Monday, December 9, 2013

What the Heck is Etiology, and What Does it Have to Do with the Creation of Life, the Universe, and Everything?

Far more likely?  "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)

Etiology  (pronounced et-ee-ah-low-gee) is a term which derives from the Greek word "aitia" (cause) and "ology" (the study of); the spelling in Medieval Latin of aetiologia eventually mutated into the present-day variation. Etiology, then, is the study of causes, or, rather, the academic exploration of origins. (It is also a specific branch of medical science concerned with the causes and origins of diseases.) What, you might be wondering, does etiology have to do with Judeo-Christianity? Everything, because if God is not the Architect and Creator of the Universe (or Multiverse, as some believe), then some other valid, rational reason must account for the beauty, complexity, and diversity of our world, and for the mysteries of the great beyond in space.

I'm not a scientist (and I don't play one on TV), so I am going to address this matter as best I can from a layman's perspective, in language as simple, clear, and concise as I can manage.

The current, contentious debate as to the origin of life, the Universe, and everything revolves around the distinct possibilities of: (1) creationism; (2) intelligent design (ID); or (3) abiogenesis.
Creationism is the easiest to define, and the narrowest in scope: As understood by most persons, creationism is a belief in the literal account of creation as given in the Book of Genesis, which adamantly denies the scientific theories regarding evolution of life forms on Earth. (A variation on this ideology is called "scientific creationism," which attests that scientific evidence supports the creation account as given in Genesis.) Creationism is usually dogmatic, and often attempts to make science conform to doctrine, or dismisses scientific evidence altogether, when it does not conform to religious beliefs.

 All of the astronomical complexity and diversity of matter and antimatter balances, gravitational fields, variant temperatures, and orbits are held in perfect check by mere chance?! Yeah, right. Recent calculations have ascertained that the Universe is so precisely balanced and that it is maintained at a ratio so precise that it cannot allow for a deviation of anything more than lower than one part in one quadrillion (1, 000,000,000,000,000), and that the odds of it forming purely by undirected causes are calculated at mind-boggling near-impossibility. Mind you, those are simply the odds for it forming by chance, which doesn't even include calculating the odds that life developed by means of evolution, which would be staggeringly higher. 

 (The notion of the Multiverse argues that there are untold billions of other systems in existence, thus the odds exist that the conditions were just right for the formation of our Universe as one out of the many, many, MANY possible undirected combinations.)

Here are a few sites to check out for more information on the odds of the undirected formation of the Universe:

Intelligent Design (ID) is a more complex theory, and I think the most reasonable explanation of the three explored herein. ID theory contends that some complex biological structures and other aspects of nature show evidence of having been designed utilizing intelligence. (A pattern can be created randomly, as if paint drops on a floor form repetitive forms, but a design always implies a conscious mind at work.) These biological structures are said to possess intricate components which are so highly interdependent and so essential to a particular function or process that the structures could not have developed through Darwinian evolution; Darwinism (named for British naturalist Charles Darwin) is a biological concept which asserts that all pre-existent and existing animals and plants had and have developed by a process of gradual, continuous change from previously existing forms. (This theory is sometimes referred to as "descent with modification," and it constitutes the basis of organic evolution as it is widely taught today.) 

To complement and augment the UNPROVEN theory of Darwin's is the far more recent concept of the punctuated equilibrium, an idea put forth in an attempt to compensate for the embarrassing deficiencies in the logic AND evidence of Darwin's theory. In a nutshell, the "P.U." theory (it does stink) contends that species remain fairly constant in their forms and functions for millions of years, and then, for no justifiably known reasons,  the lengthy spans of time in which no evolutionary changes can be discerned in the fossil record are punctuated by periodic, rapid bursts of changes, the results of which involve new species being formed--yet leaving virtually nil fossils remaining to document or verify the sudden and extreme conditions which have fomented the newer life forms. Uh huh. (BTW, the online "Evolution Library," you will note for its entry on "P.U." theory, can only point to a SINGLE example which would correlate to the theory, out of all of the species on the planet for all of time.)

Darwin himself admittedly had been troubled by the LACK of EVIDENCE in the fossil record to substantiate his OWN theory, thus he chalked up the absence of evidence to support his claims  to the fossil record being incomplete. Riiiiight. Miraculously, the evidence which Darwinists require to support their contentions just so happens to be the evidence which is missing, but the rest of us should take their word that it DID exist at some time, even though they can't prove it? Wow---how utterly convenient for them; the irony of that absurd contention is that it is an inverse of Bertrand Russell's "teapot" argument, which is used by atheists to contend that it is not incumbent upon them to disprove the existence of God, and that theists (people of faith) are ridiculous if they base their beliefs on arguments which rely on evidence which cannot be proven to be true. 

In Russell's own words, for a 1952, never-published article commissioned by Illustrated  magazine, the staunchly elitist, atheistic British philosopher had argued:

"If I were to suggest that between Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving around the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion, provided I were careful enough to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time." (The reference to an inquisitor refers to agents of the Roman Catholic Church during the time of the Spanish and French Inquisitions, whom had both investigated and punished persons accused of spreading heretical doctrine which countered the official position of the church's teachings.)

To paraphrase Russell, however, Darwinists suggest there is a fossil record which could have existed to substantiate their claims, but they add the caveat that the record is too small to be seen even with the best of our research methods and technology, because the record is incomplete.But, despite the fact that their assertion cannot be proved, they go on to say that it is a tolerable presumption on the part of human reason to NOT doubt it, and that they should rightly NOT be thought to be talking nonsense. 

