Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lee Spetner explains why natural selection can't produce macroevolution.


Lee Spetner, author of Not By Chance! and The Evolution Revolution, explains why natural selection can't produce macroevolution.

For the grand process of evolution to work, long sequences of “beneficial” mutations must be possible, each building on the previous one and conferring a selective advantage on the organism. The process must be able to lead not only from one species to another, but to the entire advance of life from a simple beginning to the full complexity of life today. There must be a long series of possible mutations, each of which conferring a selective advantage on the organism so that natural selection can make it take over the population. Moreover, there must be not just one, but a great many such series.

The chain must be continuous in that at each stage a change of a single base pair somewhere in the genome can lead to a more adaptive organism in some environmental context. That is, it should be possible to continue to climb an “adaptive” hill, one base change after another, without getting hung up on a local adaptive maximum. No one has ever shown this to be possible.

Now one might say that if evolution were hung up on a local Maximum, a large genetic change like a recombination or a transposition could bring it to another higher peak. Large adaptive changes are, however, highly improbable. They are orders of magnitude less probable than getting an adaptive change with a single nucleotide substitution, which is itself improbable. No one has shown this to be possible either.

Moreover, as I have noted in my book, the large mutations such as recombinations and transpositions are mediated by special enzymes and are executed with precision - not the sort of doings one would expect of events that were supposed to be the products of chance. Evolutionists chose the mechanism of randomness, by the way, because we can’t think of any other way beneficial mutations might occur in the absence of a law that might govern them. Genetic rearrangements may not be really random at all. They do not seem to qualify as the random mutations Neo-Darwinists can invoke whenever needed to escape from a local adaptive Maximum.


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Differences in early embryonic development provide evidence that the animal phyla did not share a multicellular common ancestor.


Many scientists believe that by studying embryonic development in living animals, they can learn about the animal's long extinct ancestors. An example of this can be found in the document 15 EVOLUTIONARY GEMS: A resource from Nature for those wishing to spread awareness of evidence for evolution by natural selection. by Henry Gee, Rory Howlett and Philip Campbell. This document was published by the prestigious scientific journal Nature, in January 2009. In this document, the authors say that studying the development of the neural crest in embryos of living organisms "casts light on the evolution of structures in the heads and necks of animals long extinct."

New techniques have allowed researchers to label and follow individual cells as embryos develop. They have revealed the boundaries of the bone derived from the neural crest, down to the single-cell level, in the neck and shoulders. Tissue derived from the neural crest anchors the head onto the front lining of the shoulder girdle, whereas the skeleton forming the back of the neck and shoulder grows from a deeper layer of tissue called the mesoderm.

Such detailed mapping, in living animals, casts light on the evolution of structures in the heads and necks of animals long extinct, even without fossilized soft tissue such as skin and muscle. Skeletal similarities that result from a shared evolutionary history can be identified from muscle attachments. This allows the tracing of, for example, the location of the major shoulder bone of extinct land vertebrate ancestors, the cleithrum. This bone seems to survive as part of the shoulder blade (scapula) in living mammals.

...

Matsuoka's study shows how a detailed analysis of the morphology of living animals, informed by evolutionary thinking, helps researchers to interpret fossilized and now-extinct forms.

This excerpt explains that because of the shared evolutionary history of modern animals and their fossilized ancestors, scientists can tell which fossilized bones had developed from neural crest cells.

If this is true and the embryonic development of living animals reflects the embryonic development of their long extinct ancestors, then certain evidence from embryology provides evidence that the animal phyla did not descend from a multicellular common ancestor.

According to the theory of evolution by natural selection, as organism evolved they developed more complex features. Therefore the oldest ancestors will be much simpler than modern animals. The embryos of the simple ancestors would not develop the complex features of modern animals. Therefore the embryonic development of an organism and its ancestors should start out the same but then diverge at the point in development where features in the modern animal but absent in the ancestor cause changes in the development of the embryo. But if the embryos of two animals start out embryonic development differently, then the two animals should not have shared a multicellular common ancestor.

In the first stages of embryogenesis in multicellular animals, the fertilized egg goes through a series of cleavages to form a hollow ball of cells called a blastula, then the cells migrate to form a multi-layered gastrula. However, vertebrates and insects don't form a gastrula in the same way. The pattern of migration of their cells from the blastula to the gastrula is different. In fact, vertebrate and insect embryos don't even form a blastula in the same way. The fertilized egg in vertebrates and insects go through a different pattern of cleavage while forming blastulas. In vertebrates and insects, starting at the very beginning of embryogenesis their embryos form differently.

If it is true that embryonic development of an organism reflects the embryonic development of the organism's ancestors, as indicated by the excerpt from Nature above, then the difference in blastulation and gastrulation in vertebrates and insects shows that the embryos of their earliest multicellular ancestors developed differently and therefore could not have been the same organism. But it is not just vertebrates and insects in which the initial stages of embryogenesis are different. Most of the animal phyla also have unique patterns of early embryogenesis. This is evidence that the animal phyla did not share a common multicellular ancestor.

This conclusion is consistent with the fossil evidence showing that the animal phyla that first appeared in the Cambrian explosion did not have ancestors.

The absence of common ancestry falsifies evolution by natural selection but is predicted by intelligent design.

The study of regulatory genes that control embryonic development also supports this view. Homologus genes that control the embryonic development of analogous structures is better explained by intelligent design than by evolution by natural selection.


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Homologous genes that regulate the development of analogous structures are better explained by intelligent design than natural selection.


There are many genes that have been discovered which regulate embryonic development in animals. Similar versions of some of these genes are found in different phyla where they regulate similar structures that are thought to have "evolved" independently. These homologous genes that regulate analogous structures might encourage the Darwinist to reconsider whether those structures might actually be homologous due to common ancestry. However, in consideration of the evidence that the animal phyla do not have common ancestors, these "homologies of process" are better explained as evidence of intelligent design, where the designer reused the same control mechanism for the development of similar structures in unrelated organisms.

Examples of structures that evolved independently but are controlled by the same genes include:

  • The anterior-posterior axis in vertebrates and flies.1

  • The vertebrate and insect eyes.1

  • Gastrulation in vertebrates and insects1

  • The insect and vertebrate hearts.1

  • The nematode vulva, the mammalian epidermis, and the Drosophila terminal segments.1

  • The body axes and limbs in vertebrates and drosophila.1

  • "Mammals, urochordates, sea urchins, insects, annelid worms, and onycophorans, all use a similar regulatory gene to control limb growth. But they have radically different types of limbs, making this either a case of radically extreme "convergent evolution" or simple common design."2

Notes:


  1. Resynthesizing Evolutionary and Developmental Biology

    REVIEW

    Resynthesizing Evolutionary and Developmental Biology

    Scott F. Gilbert,*,1 John M. Opitz,† and Rudolf A. Raff‡

    ...

    Three major groups (E. B. Lewis and D. S. Hogness in California; W. Gehring in Basel; T. Kaufman in Indiana; and their respective students) used the new molecular techniques to isolate and sequence these genes, and they discovered a remarkably stable region: a 180-bp consensus sequence called the ‘‘homeobox.’’ It appeared that the genes responsible for homeotic transformations were themselves homologous.

