have been harsh.  Richard Dawkins has even had a college circuit speaking tour where has offered a debaptizing ceremony for those who wish to renounce their faith in God. 3  The boldness at which these new claims are being made by those who support Evolution is very high.  It reminds me of the axiom, that “the bigger and more important the lie, often the greater the enthusiasm of which it must be sold with.”  Not to worry though, because there are a new group of well-educated Christians in both the field of science and philosophy that have risen to the challenge by the New Atheists.

Over the next few posts I will examine Evolution  and break down the processes and talking points that many supporters of Evolution use to champion their beliefs.  Evolution must account for three “Big Bangs;” the origin of matter, the origin or life, and the origin of our consciences.  We will also look at the processes like genetic drift, gene flow, mutation, non-random mating, as well as natural selection.  If you don’t understand those words, don’t worry I will explain them to you one at a time in future posts.  If you support evolution and have something you want me to look at please leave a comment here and I will add it to the list of topics of discussions with Evolution.  I will do my best to give you an accurate view of Evolution, I don’t want to try to make any red-herrings out of the other side of the argument.  As always your questions, comments, and discussions are welcomed.

Biography

1 – http://www.gallup.com/poll/21814/Evolution-Creationism-Intelligent-Design.aspx

2- Sherrod, Chris – Fact, Faith, and Reason Study #5 The Flaws of Evolution, pg. 27

3 – Marrow, Jonathan; McDowell, Sean – Is God Just A Human Invention?


The Universe is Intelligently Designed

October 28, 2011

Recently we looked at the Teleological Argument in biology in DNA.  As we continue the discussion on the Teleological Argument, I wanted to look at design in the universe.  No matter if you are looking at the solar system or the entire universe you can see design and intelligence.

When you are looking for signs of intelligent design there are 3 key factors that you will need: Contingency, Complexity, and Specification.   If something were designed we would expect to see evidence of contingency.  (Meaning it did not result from a meaningless unintelligent process.)  If something were designed , we would expect to see evidence of complexity. (With many working parts) And if something were designed, we would expect to see evidence of specificity. (A detailed, precise pattern commonly associated with intelligent causes.)  Just as we can see those 3 factors in DNA, we can also see them within the universe.

There are two levels at which you can look at intelligent design in the universe.  First it seems that earth is fine-tuned  for life within the realm of our  solar system.  There are many razor-thin factors that make life on earth possible.   Here are a few examples of what I am referring to.

1. Temperature – The earth is the perfect distance from sun.  If the earth was any closer or further away to the sun, life on earth would be out of the temperature range and not contingent for life.

2. Size – The earth size, rotational speed, atmosphere, and tilt are just right for life to exist on the earth.  If it were slightly different we would not be able to sustain life on earth.

3.  The moon – Without a moon that causes tides aerating oceans and oxygen for fish & plankton sea life would not be able to exist.  The tides also clean the oceans of trash and contaminates.  During the months following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico scientists watched carefully the raw crude oil that was in the water.  After about a year had gone by the ocean had self cleaned itself and life was returning back to normal.   The moon also acts as a shield protecting the earth from various space debris that come close to the earth in the solar system.

4. Water – Without water life would not exist.  When NASA sends spacecraft to other places within our solar system they look for the presence of water or ice.  Water covers about 70% of the surface of the earth.   In connection with the temperature and atmosphere the water cycle would not be possible and would not make plant and animal life possible on the land.

5. Oxygen – Oxygen is the most plentiful element on the earth.  It makes up about 90% of the earths total weight.   (In water and the atmosphere)  Oxygen is not only needed for animal life to breathe but in the upper atmosphere paired with a 3rd Oxygen molecule we have Ozone.  The Ozone layer helps protect the earth from harmful radiation from the sun.  You are probably familiar with oxygen and carbon-dioxide cycle, where plant life breathes in CO2 and give off O2.  Animal life breathes in O2 and breathes out CO2.  The earth had to be perfectly balanced between plant and animal life in order for both to survive.  This principle is called the Anthropic Principal.

6. Gravity – Gravity is the unexplained force in nature.  It is present all over the universe.  It controls the rotation of the planets around the sun and the rotation of the moons around the planets.  On a larger scale, it controls the movement of all the galaxies in the universe.  If Gravity was slightly different the sun would burn to fast and we not have a sun to heat the earth.

7. Lighting – Lightning happens on average about 100,000 times a day around the planet.  All plants need nitrogen as food to grow and when lightning strikes the earth it takes nitrogen from the air and deposits it in the soil.

8. Jupiter – Jupiter is the earth’s shield.  Because it is the largest planet in our solar system it acts similar to the moon as a shield protecting us from  comets, space debris, asteroids that may come in a path with the earth.  The large gravity of  Jupiter acts like a magnet and pulls these things towards Jupiter.

9. Galaxies – In order for life to be possible we must be in the right type of galaxy with the appropriate types of stars and heavenly bodies.  No only the right type of galaxy, but also the right place within the galaxy.

What happens when you try to assign a probability to all these factors.  Roger Penrose, professor at Oxford, says it is an impossibility because the number of digits would be greater than the total number of elementary particles in the know universe.  The level of precision dwarfs our human comprehension.

One objection to the idea that the solar system is fine-tuned and intelligently designed is that it only appears to be at the surface, but that evolution can explain for the illusion of design.  In other words, it only looks intelligently design, but in reality it is only how things have come to be.  Darwinian evolutionist say that just because we exist in the universe doesn’t mean that we are special and valued.They contend that if the tape of evolution were rewound through time that it is possible that something else may have evolved differently and they two would question there existence.  Too bad we don’t have access to that evolutionary tape.