Got that? 
  • If atheists cannot prove the existence of the teapot, and if they continue to assert that it exists but simply can't be detected (since our telescopes are inadequate), they rightly should be considered crazy. 
  • If theists (people of faith) cannot prove the existence of God, and if they continue to assert that He exists but simply can't be detected (since our technology is limited to gauging the physical world, and not the metaphysical one, i.e., you can't ask God to step on a scale), they rightly should be considered crazy.
  • BUT, if Darwinists cannot prove the existence of evolution, and if they continue to assert that it exists but simply can't be detected (since the fossil record is incomplete), they rightly should be considered geniuses, and we should be considered crazy because we don't simply take them at their word that the fossil record which MIGHT prove their theories correct DID exist sometime in the past.
In short, according to the Darwinists, Jews and Christians make excuses, but atheists have reasons. Riiiight. A modern variation of Russell's teapot argument involves the parody religion known as Pastafarian, whose chief deity is the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), a being created by Bobby Henderson, in protest of ID theory being taught in schools----despite the fact it is a theory, the same as evolution; a theory is something which can be proven or disproven to be true, thus they are equally ripe approaches for consideration, as they BOTH involve examination of scientifically-collected data.

 Touched by His Noodly Appendage, a parody of The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, is a well-known, iconic image of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The FSM  emblem of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, is a parody of 
the Christian "ichthys" (fish) symbol.
Henderson's argument posits that, since ID theory does not specify or commit to which deity or supernatural beings are responsible for the creation of the Universe, it could be any sort of creature, as we are unable to discern the form of the creator(s).

 Darwinists, including famed atheist Richard Dawkins, subscribe to (or at least do not rule out) the belief that life begin on this planet due to a phenomena known as Panspermia, which is to say, they believe that aliens might have "seeded" or planted the most basic of life forms on our planet--single, self-replicating cells; see also the term  exogenesis. I kid you not.

The kicker? In Ben Stein's brilliant documentary, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," Dawkins asserts that it is possible that some unknown, unseen, unheard, unnamed creatures from parts unknown (he refers to them in the plural) could be the intelligent source behind life on this planet---but, interestingly, a God whom many have claimed to have known, seen, heard, called on by name, and who lives in the heavens could NOT be a possible source of intelligence responsible for life on this planet. (The Scriptures include the written TESTIMONIES of eyewitnesses to God and to His glory. A testimony is a legally-binding attestation of first-hand knowledge and accounts.) Even more preposterous is Dawkins' overly-confident, emphatic contention that even THOSE creatures MUST have evolved in a manner comparable to evolution on this planet----yet he has ZERO evidence on which to predicate, not a theory, but an assertion.

Got that?

Dawkins and other Darwinists CANNOT prove the theory of evolution as it is taught, thus they fall back on panspermic contentions that life began on our planet due to creatures whose evolution they cannot prove, let alone  ascertain their name, location, or even existence----but they want to fault theists as being nonsensical, non-scientists for contending to know the name of their creator, assigning Him a location, and asserting His existence. 

Dawkins states in the film that evolution is an incontrovertible scientific fact which is absolute; in essence, to quote that blowhard envrionMENTAList crook, Al Gore, Dawkins contends, "the science is settled"--despite the fact the fossil record is incomplete. Hmm. If something has been proven to be incontrovertibly true, then the percentage which Dawkins should have given Stein when asked about the possibility of there being a god should have been 100% against, because if one pens a book with the stated assertion that he intends to convert people to atheism, well, hadn't one better be absolutely certain one is correct? (There is a difference between improbable and impossible.)

Dawkins did not state his book The God Delusion was intended to invite people to consider weighing atheistic claims versus theistic ones---it flat out hopes to engender new atheists. Dawkins surely must be aware of Blaise Pascal's wager, in which the odds are 50/50 that there is or is not a God, thus it would be best to err on the side of caution and believe in God, since there is no harm or risk if one does not exist, but there could be eternal consequences if there is one in whom a person has chosen to disbelieve. Yet Dawkins' wager is 99+/1--hmm. Sounds like a fool's wager, yes?

My favorite part of the film, though, transpires when Stein very poignantly asks Dawkins why Dawkins believes that no belief in a god of any kind invites a sense of relief in people simply because Dawkins states he has received many letters attesting as much (to which Stein replies there are billions of people on the earth, asking how many letters could Dawkins have received). The scene is favored, not because of the poignant, simple brilliance of Stein's calm observation, but because Dawkins is a scientist, and he attempts to rely on anecdotal evidence instead of material data to substantiate his claim. Whoa!  The scientists who rely on arguments which fault theists for failing to produce material evidence do not, apparently, feel bound or beholden to the same set of rules which they prescribe for theists. 

Scientists only have access to physical instruments, therefore they are not in a position to ascertain the existence of a supernatural God if their only acceptable criteria involves physical data which cannot be collected from a supernatural being; it is the equivalent of attempting to use a hammer as a saw, or a speedometer to measure depths, because the equipment is not suited to the task-at-hand. Of course, many scientists believe they see the evidence for a Creator in the mechanics of the Universe, and the complexity, diversity, and beauty of the planet, which hearkens  to William Paley's argument about the watch and its maker (see below); we might never directly encounter or be personally introduced to the watchmaker, but we can enjoy and discern the existence of his handiwork as being proof of His own existence.)

One site succinctly notes the differences between creationism and ID proponents: "Although intelligent design is distinguished from creationism or creation science, belief in the biblical account of the creation of the world as described in Genesis, it does not rely on a strict, literal interpretation of the biblical account of creation; it is compatible with a belief in God, and is often explicitly linked with such a belief. Also, unlike creationists, its proponents do not challenge the idea that the earth is billions of years old, or that life on earth has evolved to some degree. The theory does, however, necessarily reject standard science's reliance on explaining the natural world only through undirected natural causes, believing that any theory that relies on such causes alone is incapable of explaining how all biological structures and processes arose." 