    ...

    These genes were said to be homologous, and since the homeotic genes appeared to create the anterior–posterior axis in flies, it was speculated that the same genes might create the anterior–posterior axis in humans. To some, this idea seemed bizarre.

    ...

    In the 1990s, the use of homologous recombination to functionally delete homeotic genes in mice enabled numerous laboratories to see what happened when vertebrates lacked one or more of these genes. The results demonstrated that these genes controlled the formation of the anterior–posterior axis in vertebrates as well as in flies

    ...

    The segmentation of Drosophila and the segmentation of vertebrates had been a classic example of analogy. Yet, here it was seen as being directed by a homologous set of genes.

    ...

    The insect eye and the vertebrate eye are two examples of structures said to be analogous. However, they can be shown to both be based on the expression of the Pax-6 gene (Quiring et al., 1994), and it is probable that the vertebrate and insect (and cephalopod) eyes are the modified descendents of a basic metazoan photoreceptive cell that was regulated by Pax-6.

    ...

    Similarly, the Xenopus gene chordin and the Drosophila gene short-gastrulation have similar sequences and expression patterns, and they act similarly in vertebrate and insect gastrulation (to counter the lateralizing effects of BMP-4/decapentaplegic). Even though the types of gastrulation do not appear similar to any marked degree, the genes controlling them may be homologous (Francois and Bier, 1995; Holley et al., 1995). Similarly, the heart of vertebrates and the heart of insects have hardly anything in common except their ability to pump fluids. Yet, they both appear to be predicated upon the expression of the same gene, Csx/tinman (see Manak and Scott, 1994).

    ...
    [The] same system has been found to exist in the determination of the nematode vulva, the mammalian epidermis, and the Drosophila terminal segments. The similarity in these systems is so striking that many of the components are interchangeable between species. The gene for human GRB2 can correct the phenotypic defects of sem-5-deficient nematodes, and the nematode sem-5 protein can bind to the phosphorylated form of the human EGF receptor (see Greenwald and Rubin, 1992; Gilbert, 1994b). The process is thus historically (specifically) homologous between species (Drosophila retina/nematode vulva) and serially homologous within species (Drosophila retina/Drosophila acron and telson).

    ...

    In vertebrates, there are several homologues to wingless, namely, the wnt proteins; the homologue to zest-white 3 is glycogen synthase kinase 3b (GSK-3b); and there are numerous hedgehog analogues, such as sonic hedgehog. In vertebrates, the wingless–hedgehog system is thought to be needed for producing the body axes (as in Drosophila) and the limbs (as in Drosophila).

    ...

    Recently, several laboratories have shown that the same proteins that generate the insect leg also generate the vertebrate limbs.

    ...
    Few people would have expected that a similar situation would exist for another embryological field—the vertebrate limb field. After all, here is the classic example of analogy as opposed to homology. The insect and vertebrate legs share the same function, but that’s about it. The insect leg forms from the telescoping of the ectodermal imaginal disc. The vertebrate limb forms from the reciprocal induction of the Apical Ectodermal Ridge, the mesodermal Progress Zone mesenchyme, and the mesodermal Zone of Polarizing Activity.

    This section is particularly illustrative of why evolutionary biology is really just a house of cards:

    The insect eye and the vertebrate eye are two examples of structures said to be analogous. However, they can be shown to both be based on the expression of the Pax-6 gene (Quiring et al., 1994), and it is probable that the vertebrate and insect (and cephalopod) eyes are the modified descendents of a basic metazoan photoreceptive cell that was regulated by Pax-6.
    A basic metazoan photoreceptive cell is only "probable" if you assume insects and vertebrates had a common ancestor. But the evidence shows that there is no common ancestor to vertebrates and insects and so there cannot be a common ancestor (a basic metazoan) that had a photoreceptive cell. But evolutionists assume that all animals have a common ancestor and then they use that to explain observed phenomena. As these explanations accumulate they claim evolution is supported by masses of evidence... but that evidence is based on assuming what they are trying to prove.

    Another interesting point is that these regulatory genes have been so highly conserved over hundreds of millions of years that some are interchangeable between phyla, yet they are responsible for embryonic development in animals that are supposed to have evolved during that time. Species are different because they develop as embryos differently. These differences are not just differences between phyla but between species within phyla. If differences between phyla and species within phyla are due to evolution, one should expect to find differences in the genes that control embryonic development. However, if organisms were designed, one would expect to see identical parts used in different systems.

    One of the evolutionist explanations for the Cambrian explosion is that new genetic information was not needed because the changes in body plan were caused by changes in regulatory genes. That seems doubtful given that regulatory genes seem to be so highly conserved that some are interchangeable between phyla.

    Yet ironically, the last section of the article includes this:

    The homologies of process within morphogenetic fields provide some of the best evidence for evolution.

    In fact, the homologies of process provide some of the best evidence for intelligent design.

  2. Casey Luskin at evolutionnews.org writes:
    But the case for intelligent design in limb-bud controlling genes gets stronger when one realizes that the same regulatory genes are used to control limb growth in organisms far more diverse than vertebrates: mammals, urochordates, sea urchins, insects, annelid worms, and onycophorans, all use a similar regulatory gene to control limb growth. But they have radically different types of limbs, making this either a case of radically extreme "convergent evolution" or simple common design. (See Paul Nelson and Jonathan Wells, "Homology in Biology," in Darwinism, Design, and Public Education (Michigan State University Press, 2003), pg. 316.) As plant geneticist from the Max Plank Institute, Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, wrote in Dynamical Genetics, "No theorist in evolutionary biology will ever derive chicken and insects from a winged common ancestor, and yet, clearly related sequences are specifically expressed in wing buds and imaginal disks."


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Monday, September 15, 2014

Video: Darwinism on Trial with University of California Berkley law professor Phillip E. Johnson


Darwinism on Trial, is a video with University of California Berkley law professor Phillip E. Johnson author of the book Darwin on Trial.


The video discusses some of the problems with Darwinism and also how Darwinists control the debate on natural selection. As a law professor, Johnson's area of expertise is debate and rhetoric and in this video he brings clarity to the debate on Darwinism.

For example, Johnson points out how Darwinists often use shifting definitions when making arguments. Darwinists will assert that science disproves the biblical account of creation and then act as if they have refuted all other possible modes of creation. Darwinists also point to evidence of microevolution as proof of evolution and then incorrectly claim macroevolution is proved.

Another example of poor logic Darwinists use is the argument from analogy to artificial selection. Darwinists incorrectly use examples from artificial selection as proof of macroevolution by natural selection. Artificial selection, such as breeding different types of dogs, uses the variations that currently exist in the gene pool, and therefore has a very limited ability to create changes in a species. Macroevolution involves major changes to an organism like the evolution of an organ such as an eye or a substantial change in an animal type such as the evolution from a land mammal to a whale. Macroevolution requires huge amounts of new genetic information which is a completely different mode of evolution than artificial selection which uses existing genes. Furthermore, artificial selection is not "natural" it is accomplished by intelligence and is purposeful.

