What about life itself? How did life come about? Could there be life elsewhere? NASA conducted an interesting study.They needed to know the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. Earth could not afford the danger if one of our space vehicles were to bring back a deadly microbe for which man had no resistance.
NASA hired Yale University’s Harold Morowitz, a theoretics expert. Dr. Morowitz deals with “the laws of large numbers and probabilities.”
Here is how the probabilities theory works: you take a set of circumstances, and you scientifically determine the odds of a certain outcome. For instance, if you flip a coin, you have “even odds” of heads or tails. The more you flip it, the greater the odds are against it coming up “heads”
every time. Once you get to 1/1015, the probability of an event ever happening is negligible. If you get to 1/1050, the event could not have happened even once in 15 billion-years. After studying the complexity of a protein molecule, Dr. Morowitz concluded that the probability of life occurring by chance is 1/10236. 1/10236 takes into account all the atoms in the universe, and the chance that the right ones came together just once to form a protein molecule.
He said “The universe would have to be trillions of years older, and trillions of times larger, for a protein molecule to have occurred by random chance.”
It’s a bit like throwing 4 billion pennies into the air and having them all land heads-up. Evolutionists tell us that given enough time, this could happen. But as we just learned, there wasn’t enough time and there weren’t enough pennies. (This does not say that life does not exist elsewhere. It just says that it could not exist by random chance.)
The study reminds me of the joke about Neal Armstrong’s first moonwalk. About 100 feet from the Lunar Lander, Neal stooped down and picked up a Rolex watch lying on the moon’s surface. It even had the correct time. Armstrong frantically radioed Houston and asked, “What do we do now? The camera was on me when I picked up the watch! People will think that we weren’t first to the moon. They may even believe the Russians beat us here!” Houston radioed back, “Don’t worry. We already have a story that earth will believe. We’ll just tell them that the watch evolved on the moon!”
I enjoyed the movie “Contact” starring Jodi Foster. She played a SETI scientist. SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) uses an array of huge radio receivers that listen for “organized”
radio signals. If a signal is random static, it is natural. If it is organized, however, it was undoubtedly sent by an intelligent source. For instance, the signal “2 – 2 – 4″ (about 10 bytes of information) is intelligent. Although SETI has not yet heard any such signal in its 30 years, they keep listening.
By some stretch of logic, many of those same scientists say that a DNA molecule containing four billion bytes of perfectly arranged information did not come from a source of intelligence. It just “happened!”
Considering the odds against evolution being true, why is it so important to some folks that wedo believe in evolution? What does our belief in evolution make possible?
- The discarding of “right and wrong.” If life is an accident of random atoms, does it really matter if a Boy Scout helps an elderly lady across the street or shoves her under a bus?
- Abortion rights. If we are just an accident of physics, does it matter if we kill our preborn children? After all, they have no soul. They have no rights. They are just “tissue.” Call any Planned Parenthood abortuary to hear this firsthand.) Tell that to any expectant mother who has felt a kick, heard the heartbeat, or seen the sonogram.
Somehow, that last assumption seems logical. For if mankind clings to something so unproven, so impossible, and so destructive, perhaps “man wasn’t intelligent enough to survive.”
A fitting epitaph.
I would ask that you read that entire post, which is a simplified explanation about these "simple" things that are by no means simple. Then do a bit of thinking?
by Brian Thomas, M.S. *
"Geologists, chemists, astronomers and biologists are as stumped as ever by the riddle of life," wrote Scientific American blogger John Horgan.2 ICR News has reported on more than a dozen recent failures by origin of life researchers to produce a naturalistic answer.3 And this giant void in evolutionary history had some of the researchers entertaining the non-explanation "that life originated elsewhere and floated here through space."4
Of course, this would solve nothing, since life would not only have had to evolve elsewhere (with, no doubt, the same or similar obstacles it would have faced here), but it would also have been required to endure the tough trek through space to earth. Ironically, other headlines issued during the same week of science news suggested that scientists are making real progress on the matter of naturalistic life origins. But the details, however, show just the opposite.
For example, a Discovery News headline read, "Life Elements Came from Space."5 It reported on research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which found that ammonia can be produced by crushing and heating a certain kind of meteorite under high pressure.6 The study's authors referred to their meteorite-derived, nitrogen-rich ammonia to suggest that ancient meteorites seeded an imaginary ancient earth with enough nitrogen to build proteins and DNA.
