Saturday, May 18, 2013

Evolution's Five Fundamental Assumptions--Are They Scientific or Philosophical? Part Three

Assumption Three:  Life Emerged from Non-Life *

Evolution’s third foundational assumption is the conjecture that the origin and subsequent evolution of all life on earth began with chemical evolution. Here’s how it supposedly played out. Somehow, around 3 ½ billion years ago—at least once and by pure chance—inorganic (non-living) chemicals in some kind of alleged “prebiotic soup” reacted with sunlight, or some other energy source, in such a way that a living, self-replicating, single-celled organism emerge (called abiogenesis). This inexplicable event initiated biological evolution, and from that point on the random, accidental, trial-and error process of natural selection created all the rest of the earth’s incredibly complex and diverse plant and animal life.

Is there demonstrable scientific evidence to support this naturalistic assumption? No there isn’t. It has never been observed in nature, done in a laboratory, and there is no known evolutionary pathway by which it could be accomplished. So, once again, we can conclude that this evolutionary assumption is not a scientific fact but a philosophical statement about science.  On the other hand, there are scientific evidences that disprove it.

No Evidence of a Prebiotic Soup

First, there is no known mechanism by which living organisms could have mysteriously emerged from some kind of primordial, non-living chemical soup. As said, it has never been observed in nature and—despite numerous attempts—produced in a laboratory. In fact according to biochemist Fazale Rana (and other researchers) there is no evidence that any kind of prebiotic soup ever existed; geological evidence is completely lacking. “Origin-of-life researchers,” explains Rana, “have failed to recover any geochemical remnants of prebiotic molecules—organic molecules produced by nonbiological processes.” Most origin-of-life researchers further agree that the presence of oxygen and other chemicals in the earth’s early atmosphere would have destroyed organic molecules before they could ever have evolved into living organism.

No Evolutionary Pathway

The lack of evidence for a prebiotic soup is not the most serious issue confronting the evolutionary model of the origins. Chemical “evolution” couldn’t have happened anyway. Why? Because evolution requires random mutations in DNA, and there would be no DNA to mutate in an inorganic (non-living) chemical soup!  Natural selection cannot operate unless there already exists living, self-replicating organisms. In other words, to use the term “evolution,” as in “chemical evolution,” is an oxymoron. Non-living chemicals, according to the principles of evolution, can’t evolve!  I like the way former Baylor University professor Walter Bradley put it: ”Until molecules are formed and arranged in a cell-like structure, there is no reproduction on which natural selection might work. . . .Claims by atheistic scientist that evolution/natural selection is ‘blind and undirected with no purpose’ are nothing more than philosophy masquerading as scientific fact.”

Not enough Time

A third crucial factor that would have prevented life from emerging from non-life is that the earth is not old enough for even the simplest organism to emerge out of some kind of alleged prebiotic soup—even if it did exist. Statistically, it’s impossible—even within conventional geological perimeters for the age of the earth. The late renowned British mathematician and astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle, estimates the possibility of life emerging from non-life by random processes as 1040,000. He provides an illustration to help make senses of such overwhelming odds. He likened it to the same possibility as a tornado “sweeping through a junkyard” and, when the debris settled, there sat an intact Boeing 747! Elsewhere he calculated the probability of life emerging from non-life by pure chance as equivalent 1050  blind people all solving a Rubik’s Cube puzzle at the same time!

One more thought. Let’s suppose that by some ingenious method science one day does create life in a laboratory. What would it really prove? Intelligent Design! Such an accomplishment would not be the result of accidental, random processes—but of specifically designed, carefully manipulated, judiciously controlled experimentation. The bottom line is that there is no scientific evidence that inorganic, non-living chemicals have ever evolved into organic life—or ever could.  This is additional powerful evidence of creation by a Designer—God.