Another flaw in Darwinism which Johnson points out is that mutations often have multiple effects. When trying to understand how some feature of an organism evolved, a Darwinist will propose that a mutation occurred as a first small step toward that feature and provided a survival advantage. Johnson says that this type of hypothetical speculation ignores the fact that most mutations have multiple effects and some may reduce the survival advantage so this speculation is not logically valid. But Darwinists accept their brand of logic because they have already assumed the truth of what they are trying to prove so they know there must have been beneficial mutations because the feature exists and must have arisen through natural selection.

Johnson lists four flaws in the theory of evolution by natural selection:

  1. You don't know if the necessary mutations will arise in the right order at the right time.
  2. Artificial selection is not natural selection.
  3. Mutations have multiple effects so beneficial mutations are unlikely.
  4. The fossil record is not consistent with what you would expect if evolution by natural selection is true.

Natural selection requires step by step gradual changes over long periods of time but the fossil record shows stasis over millions of years through environmental changes and there is an absence of transitional fossils. When your theory requires small step by step changes over long periods of time and you have millions of years of stasis with no evidence of transitions, you ought to realize your theory is wrong.

The missing transitions can't be explained by saying the fossil record is incomplete. There are millions of years of fossils that show stasis when they should be showing gradual change. Natural selection requires many small changes each providing a selective advantage. A key feature of natural selection, the engine that makes it work, is that these changes provide a selective advantage that cause them to become predominant throughout the population. This is important because beneficial mutations are rare and if you want a sequence of mutations to occur, each new mutation has to become predominant through out the population. This is necessary to provide a large enough population with one mutation for another mutation to become probable within that population. If the engine of Darwinism was really the cause evolution, the fossil record would show gradual change not millions of years of stasis with significant changes occurring suddenly in an improbably short time for which there are no fossils. The fossil record falsifies Darwinism.

There is no other theory to explain how evolution could occur naturally except by a series of small changes. (Punctuated equilibrium is not a theory it is a description.)

Johnson went on to explain how Darwinists prevent debate about whether Darwinism is wrong.

Darwinists define science as the study of natural and material processes, and as the pursuit of ever more improved natural explanations. Critics of Darwinism are dismissed if they don't have an alternative to natural selection: "They don't know how science works". Darwinists do not recognize that not knowing something is valid scientific position. They prefer a wrong theory to no theory. The way Darwinist science really works in practice is that they make an assumption and assert it is a fact.

Johnson then goes on to show that Darwinists misuse the mantle of science to give the theory of natural selection authority is doesn't deserve. He points out that technology produced by science is impressive. But technology is based on repeatable phenomena. Evolution is a scientific consensus not a repeatable experiment and therefore it is not reliable. Johnson illustrates this with a hypothetical example based on the Challenger explosion. He says that if a panel of rocket scientists agreed the Challenge mission would be successful, any outsider who disagreed would be ridiculed ... until the launch and explosion of the space shuttle that tested the panel's conclusions.

Johnson also points out that philosophies that attach themselves to science do not have a good track record and lists Marxism and Freudian psychology as examples, claiming Darwinism belongs with the other two as being unfalsifiable - anything that happens within their domain can be explained by these philosophies.

Another rhetorical device used by Darwinists is to reject the existence of God because nature is cruel or because some features of organisms seem poorly designed or are vestigial. Darwinists assert this is evidence that macroevolution by natural selection is true. This is not science, it is a theological argument. It is also a false dichotomy between God and Darwinism. A scientific approach would be to attempt to refute the criticisms of Darwinism by experiment, observation, or mathematically precise theoretical work.


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The missing ancestors of the Cambrian explosion would have been found if they existed.


The Cambrian explosion refers to a period of time 530 million years ago when many animal phyla first appeared on earth. Darwinism predicts that these phyla should have evolved from simpler organisms. If that were true, fossils left by those organisms might provide evidence for their existence. However no such fossils have ever been found. One might suppose that the ancestors of the Cambrian phyla existed but the fossil record is incomplete because conditions at the time were not right for preservation of fossils, or erosion destroyed their fossils, or they did not have shells and their soft tissues did not leave fossils, or their fossils exist but have not yet been found. However, many fossils from before the Cambrian era have been found. In fact, enough precambrian fossils of soft-bodied organisms have been found for the missing ancestors of the Cambrian explosion to have been found if they existed. Therefore the fossil record shows that many animal phyla arose without evolving from simpler organisms. This contradicts the theory of evolution by natural selection but is predicted by intelligent design.

From Deepening Darwin's Dilemma by Jonathan Wells

So there is now no shortage of Precambrian fossils. Not only do we have fossils of bacteria, but we also have many fossils of soft-bodied Multicellular organisms. “In the Ediacaran organisms there is no evidence for any skeletal hard parts,” wrote Conway Morris in 1998. “Ediacaran fossils look as if they were effectively soft-bodied” (Crucible of Creation, 28).

From Questions about the Cambrian Explosion,
Evolution, and Intelligent Design

That the precursors to the Cambrian groups are indeed missing from the record is widely accepted among paleontologists; thus, this is not the controversial aspect of the ID position. About the missing precursors at the base of the tree of the animal phyla, Valentine notes:
...many of the branches, large as well as small, are cryptogenetic (cannot be traced into ancestors). Some of these gaps are surely caused by the incompleteness of the fossil record..., but that cannot be the sole explanation for the cryptogenetic nature of some families, many
invertebrate orders, all invertebrate classes, and all metazoan phyla.

Charles Marshall concurs:
While the fossil record of the well-skeletonized animal phyla is pretty good, we have virtually no fossils that are unambiguously assignable to the most basal stem groups [putative ancestors] of these phyla, those first branches that lie between the last common ancestor of all bilaterians and the last common ancestor of the living representatives of each of the phyla….their absence is striking. Where are they?
To be clear: Valentine and Marshall, leading paleontologists, oppose ID theory.
Pre-cambrian fossils include:

Charia, which is a single celled algae, originally wrongly thought to be a shelly invertebrate due to more misguided attempts to solve ‘Darwin’s Dilemma.’

-

Barghoorn Gunflint microfossils, which again comprise bacterial stromatolites that do not serve as precursors to the Cambrian fauna.

-

Bitter Springs Chert, which again are microbe fossils, not clear evolutionary precursors to the Cambrian fauna.

-

Saucer-sized organisms, at Ediacara, also called the Ediacaran Fauna, which are enigmatic fossils generally not thought to be ancestral to the Cambrian fauna.


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Nature's best evidence for natural selection does not show that natural selection can cause macroevolution.


  • A fossilized whale bone is found that is older than fossils of animals that are supposed to be the evolutionary ancestors of whales.

  • Fossil tracks from a land animal are found that are older than the fossil of the supposed intermediate between fish and land animals.

  • Feathered dinosaurs supposedly intermediate between dinosaurs and birds are found not to be dinosaurs but birds that have lost the ability to fly.

If the most compelling evidence claimed to support evolution by natural selection failed to demonstrate macroevolution, that would be a strong indication that there is no evidence that natural selection is the cause of macroevolution.

