Calm down; it’s probably not what you think

Fundamentalism is sticking with the foundations, the heart or core of something. It can accept additional things that are built up from that solid beginning, but rejects additions that get away from it.

For science, we must keep in mind that it is a tool that we humans devised for learning about and understanding the natural world and how it works. It is a method for investigating the world around us and discovering how much we can know for sure.
Continue reading Calm down; it’s probably not what you think

Creationist Boo-boos

Creationist Boo-boos? Yes, I think we need to recognize there have been mistakes on both sides. Before I go on with some more examples of errors that have plagued the science of evolution due to faith in Evolutionism*, I’d like to point out some mistaken or misused arguments that have been used by creationists. *(An example of faith that matter/energy and natural processes alone can account for everything.) So we can call these Creationist Boo-boos.

Using the Bible as a science textbook

Of course, it’s perfectly legitimate for a creationist to trust the Bible as the Word of God and take Genesis as a straightforward account of what actually happened in the beginning. The error comes in when creationists take the words as equivalent to scientifically technical terms, or read into them or beyond them various natural processes which might or might not have been involved. In other words, place excessive scientific significance in or between the lines. This is similar to the superstitious use of Scriptures that Sir Francis Bacon warned against.

I would also like to note, however, that evolutionists should not criticize using the Bible as a science text, but then turn around and criticize creationists for citing it in terms of its not matching scientific criteria. A history including God’s supernatural activity can’t be judged by the yardstick of known natural processes.
Continue reading Creationist Boo-boos

cow's udders - science vs evolutionism

Evo Boo-boos (science vs. evolutionism)

Evolutionism is bad for the science of evolution.

Creationists are not against the science of evolution but evolutionism, although there’s no telling how many are unaware of that. For their part, many evolutionists deny there is such a thing as evolutionism.  However, if we look at a number of things which creationists point out as failures of evolutionism, we see that they are examples of science gone bad due to evolutionism corrupting the scientific study of evolution.  I like to call these examples “Evo Boo-boos” for short. Continue reading Evo Boo-boos (science vs. evolutionism)

Canadian microfossils – first life of evolution or deepest of creation?

A recent (March 2017) article claims that scientist have found the oldest fossils yet. Are they the traces of the first life forms to be preserved? Do they show the earliest known step in evolution? Do they show how long ago life began? Certainly, if our derived dating methods are correct, these are the oldest fossils. Even so, they raise a couple of questions about the story of the origin and evolution of life.

The Story

The article, based on research published in the journal NATURE,  claims the fossils not only set the origin of life farther back than ever before, but also support the theory that life arose around deep-sea hydrothermal (hot water) vents. It also suggests that Mars might have had similar forms of life early in its history.  The article claims that “It was primordial microbes like those described in the study that set in motion the evolutionary march toward complex life and, eventually, the appearance of humans 200,000 years ago.”

The Facts

What do we actually know about these fossils? They were taken “from the Hudson Bay shoreline in northern Quebec” and consist of “Tiny filaments and tubes made of a form of iron oxide, or rust, formed by the microbes…encased in layers of quartz” within iron-rich sedimentary deposits. These deposits are estimated by experts to be about 4 billion (thousand million) years old.

The Significance

Many evolutionists have said that the origin of life is not part of the theory of evolution, but clearly it is important to know about it. If the dates assigned to these deposits and the age of the  Earth, and the theory of the formation of the Earth, are correct, they “suggest ‘an almost instantaneous emergence of life’ after ocean formation,” according to lead researcher Matthew S. Dodd. Of course, that also sets the stage for the story of the long march of evolution that just happened to include humans at the end, at least so far.

Too soon?

Or does it? Nobody is claiming that these were the first living things. One of the researchers, Dominic Papineau, said the find “shows microbial life diversified to specialized microbes very early in Earth history.” The early date assigned plus the time it would have taken to evolve to that point from the first life explain Dodd’s “almost instantaneous” estimate. There would not have been much evolutionary time between the first conditions necessary for life on Earth and these fossils.  This should raise a question in the minds of properly-skeptical scientists: If life arose so soon from chance conditions, how hard should it be for highly-intelligent scientists to re-create the event? They have been trying to do so for decades, and have only produced a few relatively simple organic molecules that don’t do anything. The conditions that produce these chemicals also produce others that would interfere with the functions of biological molecules (poisons).

Too Modern?