"Argument intended to demonstrate that living organisms were created in more or less their present form by an 'intelligent designer'. Intelligent design was formulated in the 1990s, primarily in the United States, as an explicit refutation of the Darwinian theory of biological evolution. Building on a version of the argument from design for the existence of God, proponents of intelligent design observed that the functional parts and systems of living organisms are 'irreducibly complex,' in the sense that none of their component parts can be removed without causing the whole system to cease functioning.  From this premise they inferred that no such system could have come about through the gradual alteration of functioning precursor systems by means of random mutation and natural selection, as the standard evolutionary account maintains; therefore, living organisms must have been created all at once by an intelligent designer [...] Critics of intelligent design argued that it rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of natural selection, that it ignores the existence of precursor systems in the evolutionary history of numerous organisms, and that it is ultimately untestable and therefore not scientific." 

The 18th Century English theologian William Paley is credited with the analogy which likens the Universe to a watch, which argues that, given the incredible complexity of the structures, for either to be able to function properly, it should be evident that a designer is involved in their creation.  Some of the objections to the analogy are preposterously illogical, relying exclusively on empirical experience instead of rational speculation (the sort of nonsense which paves the way for the inanity and perverseness embraced by Postmodernism), but there's no time to address them herein--perhaps in a future post. 

Suffice it to state that to contend that, somehow, all the parts of a precision watch (i.e., the Universe) managed to create themselves and then perfectly arrange themselves (and then maintain themselves) by mere chance is ridiculous--yet that pretty much sums up what abiogenesists believe.  (In  by the Stein film, he nods to Paley's postulate when he asks a small handful of scientists about the complexity of the Universe, to which one likens it to a space shuttle.)

Abiogenesis is the creed of the atheists who argue the supposed development of living organisms from non-living matter (also called autogenesis, meaning spontaneous generation). My favorite, simplest response to abiogenesis proponents is summed up quite nicely in the poster below. 

Put very simply, abiogenesis is the atheists' (absurd, untenable) argument that, somehow, life began out of non-life, meaning everything which exists somehow came into being out of nothingness, with no direct cause responsible the onset of life.

Interestingly, there are some who have argued that since abiogenesis is purely speculative---meaning that the same as creationism, it is a theory for which there are no recorded observations (as no mortal had been present at the time the Universe came into existence), and which is not reproducible in its  origin and results (meaning mere mortals have been unable to generate another world)---it shouldn't count as science any more than the theistic theory of creation.

Science REALLY is not my strong suit, but I am a reasonably logical individual; part of my problem with abiogenesis proponents is that they tend to assert the superiority of their atheistic THEORY as if it were incontrovertible FACT of the proof of the non-existence of God.

If you have seen Ben Stein's superb documentary which addresses the theories surrounding Intelligent Design (ID), "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," you would do well to consider the portion of the film in which one of the professors from Texas repeatedly and very condescendingly informs Stein that a reasonable explanation for abiogenesis is that new life began "on the backs of crystals," i.e., that the crystals had mutated and resulted in life from non-life. Yes, that is his argument, since that premise asserts that crystals are not alive--not even plasma crystals, which exhibit many of the characteristics traditionally identified as being possessed of life forms.

(For a hilarious music video which features, as dancing rappers, the most famous atheistic evolutionary biologist alive today, Richard Dawkins, as well as Charles Darwin and other atheist professors featured in Stein's film, click here. Dawkins is the author of "The God Delusion," a text which argues that belief in a supreme deity is actually a sign of an organic, mental deficiency. Uh huh. For a free e-version of Alister McGrath's and Joanna Collicutt-McGrath's response to it, click here for a download of "The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine".)

Okay, so...what are plasma crystals? Electrically-charged particles from non-organic "dust clouds" which organize themselves into crystalline lattices, i.e., helical patterns consisting of interconnected helices. Per the collected data by experts in the field, "Gravity plays a crucial role for the structure of plasma crystals." (Gravity is related to mass, and mass is related to matter, and matter cannot be created from nothing, thus plasma crystals also cannot be created from nothing. More on that later. )

A single helix structure

 Helices are common structures in roller coasters.

DNA consists of a double-helix form.

According to some scientists, organic, carbon-based life forms might have developed from inorganic matter: "[Plasmas] can also form under more down to earth conditions such as the point of a lightning strike. The researchers hint that perhaps an inorganic form of life emerged on the primordial earth, which then acted as the template for the more familiar organic molecules we know today."

 Scientists believe plasma crystals floating as space dust 
ice particles of Saturn's rings might be alien life.
For alternate scientific theories about etiological matters, click here.

Well, how are plasma crystals formed normally? By plasma conditions commonly found in the Universe (in space, not on earth), wherein interstellar (meaning "between stars") dust becomes electrically charged and begins to adhere in the formation of cohesive structures in a definite pattern of helices. Problem? Sort of a big one, in my humble estimation: Formed does not mean created, as something which is formed is assembled into a recognizable, coherent form (pattern or shape) out of pre-existing materials available. In other words, plasma crystals cannot be formed without the pre-existence of interstellar dust and electrical charges, since it is the combination of the two which result in the crystalline structures. 

(I can't even begin to fathom the concept of "dark plasma theory," but for a spiritual/scientific attempt to explain it, click here.)

 Science Lab's Recrystallization of a 2-D Plasma Crystal

 What are considered the four basic elements from which life might have spontaneously sprung, according to proponents of abiogenesis?


An alternate periodic table of elements has been devised, 
which gauges by  atoms, not mass. 
For links to interactive periodic tables, click here and here.

Abiogenesis proponents argue that, somehow, these four elements combined and had been activated by an energy source (perhaps lightning, as the argument goes), resulting in the creation of life from the primordial soup---but who made the soup?

Interestingly, these four elements make up 96.3% of the body mass of human beings, as well as a similarly large proportion of all other organisms on Earth. Of crucial consideration here? Mass. What is mass? Mass is the property of a body which causes it to have weight in a gravitational field. What causes gravity


What, me worry?