In 2009, the journal Nature published a document titled 15 EVOLUTIONARY GEMS: A resource from Nature for those wishing to spread awareness of evidence for evolution by natural selection. It was intended to help anyone interested in evolution to explain the case for evolution by natural selection. The only problem is that none of these "gems" actually provided evidence for macroevolution. Some of the "gems" were incorrect interpretations of the fossil record that were exposed by later discoveries. Other gems, at best, only provide evidence for microevolution, the equivalent of breeding different types of dogs. Some gems have nothing at all to do with evolution, unless you first assume what you are trying to prove, ie. that natural selection is the cause of differences in organisms.

The mechanisms of microevolution include loss of function mutations, changes in the frequency of existing alleles in a population, and mutations that can provide a survival advantage in one step. Microevolution requires little new genetic information, if any. Macroevolution involves significant changes to an organism such as development of an eye, or the change from a land mammal to a whale. Macroevolution requires huge amounts of new genetic information. Darwinists cite microevolution as proof of evolution and then act as if macroevolution is proven, but microevolution is not proof that natural selection can produce the large amounts of genetic information needed for macroevolution.

The article Evaluating Nature's 2009 "15 Evolutionary Gems" Darwin-Evangelism Kit at evolutionnews.org makes a detailed analysis of Nature's "gems" and shows that the best evidence for evolution by natural selection does not offer evidence of macroevolution by natural selection. The claim that natural selection can cause macroevolution is not supported by any evidence, it remains an assumption or a false conclusion based on flawed reasoning.

The article at evolutionnews.org also mentions Nature was founded by T. H. Huxley in part to promote Darwinism and naturalism ... which explains the journal's name.

The 15 gems (and why, according to evolutionnews.org, they are not evidence of macroevolution) are:

    Gems from the fossil record

  1. Land-living ancestors of whales (New fossils show that whales existed before their "ancestors".)

  2. From water to land (The supposed intermediate between fish and land animals dates from a time after land animals already existed.)

  3. The origin of feathers (Feathered dinosaurs said to be intermediate between dinosaurs and birds are now believed to be birds that lost the ability to fly.)

  4. The evolutionary history of teeth (The study referenced by Nature doesn't provide evidence for macroevolution, or any type of evolution, it is based on existing species.)

  5. The origin of the vertebrate skeleton (Claims that embryology can reveal information about ancient ancestors is falsified by many cases of homologous structures developing from non homologous pathways.)

    Gems from habitats

  6. Natural selection in speciation (Differences in stickleback fish populations might be due to environmental factors not evolution, at best it demonstrates microevolution.)

  7. Natural selection in lizards (When a predator causes lizards to develop longer legs and larger body size, it is microevolution not macroevolution.)

  8. A case of co-evolution (Co-evolution among fleas and their parasites is microevolution.)

  9. Differential dispersal in wild birds (Studies showing the effects of different locales and migration on genetic variation in birds demonstrate microevolution.)

  10. Selective survival in wild guppies (Variation in colored spots on guppies is not macroevolution.)

  11. Evolutionary history matters (The fact that different animals have different morphological features is not proof of evolution by natural selection.)

    Gems from molecular processes

  12. Darwin’s Galapagos finches (Different alleles produce differences in phenotype. This is not proof of macroevolution.)

  13. Microevolution meets macroevolution (The formation of colored spots on fly wings is not macroevolution. Determining the genetic basis for a phenotype is not proof of evolution.)

  14. Toxin resistance in snakes and clams (Resistance to toxins due to mutations in sodium channels is not proof of macroevolution.)

  15. Variation versus stability (Loss of function mutations do not cause macroevolution.)

The evolutionnews.org article gives detailed explanations of why these "gems" do not provide evidence for macroevolution. Below, I provide a brief summary. For more information see the evolutionnews.org article linked above.

    Gems from the fossil record

  1. Land-living ancestors of whales: Darwinists claim there is a series of fossils that show the evolution of land mammals into whales. However, the evolutionnews.org article explains that similarity in fossils is not proof of ancestry. The evolutionnews.org article also points out that the time given for the evolution of whales, ten million years, is too short to have occurred by natural selection. But recent developments have made the situation much worse for Darwinists. A new fossil found since the articles were published has shown that whales lived before some of those fossils that are claimed to be ancestors of whales and it leaves only a few million years for the evolution of whales from land mammals.

    That the first "gem", the best argument for macroevolution by natural selection, was a total misconstruction of the fossil record should be enough to convince anyone that Darwinists are not using sound logic when making their conclusions from the evidence. Darwinists should have understood that those fossil ancestors could easily have been species of differing similarity without being a series of ancestors and they should not have claimed the fossils were proof of macroevolution by natural selection.

  2. From water to land: The fossil that Nature claims is from an animal intermediate between fish and land animals, tiktaalik, is actually more recent than fossils tracks made by a land animal. Contrary to what is written in the Nature article, tiktaalik is not an intermediate between fish and land animals, land animals already existed at the time the tiktaalik fossil was formed. There is currently no evidence of an intermediate between fish and land animals.

  3. The origin of feathers: The Nature article claims that a certain species of feathered dinosaurs are intermediates between dinosaurs and birds. However according to the evolutionnews.org article, these species are now considered not to have been dinosaurs but were birds that had lost the ability to fly.

  4. The evolutionary history of teeth: Nature claims that a study of teeth formation in mice is evidence for evolution because it predicts a relationship between certain aspects of tooth formation and diet. This is not evidence of macroevolution. At best it might be a result of microevolution. However, this example is based on existing species and does not show any evidence that it is a result of evolution by natural selection, they are simply assuming what they are trying to prove.

  5. The origin of the vertebrate skeleton: Nature claims observations of the development of the head and neck in mice embryos tell us about the evolution of structures in long extinct species. But it doesn't. The evolutionnews.org article explains there are many example of homologous structures in embryos of different species developing by non-homologous pathways. What you see in an embryo is not proof of what happened in the embryo's supposed ancestors.

    Gems from habitats

  6. Natural selection in speciation: Nature claims differences in different populations of stickleback fish show evolution in action. However these traits could be caused by environmental factors not genetic differences. At best it would be an example of microevolution.

  7. Natural selection in lizards: According to Nature, in an experiment in which a new predator was introduced to an island, male Anolis lizards were found to develop longer legs while females developed larger body size. This is an example of microevolution, and it is not "natural" it was caused by an experimenter.

  8. A case of co-evolution: A study of water fleas and their parasites showed that over time as the fleas develop resistance to the parasites, the parasites adapt to overcome that resistance. These "flea-sized" adaptations are an example of microevolution.

  9. Differential dispersal in wild birds: Studies showing the effects of different locales and migration on genetic variation in birds only demonstrates microevolution.

  10. Selective survival in wild guppies: A study showed that guppies with rare color patterns had a survival advantage. This is supposedly a evidence of how genetic diversity can be maintained. It doesn't explain macroevolution, it is about maintenance of existing genes not the mechanism by which new genes arise.

  11. Evolutionary history matters: Moray eels have a unique mechanism of capturing prey. Most fish suck in prey by opening their jaws, but because the moray's head is so short, insufficient suction is generated. Instead, the moray moves its pharyngeal jaw forward to snatch its prey. This is not evidence for evolution any more than any feature of any organism is evidence for evolution.

    Gems from molecular processes

  12. Darwin’s Galapagos finches: A study of finches showed that increased expression of the calmodulin gene coincides with changes in beak morphology. This is evidence that genes determine morphology and variations in morphology are due to differences in genes. It says nothing about macroevolution.