The reason for the confidence in identifying such tiny traces as showing early life raises another question. The report notes that the fossils’ “structure closely resembled modern bacteria that dwell near iron-rich hydrothermal vents.” If the very earliest traces of life look so much like those left by living things now, clearly there was nothing forcing the further evolution of life. Fossils assigned dates from hundreds of millions of years ago also appear very similar to living things. Clearly there is no environmental or biological imperative for life to evolve. Granting for the sake of argument that life did evolve from some early microbes into all the other forms, it must have been a process in which random mutations somehow just happened to produce changes that added up to all the new features needed to live in new conditions in new ways even while the population they came from was doing fine in the old conditions.

Further Considerations

Some might say that this is where God stepped in, but that raises a couple of other questions. If we allow that God was actively involved, what else might he have done? Why not take the Bible’s creation account at face value, and question man’s ability to give dates to things supposedly long before humans existed? Why would God create by gradually nudging natural forces?

We should also consider the fossil record in this light. If we have traces left by tiny bacteria billions of years ago, where are all the traces showing the major steps of evolution? We find fossils dated around 500 million years old (3.5 billion years after these Canadian traces) showing all the major designs (phyla) of many-celled living things.  Some of those, too, are very similar to living things. There is a great dearth of fossils assigned to the billions of years between. It’s not that there aren’t any traces. There are mysterious burrows and footprints, small bits of shells, and some strange forms that don’t seem closely related to any living things. So how is it that the major work of evolution has no evidence over all that time?

Creationists can look at the same data and come to different conclusions. We can’t rely on our ability to derive dates from current evidence. We see many distinct forms of life and distinct sets of fossils at various layers, without having to imagine lines of many more forms connecting them. In general, the oldest fossils are forms that lived on the bottom of the ocean. The most recent include forms that are the fastest, most agile swimmers; animals capable of living in the highest, driest, and coldest regions; and birds which can fly more powerfully and higher than any other living things. The general pattern of increasing altitude and mobility holds throughout the fossil record, with an understandable degree of overlap. This could fit within a global-Flood model of geology.

Conclusion

Fundamentalist science simply presents the facts: There is evidence that experts interpret as showing the age of these deposits is about 4 billion years. The traces appear to be very similar to those produced by bacteria living today near hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the sea today. Beyond that, if you want to believe that separately-created life forms were buried during the global Flood described in the Bible,  that’s a matter of faith. If you want to believe that life evolved from microbes over billions of years,  that’s a matter of faith, too.

References:

Canadian bacteria-like fossils called oldest evidence of life, Reuters, By Will Dunham, March 1, 2017

Evidence for early life in Earth’s oldest hydrothermal vent precipitates
Matthew S. Dodd, et al., NATURE, 543, 60–64 (02 March 2017), doi:10.1038/nature21377, Published online, 01 March 2017

no evolution of gorillas

Evolution data shows no sign of evolution – again.

Evolution? The headline seemed to be saying there was more data showing how ancient apes split into two groups, one heading toward modern gorillas and the other leading to other modern apes — and humans. I’m blogging about “Fossils Shed New Light on Human-Gorilla Split,” LiveScience.com, By Charles Q. Choi,  2/11/2016.

As usual, the title of the original research report was a bit clearer: “New geological and palaeontological age constraint for the gorilla–human lineage split.” (Nature 530, 215–218 (11 February 2016) doi:10.1038/nature16510) In other words, the data merely shows a limit on when the split might have happened — assuming that it did happen, and that the dating method is accurate.

What is this all about? Fossil teeth again. One thing we know for sure, the fossil teeth that appear to be the oldest gorilla teeth ever found “resembled those of modern gorillas.” Not much to go on, but it sounds like there has not been much change (evolution) between Chororapithecus and living gorillas. Continue reading Evolution data shows no sign of evolution – again.

Happy New Year

Just wishing those who are following this blog (both of you?) a great 2016. May there be many material and financial blessings for all, health and happiness, peace and good will. May we discover new things, and see old things in new ways, and especially see how science and faith, especially faith in Jesus Christ, have worked together and can continue to work together to bring such blessings to pass.

You don’t need a formal conspiracy to be unified.

When creationists talk about things such as, how mainstream scientists believe in evolution because of their shared worldviews, or that evolution is specially protected by the scientific establishment, evolutionists seem to get the idea that what creationists have in mind is some sort of global network of conspiracy, or a secret cabal pulling strings. In actuality, it’s simply a matter of common education and the philosophy of naturalism that are built into science today. Science is not itself an objective fact or principle, nor a law or gift from God. It is a human invention, it has been modified over the centuries, and all human activities are prone to human error.  A recent study shows one small way that an area of science can be stifled by an effect that might appear to be conspiratorial if the true cause wasn’t known.

Continue reading You don’t need a formal conspiracy to be unified.