According to Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity (E=mc2), gravity is actually a 'warp' in space-and-time caused by the presence of matter--which means what? You can't have gravity without having matter. What is matter? That which has mass (weight) and occupies space. Can we create matter? Physics says you can't create energy from nothing, and matter is simply a form of compact energy.

Nothing from nothing leaves...nothing; you gotta have something, which you do, if you believe!

So we are left with the puzzle of:

1) Matter is that which has mass and occupies space.
2) Each of the four basic elements involved in abiogenic theory has mass (a specific weight which affects gravity).
3) The four basic elements, having mass and occupying space, are matter.
4) Matter cannot be created from nothing.

So...if we cannot create matter from nothing, then from where did the matter (four basic elements with mass) come in order to be animated by a non-theistic force, such as lightning? In short, someone had to create the INGREDIENTS to be activated in the soup, even if the soup begins to stir on its own by chance (else the lightning is the spoon, which, however, also needs to be created).

For an amazing, brief video clip of an electrical storm 
in Frankfurt, Germany, click here.
To see electricity's effect on organic matter, click here.
 Lightning? An electronic discharge released in the atmosphere. Oh, and lightning is concentrated nitrogen, which has mass. (The main component of lightning is electrons, and electrons have mass.) Once again, the ingredients/elements (matter) which are possessed of mass are struck by something else with mass--which is also matter, since lightning is static electricity. All of which means what?

NOW, abiogenesis proponents have to come up with a logical explanation to counter these facts:

1) Lightning has mass.
2) Lightning, having mass, is matter.
3) Matter cannot be created from nothing.

Hoo boy--the argument for spontaneous life, without a belief in a divine Creator, is that matter cannot be created from nothing, but matter (lightning) somehow animated matter (four basic elements)? From whence did the lightning and four basic elements derive, if they cannot be created from nothing? The theistic response, of course, is that God spoke everything into existence--and since God also creates both time and space (both included in Einstein's theory of relativity), God is apart from this framework, seated outside of the process--He is the Creator, not part of the Creation (in the same way the Potter is not part of the pot).

What are the odds that life could have been generated by chance? The article linked herein calculates it at impossible odds---until the author cheats by messing with the formula parameters to include a large pool of ribosomes to usher in even a remote possibility. What are ribosomes? Small round particles in a cell made up of ribonucleic acids (RNA) which are primarily involved in the assembly of proteins. (Oh, so-called "junk DNA" is not necessarily junk just because we haven't solved its purpose; it has been long believed that the appendix served no bodily function, and physicians have only recently discovered that it does. God does not make junk, mortals do!)

 "A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." (Ralph Waldo Emerson) "Weed" is a relative term, meaning something which is undesirable, but not necessarily useless.  Dandelions are the bane of many groundskeepers when they are unwanted on the green lawns, but they can be used to make wine and tea; they are also used clinically, to promote healthy liver and kidney functions. 
 And, in terms of mere aesthetics, in a field alone, they can be as sunny and uplifting as daffodils.

Okay, so how are they formed? Ribosomes are formed in the cytoplasm of prokaryotic cells. In eukaryotic cells, they are formed most often in the nucleolus. WAY over my head already, except for one pesky, interesting little detail. Ribsosomes and RNA are the chief components cited in arguments for abiogenesis at present, but it cannot be overlooked that they are formed in cells. What is a cell?

1. The structural, functional and BIOlogical unit of all organisms. ("Biology" means the study of LIFE.)

2. An autonomous self-replicating unit that may exist as functional independent UNIT OF LIFE (as in the case of unicellular organism), or as sub-unit in a multicellular organism (such as in plants and animals) that is specialized into carrying out particular functions towards the cause of the organism as a whole.

3. A membrane bound structure containing BIOmolecules, such as nucleic acids, proteins, and polysaccharides.

Whoa! In other words, life began spontaneously from life? All of the definitions for cell include "bio" in them, and cells all have mass (protons, neutrons, electrons) and occupy space, which means cells are matter---and matter cannot be created from nothing.

So now abiogenesis proponents are left trying to explain how ribosomes (which do not require DNA) created life from non-life when:

1) Ribosomes and RNA are created in cells.
2) Cells are matter.
3) Matter cannot be created from nothing.

Again, science is really not my cup of tea, but I think the circular logic of atheistic abiogenesis is a load of nonsense, because the argument always comes back to life supposedly being created by chance out of matter by matter (electricity), despite the fact that physics attests that matter cannot be created from nothing.

Is the Big Bang Theory inconsistent with the Judeo-Christian account of creation, or is it the means by which 
the Lord achieves creation? Big Bang Theory and ID are not mutually exclusive, since one pertains to the "how" of creation, and the other speaks to the "who" behind it.

Some scientists argue that spontaneous generation is only a part of a larger scientific debate revolving around what is called "the Big Bang Theory," in which matter and antimatter had collided, thus causing a chain of undirected events which has resulted in,, the Universe, and everything as we know it. Problem? Well, collisions require energy in order for the two substances to generate enough speed to smash into each other, and energy (E) is tied to mass (m), as indicated in E=mc2; antimatter also has mass, and physicists contend that matter actually is the byproduct of antimatter collisions, meaning matter is created out of antimatter. If matter cannot be created out of nothing (since it is said to be created out of antimatter), can antimatter be created out of nothing? And from where does the energy source derive which animates the antimatter to such an astronomical high speed that it would collide to create matter and release energy?

 Elements bond with one another, combining in variations to create life forms as we know them.

According to one site, "In the first seconds after the Big Bang, there was no matter, scientists suspect.  Just energy.  [More on "suspect" shortly.] As the universe expanded and cooled, particles of regular and antimatter were formed in almost equal amounts. But, theory holds, a slightly higher percentage of regular matter developed--perhaps just one part in a million--for unknown reasons [...] When matter and antimatter came into contact they annihilated, and only the residual amount of matter was left to form our current universe." 