  13. Microevolution meets macroevolution: A genetic regulatory element in fruit flies that is involved in forming pigmented spots on the wing binds to transcription factors that are components of wing development and also binds to a transcription factor that is "fundamental to development as a whole". Supposedly this shows the regulatory element evolved over time from a single purpose to multiple purposes. However pigmentation spots on the wings of files qualifies as microevolution not macroevolution. Furthermore this not evidence evolution by natural selection any more than any heritable characteristic of any organism is evidence of evolution by natural selection. These "gems" are supposed to prove that evolution occurred by natural selection. This gem simply explains the genetic basis of a phenotype. You have to already believe that unguided genetic mutation and natural selection is the basis for the diversity of life in order to believe this "gem" has anything to do with evolution by natural selection.

  14. Toxin resistance in snakes and clams: Garter snakes develop resistance to newt toxins and clams develop resistance to red tide algae toxin both through a mutations involving sodium channels. This is evidence of microevolution not macroevolution.

  15. Variation versus stability: The fossil record seems to show species are stable for long periods of time and changes species occur over short periods of time. This is supposedly explained by "evolutionary capacitance" which involves genetic diversity that is unexpressed except in times of stress. You might wonder how changes in gene expression caused by stress could be heritable and cause evolution. What the nature article doesn't say is that the experiments designed to study evolutionary capacitance relied on loss of function mutations and these mutations produced deleterious effects on the organism. Loss of function mutations do not cause macroevolution.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Video: Life could not have formed by natural means. Biomolecules naturally react to form tar.


Edward T. Peltzer did his PhD research studying organic compounds found in meteorites. He was hoping to find clues to the origin of life on earth. In the video below Peltzer explains why life could not have arisen by natural means.


In the video, Edward Peltzer explains that when biomolecules such as amino acids and sugars are produced naturally, they are intermediates in a multi-step reaction and are consumed as quickly as they are produced. That reaction does not produce the biopolymers needed for life such as proteins or nucleic acids, instead the reaction produces tar.

Biopolymers cannot be produced naturally because without the cellular structures that compartmentalize biomolecules and control how they interact, the subunits will not form biopolymers, they will react randomly and form gunk. Even if by chance several subunits do form a biopolymer, that polymer is still going to go on to form gunk.

In the video, Peltzer discusses various origin of life theories including "protein first", "protein and nucleotides together", metabolism first, membranes first, clay, and RNA world and panspermia. None of these can explain how life could originate. Proteins do not polymerize naturally, they form gunk. This is why cataracts form in lens of the eye. The same is true for nucleotides. If one hypothesizes membranes formed spontaneously to protect biomolecules from the environment, then the reactants of polymerization will be used up without any means of replenishment. If the membranes are leaky, then you have the same problems as with no membrane at all. If you mix biomolecules with clay, they stick to the clay and stay there, they are removed from solution and cannot carry out any biological functions. Panspermia, the theory that life came to earth from space, doesn't solve anything unless the laws of chemistry are different elsewhere in the universe.

Peltzer concludes you can't produce a cell unless you already have a cell.


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Newly discovered whale fossil, older than its supposed ancestor species, proves Darwinists rely on flawed logic.


The evidence that is claimed to prove Darwinian evolution is often a misrepresentation based on faulty logic. For example, Darwinists claim that the evolution of the whale from a land mammal is one of the best examples of how Darwinian evolution is proven by the fossil record. However, a new fossil has been discovered which shows whales existed before many of their supposed ancestors. The fact that one of Darwinism's best cases of evidence for evolution is wrong indicates how poorly evolution is supported by the empirical evidence, and how claims made by Darwinists are based on flawed logic. While it isn't fair to expect Darwinists to know what fossils will be found in the future, they should know what the existing fossil record proves an what it doesn't prove, and they should be forthright about it when they talk to the public.

An NPR article gives the usual Darwinist explanation of how the fossil evidence demonstrates that whales evolved from land mammals:

Some details remain fuzzy and under investigation. But we know for certain that this back-to-the-water evolution did occur, thanks to a profusion of intermediate fossils that have been uncovered over the past two decades. ...
You can read the article for the full explanation.

However, a series of fossils that looks like they might be successive intermediates in the evolution from one animal type to another is not proof that the fossils really are a series of intermediates. The fossils might just be from a number of different species of varying similarity but not ancestral. This is shown by a recent discovery discussed at evolutionnews.org of a whale fossil that is older than many of the whale's supposed ancestors.

In an article titled "Ancient whale jawbone found in Antarctica," the Associated Press reports that paleontologists have found "the oldest fully aquatic whale yet discovered," which is about 49 million years old.

...

But this new fossil might imply that the amount of time available [for the evolution of whales] was actually less than 5 million years.

Until now, the whale series went something like this:

  • Pakicetids (fully terrestrial): ~50 mya
  • Ambulocetids (semi-aquatic): 49 mya
  • Remingtonocetids (semi-aquatic): 49 mya
  • Rodhocetus (a Protocetid, semi-aquatic): 47 mya
  • Basilosaurids (fully aquatic): 40 mya

So under the previous timeline, Darwinian biologists didn't have to worry about accounting for the origin of fully aquatic whales until about 40 mya. This new find pushes fully aquatic whales back to 49 mya. Now the timeline looks something like this:

  • Pakicetids (fully terrestrial): ~50 mya
  • New Fossil Jawbone (fully aquatic whale): 49 mya
  • Ambulocetids (semi-aquatic): 49 mya
  • Remingtonocetids (semi-aquatic): 49 mya
  • Rodhocetus (a Protocetid, semi-aquatic): 47 mya
  • Basilosaurids (fully aquatic): 40 mya

In light of this new find, it appears that fully aquatic whales existed at 49 mya -- around the same time that Ambulocetids appear. The fossil record now might jump from fully terrestrial Pakicetids to fully aquatic whales in just a couple million years -- maybe much less than 5 million years.

It isn't fair to expect Darwinists to know what fossils will be found in the future, but they should know what the existing fossil record proves an what it doesn't prove, and they should be forthright about it when they talk to the public. Furthermore, the impossibly short time span that the Darwinist interpretation of the fossils allowed for the evolution of the whale (even before this new fossil was discovered) should have given them a warning that their interpretation was impossibly wrong.


Copyright © 2014 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Video: A Critique of Darwinist Icons


In the video A Critique of Darwinist Icons, Jonathan Wells explains why the evidence most often offered as proof of Darwinian evolution doesn't actually prove Darwinian evolution. These misleading examples are often repeated because there really isn't any good evidence for evolution. Wells also explains that the reason these misleading examples are used is that evolutionary biology as taught in schools is really teaching atheism. Neither physics nor chemistry text books make statements about God or religion. Those books just discuss the evidence and the science. It is only in evolutionary biology where statements are made asserting that science makes belief in God and religion unnecessary, and since there is no good evidence to support that point of view, they have to resort to making misleading statements to do it.