Dan Story

 *  This and the other blogs in this series are copyrighted material and may not be reproduced electronically or in print. But feel free to link this blog to your own website, blog, or Facebook. I have also developed these arguments more fully in my book The Christian Combat Manual  (AMG Publishers), and my sources are documented there.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Evolution's Five Fundamental Assumptions--Are They Scientific or Philosophical? Part Two

Assumption Two:  Order Evolved from Disorder *

The second of evolution’s five foundational assumptions is that the matter and energy exploding from the big bang self-organized—by pure chance—into a precisely structured yet incredibly complex universe, which eventually birthed the earth. But can the theory be demonstrated scientifically—or, like the first assumption (“something came from nothing”), is it a philosophical statement about science? If the latter is true, we have yet another reason to reject naturalistic evolution and to consider the only other alternative—creation by intelligence with purpose (design).

There are two obstacles to the evolutionary paradigm that the order and design observable in the universe evolved out of chaos and disorder in the aftermath of the big bang. First is the fact that there are no know laws of physics that explain how this could have happened, which is why many secular astrophysicists and cosmologists opt for the “multi-universe” theory. (We saw in the previous blog article that there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support this theory). The second problem is the inability of the evolutionary scenario to explain what is called the Anthropic Principle.  

The Anthropic Principle points out that the entire universe was “fine-tuned” from the very beginning of its existence to support live on earth.  Depending on the researcher, there are several dozen fundamental constants, precise physical parameters, in place throughout the universe that are essential not only for the universe to exist, but for life to exist on earth. In particular, if the physics of the universe differed even minutely, life on earth would be impossible.  A few examples include:

1.    If the structure of the atom differed in terms of ratio of the masses of protons to electrons, molecules could not form.
2.    If the force of gravity slowed the expansion of the universe even slightly (1 part in 1060), it would have been impossible for galaxies and our solar system to have formed.
3.    If the speed of light were slightly faster or slower, other constants in the universe would be altered, making any kind of life impossible.
4.    If the centrifugal force of planets rotating around the sun did not balance exactly with gravitational forces, the planets would not remain in orbit.
5.    If the sun were much larger or closer, water would boil away and the earth would be too hot to support life. If the sun was farther away or much smaller, the earth would be a frozen wasteland.
6.    If the chemical composition of the earth’s atmosphere were different, the atmosphere would be poisonous to virtually all life forms.
7.    If the sea-to-land mass ratio, depth of the oceans, and the earth’s cloud cover were different, the earth’s ability to store and release heat would change dramatically.

These are only a few of the many necessary constants in place throughout the universe and here on earth. If any of these parameters were absent or altered even slightly, the universe as we know it would not exist—nor, of course, life on earth. How did all these fundamental constants come to be in such perfect equilibrium? Secular cosmologists argue that the order, structure, and apparent design in the universe and here on earth are merely a cosmic accident, a product of pure chance.  But what is the chance of that happening accidentally? Oxford physicist Roger Penrose calculated the odds against “all these constants having just the right values are one followed by trillions and trillions more zeros than there are elementary particles in the universe.” In other words, the chance of all these constants accidentally being in place is—impossible.

The only other explanation for the existence of a universe perfectly fine-tuned for life on earth is an intelligent, intentional designer—creation. It appears infinitely more probably that the universe was designed from the beginning to sustain life—in particular, life on earth. It is irrational and statistically outrageous to assume that all of the fine-tuned factors that fashioned and maintains an orderly universe, and resulted in life on earth, just accidentally fell into place. If the cosmos were designed, there must be a Designer—God. This is exactly what the Bible reveals. Proverbs 3:19-20 and 8:22-30 clearly testify that the beauty and order of the earth was the product of intentional design by God’s eternal wisdom.  Moreover, Scripture further testifies that this Designer has reveal Himself through creation (Rom. 1:20). Thus, the Anthropic Principle has become one of the most compelling arguments for the existence of a personal creator God.

Dan Story

*  This and the other blogs in this series are copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced electronically or in print. But feel free to link this blog to your own website, blog, or Facebook. I have also developed these arguments more fully in my book The Christian Combat Manual (AMG Publishers), and my sources are documented there.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Evolution's Five Fundamental Assumptions--Are They Scientific or Philosophical? Part One

When the late Carl Sagan voiced his now famous dictum on the Cosmos television program, “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be,” was he making a scientific statement (empirical, observational, and testable), or was he making a philosophical statement about science? That’s the topic of this and my next six or seven blogs.