Problem? Scientists declare that energy can neither be destroyed nor created, which, essentially means that it simply alters forms, sort of the same way which water can be liquid, vapor, or ice. (We can combine elements in a lab in order to form water, by bonding hydrogen and oxygen molecules together, but we cannot create water, because it must be formed by assembling pre-existent hydrogen and oxygen molecules, and assembly is not creation.) Another problem? The theory begins in the first seconds AFTER the Big Bang, thus it doesn't really pertain to an origin, merely a subsequent sequence of events, being consequence and not causation. (FYI: Energy, as defined by physics, is a thermodynamic quantity equivalent to the capacity of a physical system to do work.)

Okay, at any rate, NOW the argument is as follows:

1) Energy cannot be created by man (only harnessed or altered).
2) Only energy existed in the beginning.
3) Energy caused the Universe to expand and cool, forming antimatter and matter.
4) Antimatter and matter collided, annihilating each other, leaving a residue of matter.
5) The residue of matter created life, the Universe, and everything as we know it.

Huh? The Universe expanded and cooled to create the Universe? That's a little like saying I gave birth to myself. And how do scientists account for the existence of the initial energy, if we cannot create it? If the Universe (consequence) is created after the Big Bang (cause), then the Big Bang is the origin of the Universe. So what caused the Big Bang? Scientists and atheists have no explanation...but Jews and Christians have had an answer for centuries!

The abiogenesis argument explodes and collapses when scrutinized.
For some interesting, scientific reading on God's imprimatur in the cosmos, check out Hugh Ross' "The Fingerprint of God: Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator" and E.W. Bullinger's "The Witness of the Stars".

Regarding the supernatural, scientists very conveniently ignore the fact that you can't rely on the use of physical instruments of measurement to observe and record metaphysical beings, i.e., you can't expect God to step on a scale to prove He has mass, or have Him stand up against the door frame so you can take a ruler to measure His height, in order to determine how much space He occupies (weight and occupation of space = matter). Physical apparatus are inadequate to assess the realm of the metaphysical. 

But back to our word "suspect" as pertains to the atheistic explanation for the origins of life, the Universe, and everything as we know it. The term is actually quite accurate, because, as mentioned previously, abiogenesis is a theory which has never been observed or reproduced. Sir Francis Bacon is credited with formulating the process which led to what is known as the scientific method (the precursor is known as the Baconian Method), a process of evaluating scientific concepts and data in order to ascertain conclusions about the theories proposed, and it consists of several, ordered steps:

1) Pose a question. 
2) Conduct research.
3) Formulate a hypothesis.
4) Perform the experimentation.
5) Analyze the resulting data.
6) Draw a conclusion.

What part of abiogenesis meets this criteria? Abiogenesis atheists jump right from number one to number six (Is there a God? Nonsense!), because, of course, they cannot recreate the creation of life, the Universe, and everything as we know it--which would amount to a paradoxical situation wherein a box is created within a box of the same dimensions, able to exist within itself. (Not that the animated sci-fi TV series "Futurama" didn't have a poke at such an absurd concept in its episode entitled The Farnsworth Parabox.)

[Side note: Paranormal activities are another subject entirely, because they involve the supernatural or supranatural entering the realm of the natural; we cannot observe or measure God in person, since it would require our entry into the realm of the supranatural in order for us to be able do so. And, yes, I do believe in demons and spirits visiting the planet, for three main reasons:

(1) God expressly forbids consultation with "familiar spirits" (Deut 18:11), and He wouldn't bother to forbid something which couldn't be done; I wouldn't bother to forbid you to date my daughter or walk my dog if I didn't have a daughter or a dog.

(2) The witch of Endor summoned the spirit of the dead prophet Samuel at the request of King Saul's request.

(3) In the Book of Job, God asks Satan where he has been, and Satan replies that he has been visiting our planet: "And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. " (Job 1:7)]

CERN Hadron Super-Collider, built to conduct experimentation which might simulate the Big Bang conditions. Is that such a good idea, for man to try to assume the role of the Creator, God? 
Hmm. Scripture attests that life is the glory of God (Isa 43:1-7).
It also avers that He will not share His glory (Isa 42:8, Isa 48:11). 

Regarding the matter-antimatter argument, recent scientific experiments have FORMED antimatter in the lab....but they've had to use gold (which is matter) and lasers (which are energy, which is matter). Which means what? That, for these scientists, matter was necessary to FORM antimatter---but physics tells us we cannot CREATE matter, so we are right back to square one that abiogenesis proponents cannot explain how antimatter just happened to pop into existence in order to to create matter, in order to be spontaneously animated to create life; SOMEONE had to make the ingredients (four basic elements) and SOMEONE had to make the spoon (lightning) to stir the primordial soup created from the four basic elements.

On a related note, "the apparent asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the visible universe is one of the greatest unsolved problems in physics. The process by which this asymmetry between particles and antiparticles developed is called baryogenesis."

Okay, what of antimatter? What IS it? Per one source, "Simply put, antimatter is a fundamental particle of regular matter with its electrical charge reversed. The common proton has an antimatter counterpart called the antiproton. It has the same mass but an opposite charge. The electron's counterpart is called a positron. Antimatter particles are created in ultra high-speed collisions."

What do I get out of that? Antimatter is a type of matter particle, which has both mass and an electrical charge, albeit reversed (energy), which is created by a high-speed collision. But, once again, if physics attests that nothing cannot create something, then the abiogenesis proponents are STILL at a loss to explain the origin of antimatter.

Abiogenesis proponents point to the Big Bang Theory, in which it is alleged there was no matter present, only energy...or so goes the argument, recall: "In the first seconds after the Big Bang, there was no matter, scientists suspect. Just energy. " (Note that the article states that this occurs "at the beginning of time"--but God is outside of time and space, having created both, in the theistic view.)