The video contains the most important examples of bogus evidence of evolution found in the book Icons of Evolution also by Jonathan Wells. Some of these examples are discussed in Survival of the Fakest by Jonathan Wells. And some of the examples in the book but not covered in the video or Survival of the Fakest can be found in these articles:

Briefly the examples in the video include:

  1. The evolutionary tree is false: The evolutionary tree shows the relatedness of different organisms. It is possible to produce a tree by comparing the DNA sequence of a gene in different organisms. However, using different genes produces different trees. The Cambrian explosion is also evidence against common descent because the major animal phyla appeared at the same time and there is no evidence they evolved from a common ancestor.
  2. Homology in vertebrate limbs: Does not support common descent because it doesn't rule out common design. Homology only looks like evidence of evolution if you assume what you are trying to prove, ie. that homology is evidence of evolution.
  3. Vertebrate embryos: The classic diagrams showing similarities in embryos were faked.
  4. Peppered moths: Supposedly peppered moths evolved darker protective coloration in response to air pollution making tree trunks darker in color. However, peppered moths don't normally rest on tree trunks. Once pollution decreased, the peppered moths became lighter in color, but this began before the tree trunks became lighter.
  5. Darwin's finches: A one year drought caused changes in beak morphology, but the beaks reverted after the drought. This is at best microevolution caused by a change in the frequency of existing genes in the population. It is not evidence of macroevolution - substantial changes in organisms such as the development of an eye or land mammals evolving into a whale.
  6. Four-winged fruit files: Do not show that natural selection can cause changes in organisms because the flies were created by scientists, the extra wings had no muscles to move them, and they made the files less fit for survival.

The article Fact-Checking Wikipedia on Common Descent: The Evidence from Paleontology discusses the lack of fossil evidence for intermediate stages of evolution. The excerpt below discusses the series of fossils claimed to show the evolution of the whale from a land mammal. It is not credible that they could represent a sequence of ancestor species because there is not enough time for the changes in the species to have occurred naturally.

One of the most notable problems with the evolution of the whale is the extremely abrupt timescale over which it is supposed to have occurred. The sheer force of this conundrum is only properly appreciated when one considers the multiple feats of anatomical novelty, innovative engineering and genetic rewiring necessary to change a terrestrial mammal like Pakicetus into a fully aquatic whale. Indeed, evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg has argued that even many of the relatively minor changes are extremely unlikely to have occurred in the time-frame allowed.

Other articles in the same series include:


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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Video: Unlocking the Mystery of Life


Unlocking the Mystery of Life

In 1993 professor Phillip Johnson of the University of California Berkley invited a group of scientists and philosophers to a small beach town on the central coast of California. They came from major academic centers including Cambridge University and the University of Chicago to question an idea that had dominated science for 150 years.

...

The scientists who came to Pajaro Dunes set out to reexamine the history of life's origin, for each had significant doubts about widely held evolutionary ideas. Among them biochemist Michael Behe questioned how natural processes could have assembled the intricate structures found within living cells. Dean Kenyon was an evolutionary biologist who no longer though chemistry alone could account for the origin of life on earth. Stephen Meyer, Paul Nelson, and William Dembski were seeking a new approach. one that could explain the origin of the genetic information encoded in living organisms. These scientists and philosophers began to formulate an alternative to the central theory of modern biology a theory born in the mind of a British naturalist his name was Charles Darwin.

The entire video is in 12 parts. The playlist is here.



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Friday, August 22, 2014

The Privileged Planet: The rare confluence of conditions that allow Earth to support complex life also make the Earth the best location from which to make scientific discoveries. Those scientific discoveries reveal that the universe is understandable to humankind. All this indicates a purpose to the universe: to support intelligent life and to allow intelligent life to discover that the universe was created.


The Privileged Planet is a video about the conditions required for a planet to support intelligent life. It is based on a book by the same name by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards. The video starts out discussing the scientific discoveries that led to the belief that the earth is ordinary - the earth orbits the sun, the sun is just one of many stars in our galaxy, and our galaxy is just one of the many galaxies in the universe. But the video goes on to point out there are about twenty conditions needed for a planet to be able to support life. These conditions are not individually likely to occur by chance, and they are exceedingly unlikely to occur together. It is also an odd coincidence that planets like earth that can support complex life, ie. that can support intelligent observers, are also the best platforms for observing the universe and making scientific discoveries. Furthermore, it surprising that our complicated universe seems to be fine-tuned to support life and natural laws are discoverable to humans All of this taken together, the conditions for a planet to be able to support intelligent life are very unlikely, those same conditions that make life possible also provide the best conditions for making scientific discoveries, the universe is finely tuned to support life, and natural laws are intelligible to humankind, suggest that there is a purpose to the universe. That purpose is to support intelligent life and provide a place where intelligent life can understand the universe and ultimately understand that the universe was created.


The video is in 12 short parts included in the youtube
playlist.

Conditions necessary for a planet to support life.

The factors necessary for a planet to support complex life include:

  • Liquid water.

  • The planet must be within the circumstellar habitable zone around its star - the distance from the star that liquid water and an oxygen rich atmosphere can exist.

  • The planet must be in the galactic habitable zone. Being too close to the center of the galaxy would expose the planet to too much radiation. Too far from the center there are not enough heavy elements to support life.

  • Orbiting main sequence G2 dwarf star, which is not too hot and not too cool. A smaller star would have a habitable zone too close to itself and the gravity of the star would keep the same side of any planet within the zone constantly facing the star. The side facing the star would be too hot and receive too much radiation to support life, the side facing away from the star would be too cold.

  • Protected by gas giant planets that shield the inner planets from comet impacts.

  • Nearly circular orbit.

  • Oxygen-rich atmosphere.

  • Correct mass.

  • Orbited by large moon - "if the moon didn't exist, neither would we". The moon is 1/4 the size of the earth. The moon's gravity stabilizes the angle of the earth's axis insuring temperate seasonal changes. It also helps to circulate the warm and cold waters of the ocean stabilizing the climate and distributing elements, chemicals, and nutrients needed for life.

  • Magnetic field - generated by the movement of liquid iron deep in the planet's interior, protects the atmosphere from being stripped away by the solar wind.

  • Plate tectonics - regulates interior temperature of the planet, recycles carbon, mixes elements necessary for life, shapes the continents ensuring land as well as ocean environments.

  • Enough heat in the interior to circulate liquid iron.

  • Ratio of liquid water and continents to allow the diversity of life and an active biosphere needed to support complex life.

  • Moderate rate of rotation

  • Oxygen / Nitrogen atmosphere. Assures temperate climate, provides protection from sun's radiation, is the correct combination of gases for liquid water and complex life.

The video states the the probability of a planet having all the conditions needed to support life is 10-15. There are about 100 billion stars in our galaxy. Most sources say there are between 100 and 500 billion galaxies in the universe. By chance, there should be less than one habitable planet per galaxy but a few million habitable planets throughout the universe.

The conditions necessary for a planet to support life make a planet the best location for making scientific discoveries.

  • The Moon The best place in our solar system to observe a solar eclipse is the earth which is also the one place that has observers. During an eclipse, the moon appears to be about the same size as the sun. In order for this to happen, the earth has to be the right distance from the sun and it has to have a large moon. These are both factors that also allow the earth to support life.