My argument is this. There are five foundational assumptions of naturalistic evolution, and the entire fabric of the theory (which evolutionists tout as fact) depends on their veracity. In this study, I’m not concerned about theological issues or the age of the earth. Rather, I’m looking at the issue strictly from a scientific viewpoint. These five evolutionary assumptions are: (1) something (i.e. the universe) came from nothing, (2) order evolved from disorder, (3) life emerged from non-life, (4) complex life evolved from an ancestral single-celled organism, and (5) transitional fossils demonstrate the “fact” of evolution. If any one of these five assumption is fallacious, evolution as a valid scientific paradigm crumbles. This blog will explore the first assumption.

Assumption One:  Something Came from Nothing *

Until Big Bang Cosmology became the prevailing view for the origin of the universe within the scientific community, evolutionists assumed that the universe was eternal. This view made a complete about face several decades ago when the so-called big bang confirmed that the universe had a “beginning.” Scientists now believe the universe is finite, and that prior to the big band there was no space, time, matter, or energy. Nothing existed.

Although this view is not far from a creation model of origins, advocates for creation by design believe that something did exist prior to the big bang—God. So the issue is not so much whether the big bang occurred—but how it occurred.  (And for some creationists, when it occurred.) In other words, “who lit the fuse?” Where did the matter, energy, and laws of physics originate that initiated the big bang? The fact is there are no known laws of physics that explain how matter or energy could have arisen spontaneously out of nothing. Physics has only proven that out of nothing comes nothing. This is in perfect agreement with the biblical model of origins. The Bible reveals that God spoke the cosmos into existence out of nothing (See Ps. 33:6; Heb.11:3).

As to be expected, naturalistic evolutionists have suggested several possible explanations for how something can come from nothing. Many contend that some unknown law of physics could explain how something can come from nothing (an obvious argument from silence). Others claim that quantum physics allow for uncaused events to occur at a subatomic level; matter could suddenly materializing spontaneously out of vacuum fluctuations. The problem here, as philosopher William Lane Crag  explained (who has written and debated extensively on cosmological issues), is that a quantum vacuum is not a total vacuum, as most people imagine it. Rather “it’s a sea of fluctuating energy, an arena of violent activity that has a rich physical structure and can be described by physical laws.”

And then there is the imaginary, metaphysical speculations of secular astrophysicists and cosmologists, which move the debate far beyond known laws of physics. The “multiple-universe” (or “multiverse”) theory, for example, imagines an unending series of universes being generated by an unending number of big bangs. The idea is that sooner or later a universe would have popped into existence by mere chance that was “finely tuned for life.”  Our universe just happens to be it! Of course this is merely wild-eyed speculation. There is not a shred of scientific evidence to suggest the existence of other universes. It is unobservable and unprovable—more science fiction than science. Furthermore, the multiple-universe scenario only pushes the problem back a notch. Who made the laws of physics, matter, and energy that allowed the universe-generating machine to come into existence in the first place?

The answer could only be a creating agent that exists apart from, transcends, the universe. Only a self-existing intelligent Designer, one with will and intent (thus a personal Being), could account for a universe that came into existence out of nothing. A creation model of origins is consistent with the known laws of physics, in particular the First and Second Laws of thermodynamics, as well as big bang cosmology. Together, they confirm that the universe had a beginning and, since no effect can be greater than its cause, what caused the universe to be is transcendent, eternal, personal, and vastly more powerful than the universe itself.  This describes the theistic God of Scripture. ©

I hope you found this blog article helpful, and I always enjoy comments. My next blog will explain why evolution’s second fundamental assumption—“order evolved from disorder”—is likewise a philosophical statement about science, not a scientific statement of fact.
 Dan Story

*  This and the other blog articles in this series are copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced electronically or in print. However, please feel free to link these blog articles to your own website, blog, or Facebook. If you would like to explore these issues further, see my book The Christian Combat Manual (AMG Publishers).