But...matter IS energy, in a compacted form, thus matter would have to be present, in the FORM of energy, at the time of so the proposed Big Bang. Meaning what? From where did the compacted matter (energy) derive? Matter cannot be created from nothing, so if the Big Bang is the source of the creation of matter, but would be comprised of antimatter (in the compacted form of reversely-charged energy), then that would involve a form of matter creating matter...which STILL does not provide abiogenesis proponents with an explanation how the antimatter required for the Big Bang derived. 

An acquaintance called my attention to something rather remarkable; she averred that there is a reason why the Bible states that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psa 139:14) She reasons that the complexity of our bodies, a living working system, suggests a complex and supranatural creator. Psalm 33 talks about God being the one who created everything, how He spoke the word and all of life, earthly and heavenly, stood fast because of Him. All over the Bible are words about how God holds all life together.

 To view a microscopic sample of laminin, click here.

Laminin is a protein adhesion molecule--without it, our cells would literally not stick together without it. (She likened it to being the rebar of our bodies.) If you research laminin, you will see that its scientific diagram is a cross, because, when examined under a microscope, it is literally in the shape of a cross. Coincidence? Perhaps. FYI: The cross is not merely a New Testament association with the crucifix of Jesus of Nazareth, but also hearkens to the cross staff on which the Old Testament Passover lamb was to be displayed, with its entrails circling its head, much the same way Jesus is depicted with a crown of thorns on his head. It also nods to the brass serpent which Moses placed upon a staff to heal plagued ancient Israelites when wandering in the desert post-Mass Exodus from Egypt.)

Another Coincidence? Is there anything in Scripture which point to the existence of laminin, and that God exists outside the confines of time and space? Yup: " For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." (Colossians 1:16-17)

The invisible things? Possibly a reference to the supernatural, but also possibly indicating ultra-microscopic organisms, which are not visible to the naked eye. The Scriptures also state that the life is in the blood, and scientific equipment now enables researchers to determine that DNA both supports and reproduces life, and that oxygen is carried in the blood; science, or, rather, mankind, seems to just be catching up to God--but they'll never overtake Him.

A 17th Century French philosopher and mathematician  named Blaise Pascal is credited with a construct known as Pascal's Wager, in which, in a nutshell, the odds are given to be 50/50 that God either exists or He doesn't, therefore it is better to be on the safe side and believe in His existence than to be wrong and condemned for eternity, since there is no eternal ramification if you believe He exists but does not. In the debate between theists and atheists, therefore, the odds are 50/50 that God created the Universe, or that undirected, evolutionary abiogenesis is responsible for the world which we occupy; neither abiogenesis nor theistic creation can be proven outright, although the first is given more respect as a scientific theory, and the second is disparaged as an ideological delusion---not too biased, hmm?

Occam's Razor (named for a 14th Century Franciscan friar and logician named William of Ockham, a province of Surrey, England) involves a philosophical construct in which the simplest answer is most probably the correct solution, or, to make it simpler, it is the "K.I.S.S." rule; Keep It Simple, Stupid. (It is also called "the law of parsimony," rendered in its original Latin as, "Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem," which is to say, "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.") Atheists contend that the invention of a deity is the introduction of an unnecessary element in the formula, but that is a fundamentally flawed assertion, because of the 50/50 rule as the starting point from which the debate flows. Moreover, theists have only a single source to which to point, but atheists have to come up with all sorts of explanations for undirected, spontaneous generation.

Applying Occam's Razor to the debate, the Judeo-Christian explanation for life, Universe, and everything?

(1) God (outside of time and space, both of which He created) spoke the Universe into existence.

The atheistic, evolutionary abiogenesists' argument for life, the Universe, and everything?

(1) SOMEHOW, SOMETHING existed before the Big Bang;
(2) SOMEHOW, the Big Bang is initiated by SOMETHING, which results in the creation of antimatter and matter;
(3) SOMEHOW, antimatter and matter generated enough energy to build up astronomical speeds in order to collide, annihilating both, but leaving a disproportional residue of matter;
(4) SOMEHOW, the residual matter (possibly the four basic elements) is animated by SOMETHING (possibly lightning), which itself SOMEHOW came into being;
(5) SOMEHOW, the animated basic elements mutated into organic (carbon-based) life;
(6) SOMEHOW, the organic soup mutated into EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE, FOR ALL OF TIME.

Hmm. This one sure seems easy enough to call, doesn't it?

(This scenario does not offer an explanation as to how life is generated from non-life, nor does it offer an explanation as to how anything existed prior to the Big Bang theorized. Charles Darwin,  championed by atheistic biologists today, wrote the text on which they assert their contentions. Problem? The book dealt with "the origin of the species," and it NEVER addresses a theory as to the origin of life, merely ruminating, instead, on how speciation occurs once life had been created. In other words, it is a "cheat," because it begins with step 2, which pertains to formation, not creation.)

Occam's Razom can best be summed up in Sherlock Holmes' assertion to his trusted companion, Dr. John Watson: "Elementary." Holmes meant the simplest, clearest explanation is often predicated on observation of fundamental or essential phenomena. Actually, it is another phrase associated with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's literary hero which triggered my disbelief in abiogenesis, that taken from the Silver Blaze mystery, about "the dog that didn't bark".  That aspect of the crime being investigated was an important clue that led to identifying the criminal, as the murderer entered and exited the estate grounds one night, but, by all accounts, without the guard dog barking an alarm alerting the residents to the alleged intruder's presence. From this "non-event," Holmes had rightly reasoned that the dog must have known the killer, and that clue eventually led to solving the case. 

