Origins - Evolution and information


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This presentation examines evolution and information theory and shows how the evidence points to a Creator of the universe.

Published in: Spiritual, Technology
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  • Thank you for the reference and your excellent slides! I've been using them for a class I'm teaching to highschoolers on apologetics.
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  • The event is chronicled in Dr. Gerald Schroeder's book 'The Science of God' pp. 34-39, with outside references (e.g. Scientific American, etc.) found on pg. 39.
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  • Slide #13 says Dr. Walcott hid his fossil findings since they challenged Darwinian gradual evolution. Do you have a source that this was a cover up?
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Origins - Evolution and information

  1. 1. Origins “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, beingunderstood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. ” (Romans 1:20) Evolution and Information
  2. 2. “Some would claim the answer to these questions is that there is a God whochose to create the universe that way. It is reasonable to ask who or what created the universe, but if the answer is God, then the question has merely beendeflected to that of who created God. In this view it is accepted that some entity exists that needs no creator, and thatentity is called God. This is known as the first-cause argument for the existence of God. We claim, however, that it ispossible to answer these questions purely within the realm of science, and without invoking any divine beings.” – Stephen Hawking The Grand Design
  3. 3. A Quick Overview of Evolution1. For this discussion, we’ll use the following definition: Biological evolution attempts to explain the change in existing biological entities and their progression over time2. Micro-evolution describes the changes within a specific type/species3. Macro-evolution is a major evolutionary transition from one type of organism to another occurring at the level of the species4. Survival of the fittest (coined by Herbert Spencer) is argued as to its definition, but is normally understood to be natural selection, or the preservation of favored races/species in the struggle for life.
  4. 4. “In grammar school they taught methat a frog turning into a prince was afairy tale. In the university they taught me that a frog turning into a prince was a fact!” - Ron Carlson
  5. 5. A Quick Overview of Evolution“Large evolutionary innovations are not well understood. None has ever been observed, and we have no idea whether any may be in progress. There is no good fossil record of any.” - Paul WessonBy contrast, micro-evolutionary variations due to mutation and natural selection have been and are observed. Postulating an unobserved designer is no more unscientific than postulating unobserved macro-evolutionary steps.
  6. 6. Naturalistic Philosophy’s Assertions1. Biological evolution is incompatible with the existence of a Creator2. Biological evolution accounts for the existence of all of life’s complexities3. Natural selection is a blind, automatic process with no purpose4. Natural selection is the explanation for the existence of all life
  7. 7. Is Evolution the Answer?Does evolution answerthe critical question of existence – why wehave something rather than nothing? And does it explain the specific complexity found in life?
  8. 8. Is Evolution the Answer?“An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: "I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isnt agood explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one." I cant help feeling thatsuch a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made itpossible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” - Richard Dawkins
  9. 9. Is Evolution the Answer? “It seems to me that Richard Dawkins constantly overlooks the fact that Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of TheOrigin of Species, pointed out that his whole argument began with a being which already possessed reproductive powers. This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. Itnow seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.” - Anthony Flew, philosopher and former atheist
  10. 10. Does Evolution Mean No Creator? No. First, we have seen that evolution only deals with existing beings. Second,evolution purports to be a biological mechanism. God is regarded to be a personalAgent who, among other things, designs and creates mechanisms. And there is no reason randomness cannot be part of a mechanism – for example, software uses random number generators and such all the time. Just as you would not conclude that a robotic car factory did not evolve, but was designed, in life, perhaps the intelligence is one step removed as well…
  11. 11. Does Evolution Mean No Creator? “Either half of my colleagues are enormously stupid, or else the science of Darwinism is fully compatible withconventional religious beliefs. . . Science simply cannot adjudicate the issue of God’spossible existence. We neither affirm it nor deny it; we simply can’t comment on it as scientists.” - Stephen Jay Gould
  12. 12. Does The Fossil Record Help? “The number of intermediatevarieties which have formerly existed on the earth [should] be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links. Geology assuredly does not reveal any such graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps is the mostobvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.” - Charles Darwin “I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument [for macro-evolution]” - Colin Patterson
  13. 13. The Fossil Cover Up In 1889, Charles Doolittle Walcott made a major fossil discovery in the Canadian Rocky mountains. In rocks too old to contain fully formed, complex biological entities, Walcott found some 60,000 fossils of that type. Walcott knew that there was not enough time forevolution to produce such entities from square one – all had appeared simultaneously and fully formed. Such a finding challenged Darwinian gradual evolution, so Dr. Walcott hid all the findings in his lab in 1909. At the time, Walcott was the Director of the Smithsonian Institute.
  14. 14. The Fossil Cover Up When Walcott’s fossils were re- discovered in the mid-1980’s, the effect was very dramatic. In 1992, Scientific American was moved years later to print a story about it and ask the question “Has the mechanism of evolution altered?” National Geographic, the New York Times, and Time all printedstories speaking of “Evolution’s Big Bang.” Yet today, high school biology textbooks mostly ignore this data and its implications.
