Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

Design Falsifiable

I’m preparing some different science posts today, since I have nothing to do, which I’m finding boring in a sick sort of way. Why would I want to be doing school work? I really don’t know. But anyway, as I was going through my notes, I discovered this page amidst my fifty others, and found it rather interesting.

I don’t know about you, but my science teacher has explained that science cannot justify a Creator because it cannot be tested, and is therefore not falsifiable. It’s purely a moral conviction. But is this true?

Ironically, it’s being called unfalsifiable by the people falsifying it. Miller proposed a test that would falsify the claim that intelligence is needed to produce an irreducibly complex system (IRC). To understand what this means, you have to understand what irreducibly complex means. Darwin wrote in his Origin of Species, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Now, a system or device is irreducibly copmlex if it has a number of different components all working together to accomplish the task of the system, and if you were to remove a component, the system would be unable to function. An IRC is unlikely to come about through Darwin’s process, piece by piece, as the system must be fully present in order to function.

So what was being proposed by Miller was a test that he said could falsify the claim that has been made saying that only God can produce an IRC. For example, I claim that there is no unitelligent process to produce flagellum. To falsify this claim, I’d have to find one unintelligent process that could produce said system. Darwinists claim that some unintelligent process could indeed produce the flagellum. To falsify that, you’d have to show that the process couldn’t have been created by any potentially infinite number of possible unintelligent processes. Which is impossible to do.

So which claim is falsifiable? Design.

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This is a very long post, so make sure you have time when you sit down to read it!

William Province of Cornell University has said that if Darwinism is true, there is no evidence for God, there is no life after death, there is no absolute foundation for right and wrong, there is no ultimate meaning for life, and people don’t really have free will. But is this really the case? Does science prove that there is no God, or does the evidence point to intelligent design?

Dr. Jonathon Wells, possessing a Ph.D in cellular and molecular biology, says that evolution cannot be defined merely as ‘change’. Instead, scientists agree that biological change has occurred, and that Darwinism is the theory that all living creatures are modified descendants of a common ancestor that lived long ago. According to Darwinism, even humans are from apes and have common ancestry with fruit flies. Darwinism also makes the claim that every new species that has ever appeared can be explained by descent, with some modification. Neo-Darwinism claims that these modifications are the result of natural selection acting on random genetic mutations. But why do they make these claims, and what is their proof?

The four images typically seen in science books to promote evolution are the Stanley Miller Experiment, Darwin’s Tree of Life, Ernst Haeckel’s drawings of embryos, and the archaeopteryx missing link. The Stanley Miller Experiment was executed by creating a primordial soup similar to the atmosphere of primitive earth, and shooting electric sparks through it to simulate lightning. This experiment produced red goo that created amino acids, the building blocks of life. Darwin’s Tree of Life starts as a trunk to become a tree, starting at fish with amphibians branching off of that branch, and reptiles branching from amphibians, and birds, mammals, and finally humans, following in the same pattern. Ernst Haeckel’s drawings compared embryos of a fish, salamander, tortoise, chick, hog, calf, rabbit and human at an early stage of development. Finally, the archaeopteryx is an ancient wing that dates back one hundred and fifty million years ago. The wing came from a creature with the wings, feathers and wishbone of a bird, but had a lizard-like tail and claws on the wings.  

The first question that should come to mind when examining the Miller Experiment should be, Did they use the correct atmosphere? Indeed, nobody knows what the early atmosphere was like. Miller used a hydrogen-rich mixture of methane, ammonia, and water vapor. However, while there is no evidence for a methane-ammonia atmosphere on earth, there is plenty of evidence against it. The common belief among scientists today is that there was very little hydrogen in the atmosphere, as it would have escaped into space, and the atmosphere more than likely consisted primarily of CO2, N2, and H2O vapor. So what happens when the correct mixture is used?

Nothing. Only organic molecules are produced. Why is this not a good thing? Organic molecules include molecules such as formaldehyde and cyanide, both extremely toxic. Formaldehyde fumes will kill proteins and embryos. Since proteins are composed of amino acids, this would make life impossible. True, a good organic chemist can convert organic molecules into biological molecules. But that formaldehyde and cyanide are the right substrates for life…a joke. Even if it was possible for a scientist to produce amino acids from a realistic atmosphere (which is chemically impossible), or if a comet brought them to earth, it would still be a far stretch to create a living cell. You would have to have the right amino acids link up correctly to make a protein molecule. Then you would need dozens of protein molecules, formatted in the correct sequence, to make a living cell, not to mention the complicated process of  DNA synthesis.

The probability of a situation such as this to occur would be equivalent to putting a sterile, balanced salt solution in a test tube. If you put a single cell in the solution and poke a hole in it so its contents leak in the solution, the mixture now has all the molecules needed to create a living cell (which is more than there was in the beginning). Good luck turning that into a cell. You need enzymes, DNA, and other components to create a living cell, and the chances of those forming are astronomically unlikely. Even though the first cell would have been much simpler than those seen today, the thought that such a situation could produce such a structure is simply ridiculous.