The cursory research I've done as a layperson "barked" loudly that Darwinist accounts were not adding up, therefore some glaring deficiencies in the arguments put forth tipped me off that there was more than met the eye in the tale being spun by evolutionary biologists; if what is impossible is removed from an argument, then what remains must be true, however improbable. However unlikely belief in a Creator might seem, it is still probable, and therefore still possible---which Dawkins confirms himself, no less, when he refuses to put 100% on the percentage of non-existence of a deity as creator of the Universe and life on this planet.

The classic, textbook definition of Neo-Darwinism is that all of life evolved over time from a single common ancestor, a cell which managed to reproduce itself, succeeded by mutations over time, resulting in the diversity of life, the Universe, and everything as we know it; I think the Judeo-Christian explanation offers a more credible possibility, and it involves real hubris to believe that humans are capable of unlocking all of the mysteries of the Universe: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1 Corinth 2:9)

Even the pagan, Grecian philosophy of logocentrism (logos = word) asserts that language creates reality (the word is central to creation), which is the principle on which all contract law is predicated, which is why a man's word worldwide has been considered his bond--once you agree to a thing, it is intended to create the reality of it being fulfilled. And how does the world come into existence? The Lord SPOKE it into existence--"Let there be light"...and there was light.(Genesis 1)

When Jesus encounters the Roman centurion with the sick servant, he tells Jesus not to bother to visit his home, but to simply command the healing, because men of authority issue orders, and they are executed faithfully by dutiful soldiers. In William Shakespeare's drama Julius Caesar, a man is condemned to die, and is not killed immediately, because those around him assert that he is as good as dead soon enough because it had already been decreed; language DOES create reality, and God created ours.

Yes, scientists have a LOT of catching up to do with the Bible; the knowledge that the wind travels in circuits across the surface of the planet wasn't confirmed by scientists until the 1950s, but Scripture attests as much centuries earlier. (Ecclesiastes 1:6)

Life from non-life? I'm not buying it. 

 Science can point to examples involving minute changes within species over time, the incontestable definition of evolution; what science never has been able to do is point to conclusive, irrefutable evidence which demonstrates that ALL life forms evolved from a common, ancestral life form.

As far as concerns evolution, I'm not buying into that theory either, in terms of being a wholesale application to all life on the planet.    (Mind you, a belief in God does not negate a belief in the possibility of evolution, as the one pertains to cause and the other to consequence. I simply disbelieve in evolution AS IT IS TAUGHT.) 

Neo-Darwinists don't merely argue that pre-existing species evolved into variations of the same life forms today (i.e., that certain types of winged creatures evolved from pre-historic birds or reptiles in contemporary versions), but that ALL life EVERYWHERE on the planet evolved from the SAME common ancestor, the animated primordial soup--which is just an absurd step too far to make the argument, in my book. 

If I draw two drums on the board, then I explain to my students the difference in cultural anthropology of the two competing ideologies as to the spread or development of comparable artifacts or phenomena in disparate cultures, which, in academia, are referred to commonly as the theories of "parallel emergence" and of "cultural diffusion". Very simply, the two concepts can be defined with the demonstration of  similar--possibly even identical--drums.

Drum "A" is created by a man in Africa; it is made of tanned animal hide and a hollowed tree stump, and decorated with a pattern of dots and zigzags on it.

Drum "B" is created by a woman in a Native American culture; it is made of tanned animal hide and a hollowed tree stump, and decorated with a pattern of zigzags and dots on it.

In the theory of cultural diffusion, drum A would have been originated in Africa, and one would be able to trace the use of it in cultures which migrated from Africa eventually reaching North America, because it would appear in numerous locations at specific time intervals which would show that it first was used at site X one year, then site Y further along the trail the year after that, and finally at site Z in the years subsequent to its appearance at sites X and Y---a simple follow-the-dotted-lines-on-the-map sort of pattern, in which the culture of Africa spreads or "diffuses" to other cultures which adopt the African drum-making technique and decoration.

In the theory of parallel emergence, the prototypes for the drums pop up in both Africa and North America around the same time, with zero record of migration indicating the adoption of shared practices; they have developed, almost simultaneously, the techniques and decorations adopted, meaning they are unrelated cultural developments.  Long story short, drum A may very well resemble drum B, but they are not related, because similar is not synonymous with related, as they have no direct connection to one another. In other words, I might encounter my doppleganger--someone looking astounding similar to how I look--but that does not mean we are related. So the fact that I, as a human being, might share a good deal of DNA in common with chimps (we have similar DNA structure) does NOT necessarily equate with our being related to one another.

A sassy monkey strikes a pose...and some others get quite cheeky!
(Interestingly, recent studies have LOWERED the amount of shared DNA traits between humans and chimps, because the greater the increase in scientific ability to scrutinize our cells at microscopic levels, the more differences they note, meaning the precision of our instruments determines our notions of similarity, just as billboards might seem similar when viewed in the distance, but the more closely they come to be near us and the sharper in focus they become,  the greater number of disparities are revealed.)

But the MOST important aspect which scientists (and people in general) tend to overlook is that it is the DIFFERENCE which makes the difference; consider the fact that the difference between male and female chromosomes is a mere fractional "leg" of the XX for females, rendered as XY for males. (XX has eight interlocking parts at the axis of the two letters, and XY has seven interlocking parts at their central axes)--a mere one-eighth of a difference, and what a difference it makes!

The BEST example I like to provide to my students why I am NOT descended from an ape (as is sometimes mistakenly taught) makes use of the difference as being the determinant factor:

If you have eggs, flour, butter, and milk, you have bread...but if you add ONE ingredient, sugar, then you have cake....and any child can tell you that those two foods are nowhere near to being the same thing. Moreover, if you simply add ONE ingredient to bread--yeast--you get an entirely different result.

(Food for thought!)

For an entire text devoted to the "signature" of a creator on even the minutest scale of existence, see, e.g., Stephen C. Meyer's "Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligence Design". (Meyer is the "cheeky," Seattle-based scientist in Stein's film, and is a senior fellow and Director of Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, also featured in Stein's film. I've heard him interviewed on Coast to Coast A.M.---he's a flipping genius, very personable, and easy to follow.)