Help! Yourself to bargains at Amazon (and maybe help me, too).

I doubt I can keep this up as just a hobby, so I’m working on making some money on it. I’m not allowed to tell you about one of the ways, but I’m sure Amazon will be happy if I point out the link over on the side that will take you away to their famous online store. I’ve bought quite a few things from Amazon and have been happy with the selection (cheap used books as well as new ones) and speed (not to mention reliability) of shipping. I could probably tie this in with science and how it relates to creationism and evolutionism, but right now I don’t have the time or energy. I think I can add my special affiliate link right here in a way that will open a new tab. If you don’t need to order a Christmas gift or two, you can always have fun looking, although I don’t think I get any money for that. Not sure this is going to work anyway, but at least you can enjoy E-shopping to see all the wonderful things that … oh yes, they’ve got science toys, gadgets, and gizmos, robots and high-tech appliances, TVs, music — did you know Francis Bacon predicted that we would learn to transmit and store music? So go Shop at Amazon.com!

Or first see some of my suggestions (You can still use the link on the side after that, if you want to look for something else).

Another Great Story about Whales

The evolutionary story of how whales came to be is a classic example of how this sort of thing shouldn’t be considered the same as science that studies things we can repeatedly observe and test, even when it seems to be having success.  From Darwin’s speculating that “something like a bear” might have taken up eating stuff in the water for generations until the practice molded them into aquatic creatures, to a scrap piece of skull producing a picture of a paddle-legged swimmer when later discoveries of more extensive fossils showed it really had long, skinny legs and probably never stuck more than its head in the water.

The latest addition to the story is the report on “Fucaia buelli,” a very small whale classified as an “aetiocetid,” one of the extinct kinds of “toothed mysticetes.” Today, mysticetes are all toothless as adults, using the filtering structures known as baleen instead. They are commonly known as baleen whales: right whales, humpback whales, blue whales, and others. Evolutionists were thrilled to find fossils of adult whales with both teeth and baleen, assuming they showed how baleen whales came to be — they evolved from toothed whales that mutated to grow baleen, then they mutated so they lost their teeth. That second stage seems reasonable enough, it’s easy for a mutation to knock out the production of something. But what about that first step? Continue reading Another Great Story about Whales

Soft Tissues: Hard to stretch over millions of years

When scientists step beyond the proper limits of science, such as the limit of time in which things  have been scientifically observed and recorded, something other than the method of repeatedly observing and testing things will dictate how data is explained. Supernatural events and explanations are by their nature not limited by the limits of nature, so naturally natural philosophers (now called scientists) tend to avoid them. So, whatever we find in nature, most scientists today have to explain without considering what the Bible (or other religious source) says that God (or other supernatural entity) did in the past that might throw off such explanations. Obviously, creating the heavens and the Earth in one swell foop of six days is going to produce things that would take billions of years to form, assuming that natural processes alone could somehow do it.

So there are some things that “Young Earth” scientists have struggled to explain, such as how we can see stars that are billions of light years away. I believe there’s a simple supernatural explanation, but there are a number of (more or less) natural explanations that have been proposed. There are other things that mainstream scientists are struggling to show nature can produce, such as the origin of life.   Continue reading Soft Tissues: Hard to stretch over millions of years

Religion antithetical to science? Obviously not …

Notes based on Men of Science — Men of God by Henry M. Morris, copyright 1988, 13th
printing 1997. (with plenty of my own thoughts and recollections added in) I hope they encourage you to look up the book and buy it so you can get the full stories.

 

I think the hardest part was to just note a few of the names and pertinent facts, and not give in to the temptation to copy the whole book. I’m going in chronological order. Anything not in quotes (other than the dates and names) is probably not in the book.

 

A lot of people may not see a lot of significance in these cases, but there are some people who seem to think that religion of any sort or degree is totally incompatible with science. However, it’s also been argued that it was the Christian worldview in which modern science flourished which was primarily responsible for its strength and vigor, and indeed science as we know it may never have formed under other cultural conditions. It seems enough to me to show how many different fields of science were founded by men who were sincere believers, even if some of them had unorthodox religious ideas.  It is also telling that some of the greatest scientists of all  are included in this list.  Some cases seem so significant to me that they could stand alone as refutations of the idea that religious thought is anathema to scientific research and the scientific mind. Perhaps you will feel the same about others.  When I saw the first one, it seemed that alone was “enough said” on the subject, but there were four or five more that seemed to have that status, along with all the other cases, examples of religious scientists spread all across the fields of science and over centuries of time.

Continue reading Religion antithetical to science? Obviously not …