If life didn’t come about in this way, then what theories are there as to its beginning? There is the RNA theory, which says that RNA somehow was a ‘molecular cradle’ from which early cells developed. However, nobody could demonstrate how RNA could have formed before living cells existed to make it, as the purpose of RNA is to copy DNA, which would have to be present in the cell for RNA to have a reason for existence. Another problem with this theory is that RNA wouldn’t have been able to survive in Earth’s initial conditions.

So with all of this questionable data, how much power does the Miller Experiment hold today? This experiment is prominently featured in textbooks, even with pictures. According to Wells, though, this experiment is misleading at best. Origin-of-life expert Walter Bradley said that the difficulties spanning the gap between non-life and life means there may be no potential of finding a theory for how life could have generated spontaneously.

Darwin’s Tree of Life as an illustration of the fossil record is an abysmal representation, but as an illustration of Darwin’s theory, it is excellent. Darwin’s theory expanded beyond natural selection to the point that if creatures continued to change in different environments, then new species would be formed. The key aspect of his tree was that natural selection would act “slowly by accumulating slight, successive, favorable variations” and “no great or sudden modifications” were possible.

However, Darwin’s tree is not supported by fossil evidence that has been uncovered by scientists. Darwin’s theory predicts a long history of gradual deviation from a common ancestor, with the differences slowly becoming larger until you get the major differences we have now. The problem is that fossil evidence shows major jumps between phyla. Even in Darwin’s day these jumps were known, and this is now called the Cambrian Explosion.

The Cambrian Explosion is a geological period that supposedly began a little more than five hundred and forty million years ago. This period gives rise to sudden appearances of most major animal phyla alive today, plus some extinct species. Before the explosion, there were jellyfish, sponges, and worms, but no evidence to support Darwin’s theory of a long history of gradual divergence. Then the Cambrian Explosion appears, and we see arthropods, echinoderms, and chordates. Mammals came later, but the fact that chordates were at the beginning of the Cambrian Explosion is contrary to the Tree of Life. Why were these developed creatures of so different structures so close to each other in the fossil record? Add to this the fact that fossils of these creatures just appearing is certainly not how a branching tree would appear. One argument is that the organisms that existed before the Cambrian Explosion were too small or soft to leave fossils. This is unlikely. Millions of fossils have been uncovered, and an abundance of sedimentary rock before the Cambrian period could have contained these fossils, but they did not. The Cambrian Explosion is too big to be masked by flaws in the fossil record. Even if this were not so, there are microfossils of bacteria dating back three billion years, plus fossils of soft-bodied organisms that existed before the Cambrian have been discovered in Australia. These are also found in the Cambrian Explosion itself.

Scientists are using molecular evidence in an attempt to prove that there was a common ancestor before the Cambrian period. You cannot find this evidence in fossils, but in living organisms. Scientists will examine a molecule basic to life, such as ribosomal RNA form an organism such a starfish, and then compare this molecule to its equivalent in a snail, worm, and frog. If similarities are found, scientists assume that they have a common ancestor, and then form a theoretical tree with the ‘proof’.

The problem is that if you compare the molecular tree with anatomy, you get a different tree. They can examine another molecule and end up with another tree altogether. Plus, if you give the same molecule to two different laboratories, they will each develop their own theoretical tree.

Darwin’s Tree of Life is not even a good hypothesis at this point, yet it is prominently featured in textbooks as fact.

The third image of evolution is Haeckel’s embryos. These images have embryos of a fish, salamander, tortoise, chicken, hog, calf, rabbit and human at three stages of development. While at first glance they appear legitimate and good evidence for a common ancestor, there are three problems with this theoretical proof.

The first problem was that these drawings were declared fake by his colleagues in the late 1860s. They explained that Haeckel had used the same wood block to print some of the early stage embryos because he was so sure his theory was accurate. Other times he doctored the drawings so that they fit more similarly. Even prominent atheist and evolutionist Steven Jay Gould complained about this.

Problem number two was that Haeckel picked what he wanted to display. His most famous rendition showed eight columns that included four placental mammals, – excluding the other two types of mammals that were extremely different and wouldn’t follow his theory – a reptile, bird, amphibian, and fish, which are also more similar than the other classes that he omitted from this depiction. He used a salamander to represent amphibians instead of a frog. Through these choices, he simply chose what would best represent his theory, not that which best represented reality.

The last problem is that Haeckel claims that these drawings are from an early stage of development, when really they represent the middle stage. The actual early stage looks far different from the drawings he created. This is detrimental to Haeckel’s argument because Darwin claimed that the early stage is what demonstrates common ancestry.

To comprehend this, the concept of the ‘development hourglass’ must be understood. Embryologists use this to describe the measure of difference during stages of development. As an embryo forms, the beginning stages – or the top of the hourglass – in different creatures are extremely different, while during the middle stage the embryos are extremely similar. Then they become different once more towards the end of development – the bottom of the hourglass. This is especially evident because cell divisions in animals, such as mammals, are different from those in other classes. It can even differ within classes.