Oh, the name of the Darwinian text which sets the whole evolutionary argument into spin? On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in The Struggle for Life. Say what? Yes, it is principally concerned with speculating how sexual selection and adaptation to environment would ensure the "survival of the fittest" of human populations. (Said text, paired with Darwin's The Descent of Man, argues that the peoples of the African and Australian continents were worthy of being wiped off the face of the planet; Darwin was a racist, elitist: see, e.g., Alex Jones' documentary, "Endgame," especially from 1:29 to 1:41.) Can one point to an example in history which might undermine the pretext of his theory? Absolutely, especially as Neo-Darwinism proclaims the inflexible belief about the universal application of evolution to all life forms everywhere throughout all of time based on Darwin's observations of some of the life forms in the Galagapos Islands, per his voyages as a naturalist assigned to the HMS Beagle.

 Scientists are proven to be incorrect all the time, because their theories are limited, in part, by what they can observe using the equipment and materials available to them at the time; flawed scientific precepts are corrected by subsequent scientists to whom the original theories did not seem perfectly sound.

An example of Darwin's flawed approach. When the white colonists and pioneers had migrated to this continent, they had been grossly outnumbered by the Native American population. Over time, the effects of murder and death resulting from diseases brought by the Caucasian population (already exposed, for centuries to the culprit microbes) had infected the natives who did not have immunity developed to resist said diseases (such as smallpox), which resulted in the decimation of the native population by approximately 95% in America. 

Because, in part, of the deaths of so many natives, the Europeans imported blacks from Africa and brought them here to work the land and to repopulate the new world's slave demographic. What if Darwin, having no knowledge of events prior to his existence and encounters here,  had come along and observed that blacks were common in America, and natives were not? He might reckon that the natives were biologically inferior to the blacks, if he were not aware that the African population is not indigenous to this continent. And what of the coexistence of the African descendants and the Caucasian, Europeans descendants? How would a "survival of the fittest" construct determine if blacks or whites would be the superior race? Would it be predicated on sheer size of each population? Or by physical and mental attributes? At present, this much is known of the slave trade demographics:

"Scholars estimate that about 12,000,000 Africans were sold by Africans to Europeans (most of them before 1776, when the USA wasn't yet born) [...] in 1860 there were 385,000 USA citizens who owned slaves, or about 1.4% of the white population (there were 27 million whites in the USA). That percentage was zero in the states that did not allow slavery (only 8 million of the 27 million whites lived in states that allowed slavery)." And there were 4 million black slaves accounted for in the 1860 U.S. Census.

In 1860, the U.S. population is estimated to be 27 million whites, with 4 million black slaves; if survival of the fittest were applied by Darwin based on a mere observation of statistical inequity, he could (erroneously) make the argument that, since they outnumbered blacks by nearly 800% on the continent, whites are superior to blacks--a scientific assertion which would not account for non-biological reasons resulting in the disparity of the populations. Just as Darwin could not have existed everywhere at all times and observed everything, it is folly to predicate an adamant theory that all life falls under a rubric per the observations made of a limited number of life forms, by a lone individual, in a specific period of time, at a specific little area of the world--which is precisely what Neo-Darwinism does. (And Darwin was wrong in other areas, too.)

(Oh, and an interesting side note about the cosmos is that some astronomers believe they have accurately dated the birth of Jesus of Nazareth---how 'bout them apples? )

Here are additional sites which speak to the debate, worth checking out:

Lee Strobel's "The Case for a Creator" (1 hr. documentary)
"Privileged Planet" (1 hr. documentary about Earth)
The Darwin Awards
Stephen Shapin's "The Darwin Show
The ID Report: Expelling the Outrage-Hitler and Darwin 
Connecting Hitler and Darwin (David Berlinski is one of the scientists featured in Ben Stein's documentary: He has also written a book to accompany the film. Amongst many others, he has also penned another text, by name of "The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions," an allusion to Richard Dawkins' text, "A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love".)
Richard Weikart "From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (author is featured in Stein's film)
"Expelled Exposed" (Debates the accuracy of Stein's film.)

(Whew--I am all "scienced out"!)

AND NOW, for something completely different, click here.


P.S. Don't forget: Evolutionists do NOT contend that man is descended from apes, as the cartoon above suggests. Rather, Charles Darwin had contended that men and apes descend from a common ancestor which split off and then the mutations progressed along the separate lines.

EVOLUTION: Three Worthwhile Quotations
(1) “Often, a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have devoted myself to a fantasy [postulating a theory of evolution].”(Charles Darwin, the 19th Century theologian who popularized evolutionary theory.)

(2) “A whole age of scientific endeavor has been wasted searching for a phantom (the proof for evolution, i.e., the missing link). It is time we stopped and looked at the facts! Natural sciences have failed to supply any evidence for Evolution. Christian philosophy has tried to accommodate this unproved postulate of materialist philosophies. Much time and intellectual effort have gone in vain,leading only to negative moral consequences. It is time we told those working in the humanities the truth: There is no evidence for evolution.” (Gerard J. Keane, B.A. and M.A. in forestry as it relates to genetics; a Ph.D. in plant physiology;and a Ph.D. in genetics; from Creation Rediscovered, by Gerard J. Keane)

(3) “If I knew of any Evolutionary transitionals (links showing that there was atone time an intermediate form of a current species type), fossil or living, I would certainly have included them in my book, Evolution.” (Colin Patterson,Senior Paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, which houses over 60 million fossils.)

This web page was made to complement a scholarly essay requisite to HUHI 6305:Ideas in Context-Theories of Evolution.

Required Textbooks and Materials

Arthur O. Lovejoy,The Great Chain of Being
Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

No comments:

Post a Comment