But if one were to grant that meteorites could have been exposed to the requisite high heat and pressure to have formed ammonia, what would have kept that same heat and pressure from destroying other fledgling biomolecules? And even with all the proper building materials made available, any complicated machine always needs an intelligent builder to construct it according to the necessary blueprints.
Plus, ammonia is tiny, made only of one nitrogen atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms. Its small size does not compare with the immense bulk of individual proteins and DNA, which are required for life. Thus, it is far too small to carry the information required for life. A collection of ammonia molecules is to a living cell what scattered broken nails are to a city.
Similarly, a recent feature in New Scientist favorably compared the way that cells function to the way that mixtures of oil drops and tar coalesce, claiming it could be a way in which conditions might have been "just right" for life to form.7 The comparison ignores the basic fact that oil blobs have none of the defining characteristics of life, including metabolism and reproduction. These are achieved through internal ingenious biochemistry, which is utterly absent from all tarry residues.
Whereas the tarry goo project and the PNAS ammonia research led by Arizona State's Sandra Pizzarello purported to offer some hope for a naturalistic explanation for how life began, the Arizona State conference of leading experts apparently accurately summarized the sad state of origin of life experiments. But it seems clear that none of the scientists from these groups have been asking the right questions.
To ask "what chemicals and conditions led to the formation of the first cell" presumes that cells can be made merely with chemicals and conditions. This presumption has been proven false, since cells also contain a vast store of information―an entity that is not a property of any chemical. And since science has proven that cells contain information, which has so far been found in the DNA and splicing codes,8 one wonders why origin of life researchers have not appropriately shifted their research question to "Could any combination of chemicals and conditions ever lead to a cell?"
In his Scientific American blog, author John Horgan wrote:
But this reasoning commits just as sophomoric an error as the claim that ammonia from a precisely treated meteorite somehow helps an "origin of life by nature" scenario. Only finite "creators," like humans, have beginnings. The "divine Creator" had no beginning, by very definition. If this were not so, then the world would not exist, since it must have begun at some point and could not have caused itself.9Creationists are no doubt thrilled that origin-of-life research has reached such an impasse...but they shouldn't be. Their explanations suffer from the same flaw: What created the divine Creator? And at least scientists are making an honest effort to solve life's mystery instead of blaming it all on God.2
And at least scientists who take the Bible seriously are honest enough to follow the experimental evidence where it leads, even when it is against a nature-only model and strongly for a supernatural origin for life.10
- Connor, S. We're all aliens…how humans began life in outer space. The Independent. Posted on independent.co.uk, March 1, 2011, accessed March 2, 2011.
- Horgan, J. Pssst! Don't tell the creationists, but scientists don't have a clue how life began. Scientific American Cross-check. Posted on scientificamerican.com February 28, 2011, accessed March 2, 2011.
- See Evidence for Creation: Only God Could Have Made Cells. Posted on www.icr.org.
- Overbye, D. A Romp Into Theories of the Cradle of Life. The New York Times. Posted on nytimes.com February 21, 2011, accessed March 2, 2011.
- Holm, C. Life Elements Came from Space. Discovery News. Posted on discvery.com March 1, 2011, accessed March 2, 2011.
- Pizzarello, S. et al. Abundant ammonia in primitive asteroids and the case for a possible exobiology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Published online before print February 28, 2011.
- Marshall, M. 2011. Primordial Pac-Man: Oil droplet hints at life's origin. New Scientist. 2802: 8-9.
- Thomas, B. Origins Breakthroughs of 2010: Human Genetics. ICR News. Posted on icr.org January 4, 2011, accessed March 3, 2011.
- Thomas, B. Hawking Says Universe Created Itself. ICR News. Posted in icr.org September 13, 2010, accessed March 3, 2011.
- For biographies of fifty fully credentialed creation scientists, see Ashton, J. F., ed. 2001. In Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.
- Shrimp deal: “Many deep-sea species have close relatives living in shallow, relatively warm water, but how shallow-water species were initially able to cope with the huge hydrostatic pressures of the deep ocean is poorly understood,” said a researcher at the University of Southampton. According to PhysOrg, the team studied closely-related shrimp that live in shallow waters and near deep-sea vents – environments with astonishing differences in pressure and temperature.
The observations merely demonstrated that these shrimp can live in either environment. Their evolutionary explanation had to invoke an unobserved ancestor: “These physiological capabilities were probably inherited from an ancestral species shared by both shallow-water and related vent species.”
The explanation, however, begs the question of how the putative ancestor gained the ability to survive both environments in the first place. And if the living species have that ability, what has been explained? Evolutionary theory appears to be a superfluous appendage to an observation that the shrimp are designed to survive in a wide variety of conditions.