Think about this example from apologist, Sean McDowell.  Imagine you purchase tickets to a football game.  Upon arrival at the stadium you find your seat and sit down to watch the game.  After talking for a while with your neighbors you slowly discover that everyone in your seat section is sitting in alphabetic order, and greater still after more investigation you learn that everyone in the whole stadium is seated alphabetically.  The uniqueness of this grand scheme demands an explanation.  Who did this?  Someone was playing with the computer perhaps?  Philosopher John Leslie uses a firing squad illustration.  Imagine you were standing before a firing squad of 50 gunmen.  The order is given to fire, but for some reason you are still alive and not shot.  Your survival demands an explanation and so does fine-tuning.

Another objection by atheist, Richard Dawkins who admits that there is no present natural explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe, but claims that hardly accounts for God.  Dawkins argues that accepting the design argument leads to “Who designed the designer?”  The problem with this argument is this, can science only accept things if they can explain them?  Or if they have explanations?  Science must come to a point that they accept what evidence they do have and deny the request for further proof.   For example; an archaeologist who finds a ancient object that looks like a arrow head or a tool for digging.  Even if she/he cannot explain the origin or the identity of the designer.  If the evidence for design is compelling she could not dismiss the design hypothesis.

Critics also argue that if the laws of physics were different then some other non-carbon based life form could have existed.  Besides being entirely speculative, many of the fine-tuning instances and arguments are not based or rely on being carbon-based.

This brings us to the second level at which you can look at intelligent design in the universe.  Why are the laws of physics defined as what they are?  Why is the expansion rate of the universe (the cosmological constant) what it is?  What about the 4 fundamental forces of nature?  (Gravity, Electromagnetic force, The strong and weak nuclear force)   Just as we see in DNA in life that there had to be a programmer to put in the code for life, where did the code for the laws of physics come from?

Darwinian evolutionists are trying to answer the intelligent design argument with the idea of the Multiverse or the Grand Design, which has been popularized by Stephen Hawking in his latest book entitled The Grand Design.  Using the standard model in physics and other theories, like string theory, they are attempting to take our universes laws of physics and show that it is basically nothing special in a realm where multiple universes exist.  Is your head hurting yet?  I will spend more time explaining this in a upcoming post.

As always, questions, comments, and discussions are welcome.


Is Humanity Determined or Do We Have Free Will?

October 21, 2011

DominosAs the title above asks  the question, is humanity determined or do we have free will?    The question might seem rather silly, and you may think you know the answer very quickly.  But, it is a very important question to answer, because Determinism is a natural outflow of Darwinian evolution.  We will look at the definitions and then discuss whether naturalists are actually living by what they believe.  By naturalist, I mean someone who holds a philosophical viewpoint according to which everything arises from natural properties and causes, and supernatural or spiritual explanations are excluded or discounted.  In naturalism there are no God or gods, no miracles, hidden forces that drive the universe, no souls or spirits, no inspired scripture or prophecies.   Just physical stuff that operates according to physical laws.

Determinism – The teaching that every event in the universe is caused and controlled by natural law.  Everything we say, do, and think has been predetermined by evolution and encoded into our DNA.

Free Will – The power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion

Are we Really Free?  Think about it, can we choose to hold the door open for someone, can we choose to love someone, can we make decisions based on intellect, reason,  and emotion?  I have found that in my discussions with naturalists that they want to claim that everything is determined, but only to a certain extent.  They claim that they can rise up above their predetermined selves and become free.   This is not how determinism works though, it’s either all or nothing with determinism.  Let me illustrate my statement with an example used by Greg Koukl of why it is either all or nothing.

It’s like a series of dominoes falling. When any particular thing happens in the physical universe we ask ourselves what was the domino before it that caused it? And what was the domino before that? You can chart that. This just points out that all physical systems are deterministic. Every single action is determined, brought by a prior physical action. Science is the discipline that is meant to discover those prior physical conditions so that if we recreate the prior physical conditions, if we set up the dominoes in the exact same way, they are going to fall in exactly the same way every single time.

Picture in your mind two lines of dominoes that are falling. And at the end of the line of dominoes is not another domino, but there is actually a human being, a person standing there right next to a cliff. What happens when the last domino falls and lands on our poor unsuspecting person at the end of the line of dominoes? Well, low and behold, just as every domino has fallen up until then, the last domino strikes the human being and he falls too, right over the cliff. Now, here is my question. Given that scenario, did that person jump off the cliff? The answer is no, of course not. He was pushed. What was he pushed by? A falling domino, a big one, adequate to shove him over the cliff.

Now, what if the person who fell over the cliff actually thought he jumped on his own. perhaps because he didn’t see the dominoes. Would he have done just as he thought? The answer is, of course no. The guy thought he jumped over the precipice but it was really a domino that pushed him.

On the physicalist view of the universe, everything is dominoes, whether you see them or not. Whether they are outside or inside, everything is dominoes. Sometimes we think we are jumping, but the fact is we are not. Instead, he fell because of prior physical conditions that were sufficient to cause the effect of us jumping one way or another. We are always pushed if there are only physical causes in the universe.

Determinism makes everything in life neither true or false, but just as the way things are determined to be.  The next time you get into a conversation with a person who believes in determinism, just simple remind them that according to their view, they are no more right in their belief of determinism as you are in your belief in free will and they are just wasting your time because after all, things are just as they were determined to think, say, and do.

Think about how we operate in life.  We do not live our lives by the rules of determinism, even the naturalists.  We have an internal barometer that helps us discern right from wrong and we make decisions based on that.  Our court system, like all others, is based on the premise that we are accountable for our actions.  Have you ever known anyone to be pronounced innocent based on the plea of determinism.  “Your honor and jury, I am innocent because it was my DNA that made me do it…”  Anyone who believes in determinism but doesn’t live their life like they belief is just being intellectually dishonest.

As always, questions, comments, and discussions welcome.