  15. 15. Does The Fossil Record Help?“The history of most fossil species includes two features particularlyinconsistent with the idea that they gradually evolved:1. Stasis – most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking pretty much the same as when they disappear, morphological change is usually limited and directionless.2. Sudden appearance. In any local area a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’” - Stephen Jay Gould
  16. 16. “The most thorough study of species formation in the fossil record confirms that new species appear with a most un- Darwinian abruptness.” Dr. Richard Kerr"Did Darwin Get It All Right?" Science, 267:1421, 1995 Comment on article: (1) The reality of sudden saltations in the fossil record or "punctuated equilibrium" implies that those unfound transitional fossils beloved by thegradualists are truly missing. (2) The higherthe taxonomic level, the more silent the fossil record. There are few clues as to how themajor divisions of life (the phylla) originated.
  17. 17. What about the Archaeopteryx? The archaeopteryx is held up as the perfect example of a transitional species – feathers on wings speak ofthe bird, but it had jaws and teeth, not a beak, so it seems to also be a reptile.However, many scientists now believe it was simply a bird. Interestingly, in Leviticus 11:18, birds are listed and one of them is the tinshemet. Then in Leviticus, reptiles are listed, and the tinshemet appearsagain. Evidently, the Scripture felt theanimal fell into both categories and was a single animal, not a macro- evolutionary entity.
  18. 18. “The fossil evidence that challenges this classic concept of evolution has been found worldwide. . . . All body plans represented in the thirty-four animal phyla extant today appear as a single burst in the fossil record. And it happened 530 million years ago.Those are the data. No one disputes them. . . .One of the great mysteries of animal evolutionis why no new phyla have appeared since that Cambrian explosion of life.” - Dr. Gerald Schroeder
  19. 19. Evolution’s Main Argument “The reason we know for certain we are all related, including bacteria, is the universality of the genetic code and other biological fundamentals.” – Richard Dawkins This doesn’t rule out a Creator at all. Perhaps everything has similarity because it has a common designer and source vs. a common ancestor. Similarity and progression does not automatically imply common ancestry. While some studies show that humans and chimps have DNA similarities approaching 90-95%, thesimilarities between humans and mice is 90%. All humans DNA are 99.9% identical.
  20. 20. Similarity vs. ProgressionDoes the similarity between these items mean that one evolved from the other? Did the pot evolve from the spatula or spoon?The DNA code – ATCG – implies similarity but does not mean they evolved from each other. For example the following letters in the two sentences are identical, but a slight difference yields opposite meanings: Charles Darwin was a scientific god Charles Darwin was a scientific dog
  21. 21. A Common Source for Life “Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures aftertheir kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. ” (Genesis 1:24)“Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the fieldand every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. ” (Genesis 2:19) “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, andbreathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. ” (Genesis 2:7)
  22. 22. Look Designed? “Living objects . . . look designed, they look overwhelmingly as thoughthey’re designed. Biology is the study of complicated things which give the impression of having been designed for a purpose.” - Richard Dawkins
  23. 23. A Quick Correction on ‘Intelligent Design’“Intelligent Design” may strike you as a curious expression – don’t we always think of ‘design’ as the result of intelligence? Therefore the adjective “intelligent” is redundant.
  24. 24. The Difference in Data & Information
  25. 25. DNA Is Information like software“At first approximation, one can therefore think of DNA as an instructional script, a software program, sitting in the nucleus of thecell. Its coding language has only for letters (or two bits, in computer terms). Aparticular instruction known as a gene, is made up of hundreds or thousands of letters of code.” Dr. Francis Collins
  26. 26. Randomness in Software…?If there is one thing a software developer does not want, it is randomness in their code. One misplaced semi-colon or letter can cause a program that consists of ten thousand lines to not work.
  27. 27. DNA Is the Result of Intelligence “It is important to understand that we are not reasoning by analogy. The sequencehypothesis applies directly to the protein and the genetic text as well as to written language and therefore the treatment is mathematically identical.” Dr. Herbert P. Yockey, Biologist “DNA did not create life; life created DNA” - Barry Commoner, Biologist
  28. 28. DNA – Genetic Code “Investigations of manyorganisms, from bacteria to humans, revealed that this ‘genetic code’, by which information in DNA and RNA is translated into protein, is universal in allknown organisms. No towerof Babel was to be allowed in the language of life. . . .How deeply satisfying is thedigital elegance of DNA!” Dr. Francis Collins
  29. 29. “If you’re trying to explain an event in the remote past youshould rely on our knowledge of the cause/effect structureof the world and you should be looking for a cause that has the capability or power to produce the known effect inquestion. It is the principle of sufficient or adequate reason.Darwin’s mentor Charles Lyell gave this to him. Lyell put it this way: ‘In investigating the past we should be looking for causes now in operation’. Now as to Information and intelligence: What is the cause now in operation of digital information? That is intelligence. By using Darwin’s own principle of reasoning, we can use an inference to the best explanation: intelligence produces information.” - Dr. Stephen Meyer
  30. 30. Evolutionists Admit Information “What lies at the heart ofevery living thing is not a fire,warn breath, nor a ‘spark oflife’. It is information, words, instructions. . . . Think of a billion discrete digitalcharacters. . . . If you want to understand life think about information technology.” - Richard Dawkins
  31. 31. Evolutionists Admit InformationDarwinist Richard Dawkins admits that the message found in justthe cell nucleus of an amoeba is more than all thirty volumes of theEncyclopedia Britannica, with the entire amoeba itself having as much information in its DNA as 1,000 complete sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The important thing to understand is that the makeup of these entities is not random, but instead the information is highly organized.