Here’s the deal: scientists say they know the theory is true, so they use the theory itself to explain why the evidence doesn’t fit. The problem: Where is the evidence for the theory?

A similar argument used is the comparison between bone structures in a bat’s wing, a porpoise’s flipper, a horse’s leg and a human hand. This similarity is called homology. Darwin didn’t actually point out these similarities; his predecessors did, and they were not evolutionists. Richard Owen, a famous anatomist of Darwin’s time, said that these similarities pointed to a common archetype or design, not descent with modification.

An example with similarity alone does not tell us whether or not the example is one of design or descent with modification. A case of this would be Berra’s Blunder. Phillip Johnson gave this term to biologist Tim Berra’s book in 1990. Berra compared fossils to automobile models, saying that when the 1953 and ’54 models of a Corvette and the ’54 and ’55 models are compared, it is easy to see that they display descent with modification. He said this is how paleontologists work with fossils. His point, however, was used instead as an argument for design. Somebody had designed and guided the process of creating these cars. By using this example, he proved that a mechanism is needed.

So what was the mechanism for Darwin’s theory? One would be ‘common developmental pathways’, meaning if you have two animals with homologous features and you trace them back to the embryo, you will find that they come from similar cells and processes. However, this doesn’t work. For example, a frog looks like they could be developing like a frog or a bird, but they still develop as a frog, every time. Another theory would be that homologies are from similar genes. This theory says that when two features are homologous in two different animals, similar genes in the embryo would have programmed them. Once again, this doesn’t work. There are cases where there are similar features in different genes, but plenty of cases where similar genes have different features. An example would be an octopus and a mouse have similar eyes. A fruit fly’s eye is very different and multi-faceted, yet all these inherit these traits from the same gene.

So supposedly we share ninety-eight to ninety-nine percent of the same genes as apes. Can we then assume that we share a common ancestor? If you assume with Neo-Darwinism that we are our genes, then you could assume that he two percent is what makes us so different. Therefore, this would not determine that we have a common ancestor.

The last image often cited is the archaeopteryx, the missing link that scientists have been searching for for decades. Supposedly the wing shows the link between bird and reptile, but just like with the Corvette’s, it doesn’t display Darwinism. We also cannot determine from the wing whether or not you get from reptile to bird by natural process or design. There are animals like the platypus that fall into several different classes, so maybe this creature was similar.

We now run into the question of whether or not the archaeopteryx was half bird and half reptile. Based on breeding, bones, lungs, weight and muscles, the archaeopteryx is very much a bird. But the story of the archaeopteryx gets even better. Cladististics, a branch of evolutionary theory that takes evolution to an extreme, defines homology as being due to common ancestry. Cladists say that animals can be grouped on the evolutionary tree based on homologies, going to the fossil record to assume that birds came from reptiles by descent, and then looking for reptiles that are bird-like in skeletal structure. The problem here is that they discover these fossils millions of years after the archaeopteryx, which is a bird, and yet the reptilian ancestors are millions of years later. The missing link is still missing.

The link for terrestrial dinosaurs and birds is also trying to be discovered. In 1999, a fossil was purchased at an Arizona mineral show. Called the archaeoraptor, the fossil showed the tail of a raptor and the forelimbs of a bird. While some called this evidence of feathered dinosaurs being ancestors of the first bird, a Chinese paleontologist proved that the man who had sold the fossil had glued the tail to a primitive bird. Another attempt around the same time was the bambiraptor, a chicken-sized dinosaur with supposed bird-like qualities. No feathers found with the fossil, creating an obvious problem for scientists. However, instead of admitting that this was not a correct fossil, they simply added feathers, saying that there should have been some present.

Another glaring fraud was turkey DNA found in a sixty-five million year old dinosaur bone. One hundred percent turkey DNA. Even a chicken doesn’t have DNA that close to a turkey. A student in college would have been laughed at for even suggesting such a thing, yet this data was published as fact and evidence for a relationship between dinosaurs and birds.

Dutch scientist Eugene Dubois discovered bones on an Indonesian island river bank in the years 1891-1892. Called “Java man”, these bones dated back half a million years, supposedly representing a stage from an ancient ancestor. However, this man was constructed from a skull cap, a femur, three teeth, and a lot of imagination. Several years ago, National Geographic hired four artists to construct a female from seven bones. Four models were made: an African-American, a werewolf, a woman with a gorilla-like brow, and one with a missing forehead with a beak-like jaw. Obviously, these bones couldn’t be proof of an ancient ancestor, if every time somebody tried to put the bones together a different skeleton was made.

So what can we deduce from the evidence? One, the Miller experiment does not by any means support the Big Bang model. Two, the Cambrian explosion undermines Darwin’s Tree of Life. Three, Haeckel’s embryos are simply a fraud to attempt to explain evolution. Four, the fossils found are inadequate to recreate supposed ‘missing links’. Based on the current evidence, evolution doesn’t have many answers. However, there is still much to explore.

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