- Hunt for and gather a story: We have a mystery. “One of the most complex human mysteries involves how and why we became an outlier species in terms of biological success” – particularly, why are human hunter-gatherer cultures so different from those of other primates? PhysOrg again came to the rescue to explain the mystery and deliver understanding, this time from scientists at the University of Arizona “who study hunter-gatherer societies”. The article promised their work is “informing the issue by suggesting that human ancestral social structure may be the root of cumulative culture and cooperation and, ultimately, human uniqueness.”
Clearly humans had ancestors, and some of them hunted and gathered – as some cultures do today. At first glance this explanation (actually just a suggestion) seems like a tautology; early humans had a unique ancestral social structure that gave birth to a modern unique social structure. The ASU team, intent on deriving human uniqueness from other primates, studied 32 modern foraging tribes, and found the obvious: they identified “human hunter-gatherer group structure as unique among primates.”
But how did they get that way? That’s the evolutionary question. “The increase in human network size over other primates may explain why humans evolved an emphasis on social learning that results in cultural transmission,” Professor Kim Hill offered. “Likewise, the unique composition of human ancestral groups promotes cooperation among large groups of non-kin, something extremely rare in nature.” Humans are unique because they evolved to be unique. Is that what he just said?
- The hand is quicker than the stone: “Stone Tools Influenced Hand Evolution in Human Ancestors, Anthropologists Say.” That’s a headline on Science Daily that claims research at University of Kent “confirmed Charles Darwin’s speculation that the evolution of unique features in the human hand was influenced by increased tool use in our ancestors.” But did the tools shape the hand, or did the hand shape the tools?
Here’s the data: “Research over the last century has certainly confirmed the existence of a suite of features in the bones and musculature of the human hand and wrist associated with specific gripping and manipulatory capabilities that are different from those of other extant great apes.” Then, the explanation: “These features have fuelled suggestions that, at some point since humans split from the last common ancestor of living apes, the human hand evolved away from features adapted for locomotion toward alternative functions.”
A creationist reading this is going to reject the assumption that humans split from a common ancestor. What can evolutionists argue as evidence for their view? One of the them at U of Kent put forward the possibility that the human hand “may have been subject to natural selection as a result of using simple cutting tools.” But why would a primate use tools without the equipment to do it? And what about a stone causes a hand to evolve? New Caledonian crows have probably been using tools longer than evolutionists think humans have, but their beaks do not appear to be changing much from those of other birds (see 05/26/2009 and links).
Somehow, their “may have” suggestion evolved into a triumph for Darwin:
Dr [Stephen] Lycett, Senior Lecturer in Human Evolution at the University’s School of Anthropology and Conservation, explained: ‘140 years ago, writing from his home at Down House in Kent, Darwin proposed that the use of stone tools may have influenced the evolution of human hands.Did the cultural behavior influence the evolution of the hand, or did the hand influence the cultural behavior? Or did both evolve together? In any of these cases, it is not clear that the observations about the uniqueness of the human hand have been explained at all.
‘Our research suggests that he was correct. From a very early stage in our evolution, the cultural behaviour of our ancestors was influencing biological evolution in specific ways.’
- Progress in size: Researchers at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center have convinced themselves that “Evolution Drives Many Plants and Animals to Be Bigger, Faster,” reported Science Daily. The challenge, though, is whether they could convince a nonbeliever in evolution with their explanation.
“Organisms with bigger bodies or faster growth rates tend to live longer, mate more and produce more offspring, whether they are deer or damselflies, the authors report.” So far, a correlation between size and fecundity is all they’ve served up. Whether lizards, snakes, insects and plants, the organisms in their sample of 100 species (as found in the literature on natural selection) displayed a “very widespread pattern” appearing to support the claim that “larger body size and earlier seasonal timing – such as earlier breeding, blooming or hatching – confer significant survival advantages.”
Questions arise immediately from this explanation, though: why doesn’t every animal and plant evolve to get bigger and faster over time? And why were so many extinct species much larger than their modern counterparts? If a prey animal gets bigger, but its predator simultaneously grows bigger and faster, has the prey animal won any survival advantage? (see “Slippage on the treadmill,” 03/17/2003). Another question: why don’t animals converge on a Goldilocks model – a medium size? The authors themselves were puzzled by that. “If organisms are supposedly well-adapted to their particular circumstances, then why is it so seldom the case that the individuals that survive and reproduce the best are the ones that are not too small, nor too big, but just right?”