    An eclipse also provides an opportunity to make scientific discoveries. When the moon blocks the sun during an eclipse, stars near the sun become visible. Also the sun's atmosphere, the chromosphere, which extends beyond the surface of the sun, becomes visible too. Observations of the positions of stars near the sun allowed scientists to confirm that the gravity of the sun bends light that passes near it confirming Einstein's theory of relativity. Observations made of the sun's chromosphere allowed scientists to discover helium in it. Other observations allowed scientists to discover how the spectrum of sunlight is produced. This led to the understanding of how the spectra of distant stars are produced which is crucial to our understanding of astrophysics.

  • The Atmosphere The Earth's atmosphere has the right mixes of gasses to support life and is transparent which allows us to observe the universe around our planet: the other planets, the sun, stars in our galaxy and other galaxies. There are 70 planets and moons in our solar system. Only seven have a substantial atmosphere, and only the earth has an atmosphere that is transparent and can support life. The sun, super novae, and other sources in the universe emit electromagnetic radiation, including gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, infra-red light, microwaves and radio waves. Visible light is less than one trillionth of a trillionth of the natural range of the electromagnetic spectrum but visible light is useful for life processes. For example, photosynthesis could not make use of gamma rays or microwaves. Visible light is also the most informative about the structures in the universe. Visible light is produced in abundance by the sun and it most easily penetrates the atmosphere of earth. The atmosphere that is needed to support life allows us to observe the distant universe.

The universe is finely-tuned to support life.

The forces and mathematical constants of the laws of physics that apply in our universe are finely tuned to support life. Gravity causes planets, stars and galaxies to form. If the force of gravity was even slightly stronger, intelligent life could not exist. The strong nuclear force is necessary to holds protons and neutrons together to make the atoms which make up our environment and our bodies. If there were no electromagnetic force, there would be no light and no bonding between the atoms which is needed to construct our environment and our bodies. If the masses of subatomic particles were different, life as we know it could not exist. A slight change in any of the forces of nature or physical constants or if they were chosen at random, would make the universe unable to support life. The forces and constants are another example of the correlation between life and discovery. They are finely tuned to support life, and they can also be discovered and understood by humankind.

The universe is intelligible.

The human mind can understand the universe. Natural laws are discoverable because they obey simple mathematical relationships. Many of the most important theories in physics can be written on a single sheet of paper. This intelligibility cannot be explained by naturalistic assumptions. The discoverablity of natural laws is not needed for survival. According to materialist belief, human reason supposedly developed to hunt and survive in the wild. Our ability to discover and understand atoms or black holes, is unnecessary for Darwinian survival.

There is a plan for the universe.

The founders of modern science Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and Kepler, all believed the universe was the product of a mind and that it was intelligible to us because it was the product of an intelligent being. In those times, science was part of religion, it was the study of the mind of God.

Modern science shows us that the universe seems to have been intended to contain observers who can understand it. The conditions that make a planet habitable also provide the best conditions to make scientific discoveries. The earth's atmosphere, its location in the solar system, its moon, the arrangement of other planets in its solar system, its star, and its location in galaxy are the most important conditions needed to support life, and also are ideal for making a wide range of scientific discoveries. The laws of nature are intelligible by humankind and from studying them we understand that the universe is finely tuned to support life. All of this cannot be explained by coincidence. It is too improbable to be the result of chance. It cannot be explained by impersonal forces of nature. It indicates a plan. Something beyond the universe must account for it. The universe seems to have been designed by a transcendent creator in order to support intelligent life, and allow intelligent life to discover that.

Many modern scientists believe the evidence that the universe was designed. These scientists include Nobel prize winners such as Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Guglielmo Marconi, Brian Josephson, William Phillips, Richard Smalley, Arno Penzias, Charles Townes Arthur Compton, Antony Hewish, Christian Anfinsen, Walter Kohn, Arthur Schawlow, and other scientists, Charles Darwin, Sir Fred Hoyle, John von Neumann, Wernher von Braun, Louis Pasteur.

Resources

There are links to resources for further study at theprivilegedplanet.com.


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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Multiverse Theories Fail to Explain Our Finely Tuned Universe. Intelligent Design is a Better Explanation.



In the video The Beginning of the Universe and Fine-Tuning , Robert J. Spitzer, PhD. discusses the Big Bang theory and Bruce Gordon, PhD. discusses how the universe is finely tuned to support life and why multiverse theories do not provide a natural explanation for the fine-tuning.


There s also a fact sheet summarizing the information in the video at magiscenter.com.

This post will focus on Bruce Gordon's part of the video. In the video, Bruce Gordon explains that if the initial conditions, the natural laws, and the physical constants of the universe were just the tiniest bit different, the universe would not be able to support life. The fact that the universe is so finely tuned to support life is highly improbable. Gordon discusses a few examples of this fine-tuning such as the initial entropy of the universe, the gravitational constant and the cosmological constant. Then Gordon goes on to discuss multiverse theories and why they do not solve the problem of fine-tuning. He explains how inflation can produce a huge number of universes and how string theory can explain how each universe might have different natural laws. If there are enough different universes, then the chance that one like ours can exist becomes more probable. However Gordon explains why inflation does not solve the problem of fine-tuning, and he gives reasons why string theory is not credible, such as the absence of supersymmetric particles at low energy scales. Gordon then lists some of the absurd consequences of multiverse theories and using quotes from materialists shows that they believe in a multiverse instead of intelligent design not because of the science but because they don't want to believe in intelligent design.

Before going into the details of Bruce Gordon's talk, I would like to make the point that multiverse theories were not proposed in order to explain direct evidence of other universes. They were contrived to provide an alternative explanation for evidence that indicated the universe was designed and created at the time of the Big Bang (ie.was fine-tuned and had a transcendent creator). The many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics was proposed to escape the conclusions that consciousness can collapse a wave function in a double slit experiment, sustain a wave function in the quantum Zeno effect, and cause the properties of matter to become fixed in a quantum entanglement experiment. These facts show that consciousness is fundamental and matter depends on consciousness therefore consciousness cannot be produced by the matter in the brain. The theory of punctuated equilibrium was proposed to explain the evidence that falsified Darwinism: the long stasis of species and sudden appearance of new species (and phyla) faster than any natural explanation of genetic change can explain. When one considers these facts, one can see that it is not the intelligent design proponents who are interpreting data according to their metaphysical beliefs, it is the materialist naturalists who are contriving theories in order to avoid the obvious conclusions from empirical data.

The Finely-Tuned Universe

In the video, Bruce Gordon explained the fine-tuning of the universe by analogy to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears where the porridge is not too hot and not too cold but just right. The initial conditions, natural laws, and physical constants of our universe are just right to support life. If they were even the tiniest bit different, the universe could not support life. This is highly improbable and as Gordon explains in his talk, cannot be explained as a natural phenomenon.

Initial Conditions: The Initial Entropy of the Universe

Gordon says that the Big Bang "explosion" was not "messy" it was an orderly expansion with finely tuned initial conditions represented by very low entropy. He explains how Roger Penrose calculated that the initial entropy of the universe to be 1 in 1010123. Penrose used the observed entropy of our universe, the entropy per baryon (a baryon is a proton or a neutron) and the Bekenstein-Hawking formula for the entropy of a black hole to calculate the entropy of the singularity at the beginning of the Big Bang. The observed entropy divided by the largest possible entropy is equal to the fine-tuning of the initial conditions and is 1 / 1010123. To explain how small that value is, Gordon said that to write out that number you would need to write one zero for each of the 1080 baryons in our universe and also write a zero for every baryon in 100 million trillion trillion trillion more universes with the same number of baryons.