  32. 32. “In no way can the concept of‘information’, the concept of conveying a message, be articulated in terms of the concepts of physics and chemistry, eventhough the latter can be shown to explain how the molecular machinery (DNA, RNA, and protein) operates to carry information.” - Arthur Peacocke, Theologian and Scientist
  33. 33. Confusing ‘basis’ and ‘implication’ “What the media wants to do is say ifyou believe that the intelligence we see in life is God then you are doing religion and not science. Not true. Scientific reasoning and evidence are being used in Intelligent Design. These have implications that go past the mere scientific. The mediaconfuses the basis for intelligent design with the implications of the theory in order to stigmatize it.” - Dr. Stephen Meyer
  34. 34. Design or Chance? One Design One by Chance?
  35. 35. Pushing Out the Problem Doesn’t Help There are two possibilities forintelligence: it is either transcendent orimmanent. You see design in the fabric of the universe; not the result of a creature in the universe but something beyond it. Dawkins proposes spacealiens for the reason we see intelligence here but he also says that the alienwould have had to have evolved as well. The problem is if you can’t get the evolutionary process to solve theinformation process here on earth, why think it could happen elsewhere?Kicking it to outer space doesn’t help. - Dr. Stephen Meyer
  36. 36. With all the evidencepointing to intelligencebehind the informationwe see in life, why don’t atheistic evolutionists admit what is really there?
  37. 37. A Battle of Worldviews – Theism vs. Naturalism “I am not an agnostic. I am an atheist. My attitude is notbased on science, but rather on faith. . . . The absence of a Creator, the non-existence of God is my childhood faith, my adult belief, unshakable and holy.” - George Klein, Immunologist
  38. 38. A Battle of Worldviews – Theism vs. Naturalism“In China we can criticize Darwin, but not the government; in America you can criticize the government, but not Darwin.” - Jun-Yuan Chen, Palaeontologist
  39. 39. “The world needs to wake up from the long nightmare of religion. . . Anything we scientists can do toweaken the hold of religion should bedone, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization.” - Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate
  40. 40. No Design but Intelligence? “Biologists must constantly keepin mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.” - Francis Crick “Given the weaknesses of all theories of terrestrial genesis, directed panspermia [the deliberate planting of life on Earth by aliens] should still beconsidered a serious possibility.” - Francis Crick
  41. 41. Atheists Know Intelligence When they See it ‘Contact’ was a movie based on a novel by atheist CarlSagan. It was about scientists searching for intelligent life in space. Before long, the project does, indeed, discover thefirst confirmed communication from extraterrestrial beings, arepeating series of the first 261 prime numbers (a sequenceof prime numbers is a commonly predicted first message from alien intelligence, since mathematics is considered a "universal language," and it is conjectured that algorithms that produce successive prime numbers are sufficientlycomplicated so as to require intelligence to implement them). “Incidentally, is it not to be wondered at that ourarchaeologist immediately infers intelligent origin when faced with a few simple scratches whereas some scientists, when faced with the 3.5 billion letter sequence of the humangenome, inform us that it is to be explained solely in terms of chance and necessity?” John Lennox, PhD, Mathematics, Philosophy
  42. 42. Scientists Know Intelligence When they See it “If science is based on experience, then science tells us that the message encoded in DNA must have originated from an intelligent cause. What kind of intelligent agent was it? On its own, sciencecannot answer this question; it must leave it to religion and philosophy. But that should not prevent science from acknowledging evidences for an intelligent cause origin wherever they may exist.” - Dean Kenyon, Biophysicist
  43. 43. God or Evolution of the Gaps?“Your protein defies the lawsof mass action – evolution did it! Your complicated mess of chemical reactions turns into a chicken – evolution! The human brain works on logical principles no computer can emulate? Evolution is the cause!” – Dr. John Lennox
  44. 44. The Teleological ArgumentThe teleological (telos, from the Greek word which means “design” ) argument says that the universe and mankind exhibit marks of intelligence and design. •Behind every complex design is a designer •The universe has a complex design •Therefore, the universe has a designer
  45. 45. “I think the origins of the laws of nature and of life and the Universe point clearly to an intelligent Source. The burden of proof is on those who argue to the contrary.” – Anthony Flew, former outspoken atheist
  46. 46. Origins “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, beingunderstood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. ” (Romans 1:20) Evolution and Information