Their initial explanation, therefore, required several auxiliary explanations. “The authors explored three possible explanations,” they said: (1) size is costly, (2) environments fluctuate (think Darwin’s finches), and (3) “A third possibility is that natural selection drives one trait in one direction, while simultaneously driving another, genetically correlated trait in the opposite direction.” Perhaps this could be dubbed the “House divided against itself cannot evolve” theory.
The problem with composite explanations, though, is figuring which one is the right one. If your doctor tells you your weight gain is caused by (1) lack of self-control, (2) genes, or (3) cancer, you would demand to know which one matters most. Composite explanations, further, violate Ockham’s Razor (see Ockham, Jan 2010 Scientist of the Month). Unless evolutionists come forward with a primary cause for the effect that can also explain the exceptions, it seems doubtful they’ve explained anything.
- Your inner tumor: Surely one of the most bizarre explanations offered by evolutionists recently is in the title of a story on New Scientist: “Tumours could be the ancestors of animals.” According to writer Colin Barras, this is “the idea that cancer is our most distant animal ancestor, a ‘living fossil’ from over 600 million years ago.” According Barras, Charles Lineweaver and Paul Davies have put forward the notion that “cancer is not simply linked to the evolution of animals – it was the earliest animals.”
As justification, the evolutionists showcased a tumor’s ability to evade the immune system and to generate blood vessels (angiogenesis). Understandably, though, “Reactions to Lineweaver and Davies’s idea vary from cautious enthusiasm to outright scepticism,” one calling it an “imaginative metaphor,” another, “a step too far.” “There is no evidence to believe that the ability to develop blood vessels is an ancient feature of animals,” a critic said.
In response, Lineweaver used evolution to justify evolution: “Fully developed angiogenesis had to have evolved from proto-angiogenesis,” he said. “I think it’s clear that some form of proto-angiogenesis was very important for the earliest animals.” How or why “proto-angiogenesis” (whatever that is) would have evolved in some unobserved ancestor incapable of understanding why it would be “very important” some day is left as an exercise in imaginative metaphor.
Nevertheless, it would appear desirable that scientific explanations aspire to more than ad hoc stories, complex explanations requiring multiple auxiliary hypotheses, composite explanations, mere suggestions, or tautologies (such as “things are as they are because they were as they were” – an explanation that works in reverse just as well). If the evolutionary explanation reduces to “stuff happens,” or things evolve because they evolve, then alternatives like intelligent design would seem to have grounds for competing in the marketplace of explanation.
The Darwin Storytelling Empire is a corrupt racket. It’s long overdue to expose their pretensions to providing superior scientific explanations. That’s why you read Creation-Evolution Headlines. All the other clueless news media just parrot the myths emanating from the clueless Darwinists, with no critical analysis whatsoever, thinking they have done their job. Their product is as empty as a balloon held aloft by hot fogma. (For definition of fogma, see the 05/14/2007 commentary).On the Horizon
What about science in general? In the late 20th century after logical positivism collapsed, philosophers of science were left wondering if scientific explanation was even possible. Some, like van Fraassen, concluded that explanation was not even the business of science. Describing useful patterns in experience in more and more detail was sufficient, he said; leave explanation to others, because it gets into metaphysics. But where does that leave the presumed epistemic superiority of science over the humanities, philosophy, or even theology? Why should science get an elevated status in the academy and popular culture if it cannot explain why the world is the way it is?
The key insight that undermines the Darwin explanatory program is that explanation requires presuppositions in the conceptual realm: the need for knowledge, truth, ethics, honesty, logic, universality and consistency. None of those things can be derived from evolutionary naturalism. When you hear an evolutionist assuming any of these things, you know he or she is cheating. Theology provides the only grounds for reasoning toward true truth about a real reality. When enough people employ the two-pronged attack on Darwinism (exposing their vacuous explanations and their pilfering of theological presuppositions), there may be hope of toppling the corrupt Darwin Storytelling regime (12/22/2003 commentary). Next headline on: Marine Biology • Early Man • Darwin and Evolution • Dumb Ideas • Philosophy of Science
Gear up for messages from Mercury. The MESSENGER spacecraft is nearing its orbit insertion on March 17. The science phase begins April 4. Given the surprises from the first three flybys (07/09/2008, 06/11/2009 bullet 1, 10/04/2009 bullet 12, 07/29/2010 bullet 2), we can expect more amazing images and puzzling phenomena. Live Science posted an interview with Sean Solomon, mission director, about what the team hopes to learn from the first orbital mission of the innermost planet.