The Gravitational Constant

Gordon continued on to explain how the gravitational constant is finely tuned to support life. He said that the strongest force in the universe is the strong nuclear force which is 1040 times stronger than gravity which is the weakest force in the universe. Gordon explained that this value of 1040 represented the range for which it is reasonable for a force of nature fall within, and so 1 in 1040 represents the fine tuning of the gravitational constant. He explained how finely tuned that value is by suggesting that if a tape measure the length of the universe, 30 billion light years long, or 1028 inches long was used as a scale, then if the gravitational constant was decreased by one inch, the gravitational constant would decrease a trillion fold and no structures would form in the universe. If the gravitational constant were increased by one inch, the gravitational constant would be one trillion times larger and as he said, "even weight watcher's wouldn't help you", meaning that gravity would be too strong for human life to exist.

The Cosmological Constant

Gordon also mentioned that the cosmological constant, the rate of expansion of space, is fine tuned to 1 part in 10120. If it was larger, space would expand too fast to form structures, if it was smaller, the universe would re-collapse into itself too quickly to support life.

Multiverse Theories

Inflation

Gordon next began to discuss multiverse theories and started by discussing inflation. Inflation occurred a split-second after the Big Bang, when the universe underwent a period of super-fast expansion. This expansion was postulated to explain the uniform distribution of energy and matter, including the cosmic microwave background radiation and the fact that the universe is geometrically flat. After the inflationary period, the universe continued to expand at the rate we see today.

Gordon also explained that the mathematics describing inflation could provide a natural explanation for the improbably high level of fine tuning in our universe. Inflation allows for the creation of an infinite number of "bubbles", regions of space, other universes, distinct from our own. If there are an infinite number of other universes, then it becomes probable that there will be some like our universe no matter how improbable its fine-tuning. Gordon explains that the Borde-Vilenkin-Guth theorem (explained earlier in the video by Robert Spitzer and also in the fact sheet linked above) applies to inflation so this process of creating new universes could not extend infinitely into the past and there must have been an initial inflation bubble because the average Hubble expansion is greater than zero. Therefore, even a multiverse produced by inflationary processes must have a beginning and a transcendent cause (a cause outside itself).

However, inflation does not solve the problem of the fine tuning of the initial conditions of the universe, it makes it worse. Gordon says, "When inflation turns off and normal expansion begins, the shut-off energy is fine-tuned to at least one part in a hundred thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion." In addition, the initial fine-tuning of the Big Bang before inflation must be greater than it is after inflation. While inflation was proposed to explain the uniformity of the cosmic microwave background radiation which was fine-tuned to one part in 100,000 and the flatness of the universe which was fine tuned to one part in 1015, there is a huge amount of energy needed to turn off inflation in just the right way and this energy is fine-tuned to between 1 in 1053 and 1 in 10123. After inflation, the initial conditions are fine tuned to 1 part in 1010123 so before inflation, the fine tuning had to be greater than that value.

String Theory

Gordon continued on to explain how string theory has been proposed to explain why natural laws and constants are the way they are. He says, "String theory postulates that the fundamental constituents of nature are one-dimensional filaments instead of particles. These filaments are either open or closed into loops that vibrate in different ways to produce different particles." The size of strings are on the order of the Planck scale which is 1033cm. Strings move in a space time of nine spacial dimensions and one time dimension. Gordon says, "The extra six space dimensions must be curled up or 'compactified.' There are infinitely many ways of doing this. Each compactification of space can be thought of as representing a different universe with different laws and constants." The size of the compactification represents the strength of physical constants.

When inflationary cosmology is merged with string theory, one can propose that each universe allowed under inflation is different due to a different compactification in that universe.

Problems with String Theory

However, Gordon explains that, "The "mechanism" by which the string landscape produces universes is highly speculative and lacks justification. In order to work, the landscape has to start in its highest energy state and cascade downward - but there's no reason to believe this is what would happen." And, "If the landscape exists, there's good reason to think we should see "supersymmetric" particles at low energy scales. We do not." Although there are 10500 possible different string universes we don't know if any of them they exist except ours. No one knows if there are enough universes with the right properties to make the existence of our universe probable. Also, as mentioned above, inflation does not solve the problem of fine tuning it only moves it back one step.

Problems with the Multiverse Theory

Gordon also pointed out that materialists are willing to accept several very unlikely conjectures in order to avoid accepting that the universe was designed and created. Those conjecture are:

  • There is an inflaton field.
  • A potentially infinite number of universes exist.
  • Strings exist.
  • There are six additional compactified spacial dimensions.
  • "An infinite number of compactifications of the six additional spatial dimensions exist and each corresponds (via inflation) to a potential infinity of actual universes." Absurdly, the consequence of this is a space infinitely larger than our own universe.

Other absurd consequences of a multiverse theory include:

  • An infinite number of universes.
  • A subset of universes that are infinite in number and identical to ours.
  • An infinite subset of universes that are almost like ours but slightly different.

Gordon also mentioned the Boltzmann Brain paradox, explained here in a New York Times article: "... you yourself reading this article are more likely to be some momentary fluctuation in a field of matter and energy out in space than a person with a real past born through billions of years of evolution in an orderly star-spangled cosmos." Gordon explains that the multiverse is "falsified because the type of people we take ourselves to be are not the typical observers within it." Gordon says that cosmologists try to get around this but he implies it is not credible because it involves "gerrymandering" of the mathematics.

Gordon also explains how multiverse theories are self-defeating, "By providing an all-too-easy explanation for anything that has happened or may happen, the multiverse ends up explaining nothing at all."

Materialist's Bias

Gordon next asks why materialists persist in believing in multiverses? To answer that question Gordon give a series of quotes:

Leonard Susskind, professor of theoretical physics, Stanford university:

... If, for some unforeseen reason, the landscape turns out to be inconsistent - maybe for mathematical reasons, or because it disagrees with observation ... then as things stand now we will be in a very awkward position. Without any explanation of nature’s fine-tunings we will be hard pressed to answer the ID critics.

Bernard Carr, University of London

To the hard-line physicist, the multiverse may not be entirely respectable, but it is at least preferable to invoking a Creator. Indeed, anthropically inclined physicists like Susskind and Weinberg are attracted to the multiverse precisely because it sees to dispense with God as the explanation of cosmic design.

Richard Lewontin, evolutionary biologist, Harvard University.

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
Materialists admit they believe in absurd things because they do not want to believe an intelligence designed and created the universe. It is ironic because believing in a multiverse requires believing in many much more absurd things than believing in a transcendent creator does. Gordon Closes with a slide that explains the absurdity of materialism:
  • In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
  • In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as an explanatory principle.
  • In a theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and thus are expressions of rational purpose.
  • Scientific materialism is epidemically self-defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

  • Copyright © 2014 by ncu9nc All rights reserved.
    Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.