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Design and the Anthropic Principle
Origin ^ | 2002 | Dr. Hugh Ross, Ph.D.

Posted on 01/29/2006 8:13:04 AM PST by STD

Design and the Anthropic Principle Dr. Hugh Ross, Ph.D.

Hugh Ross launched his career at age seven when he went to the library to find out why stars are hot. Physics and astronomy captured his curiosity and never let go. At age seventeen he was the youngest person ever to serve as director of observations for Vancouver's Royal Astronomical Society. With the help of a provincial scholarship and a National Research Council (NRC) of Canada fellowship, he completed his undergraduate degree in physics (University of British Columbia) and graduate degrees in astronomy (University of Toronto). The NRC also sent him to the United States for postdoctoral studies. At Caltech he researched quasi-stellar objects, or "quasars," some of the most distant and ancient objects in the universe.

Not all of Hugh's discoveries had to do with astrophysics. He observed with amazement the impact of describing for people the process by which he came to personal faith in Jesus Christ. Some have expressed dismay but most have been overjoyed to meet someone who started at religious ground zero and through scientific and historical reality testing, became convinced that the Bible is truly the Word of God. He was stunned to discover how many individuals believed or disbelieved without checking evidence.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: anthropic; crevolist; hughross; id; idiocy; ignoranceisstrength; mythology; sciencegod
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Hugh's unshakable confidence that God's revelation of Himself in Scripture and nature do not, will not, and cannot contradict became his unique message. Communicating that message as broadly and clearly as possible became his mission. He scouts the frontiers of origins research to share with scientists and nonscientists alike the thrilling news of what's being discovered and how it connects with biblical theology.

Between writing books and articles and recording the weekly television program Reasons to Believe, he travels around the world challenging high school and university audiences, churches and professional groups to consider the evidence for what they believe. He presents a persuasive case for Christianity without applying pressure. Because he treats people's questions and comments with respect, he is in great demand as a speaker and as a talk-radio and television guest.

Summary

Human existence is possible because the constants of physics and the parameters for the universe and for planet Earth lie within certain highly restricted ranges. John Wheeler and others interpret these amazing "coincidences" as proof that human existence somehow determines the design of the universe. Drawing an illogical parallel with delayed-choice experiments in quantum mechanics, they say that observations by humans influence the design of the universe, not only now, but back to the beginning. Such versions of what is called the "anthropic principle" reflect current philosophical and religious leanings towards the deification of man. They produce no evidence to support the notion that man's present acts can influence past events. Furthermore, their analogies with quantum mechanics break down on this point. The "coincidental" values of the constants of physics and the parameters of the universe point, rather, to a designer who transcends the dimensions and limits of the physical universe.

related articles:

* Evidence for Design of the Cosmos * New Astronomical Proofs for the Existence of God * Quantum Mechanics, a Modern Goliath * Astronomical Evidences for the God of the Bible

Cosmic Connection

Now that the limits and parameters of the universe can be calculated, and some even directly measured, astronomers and physicists have begun to recognize a connection between these limits and parameters and the existence of life. It is impossible to imagine a universe containing life in which any one of the fundamental constants of physics or any one of the fundamental parameters of the universe is different, even slightly so, in one way or another.

From this recognition arises the anthropic principle—everything about the universe tends toward man, toward making life possible and sustaining it. The first popularizer of the principle American physicist John Wheeler, describes it in this way, "A life-giving factor lies at the centre of the whole machinery and design of the world."1

Of course, design in the natural world has been acknowledged since the beginning of recorded history. Divine design is the message of each of the several hundred creation accounts that form the basis of the world's religions.2, 3The idea that the natural world was designed especially for mankind is the very bedrock of the Greek, as well as of the Judeo-Christian world view. Western philosophers of the post-Roman era went so far as to formalize a discipline called teleology—the study of the evidence for overall design and purpose in nature. Teleology attracted such luminaries as Augustine, Maimonides, Aquinas, Newton and Paley, all of whom gave it much of their life's work.

Dirac and Dicke's Coincidences

One of the first to recognize that design may also apply to the gross features of the universe was American physicist Robert Dicke. In 1961 he noted that life is possible in the universe only because of the special relationships among certain cosmological parameters4 (relationships researched by British physicist Paul Dirac twenty-four years earlier5).

Dirac noted that the number of baryons (protons plus neutrons) in the universe is the square of the gravitational constant as well as the square of the age of the universe (both expressed as dimensionless numbers). Dicke discerned that with a slight change in either of these relationships life could not exist. Stars of the right type for sustaining life supportable planets only can occur during a certain range of ages for the universe. Similarly, stars of the right type only can form for a narrow range of values of the gravitational constant.

The Universe as a Fit Habitat

In recent years these and other parameters for the universe have been more sharply defined and analyzed. Now, nearly two dozen coincidences evincing design have been acknowledged:

1. The gravitational coupling constant—i.e., the force of gravity, determines what kinds of stars are possible in the universe. If the gravitational force were slightly stronger, star formation would proceed more efficiently and all Stars would be more massive than our sun by at least 1.4 times. These large stars are important in that they alone manufacture elements heavier than iron, and they alone disperse elements heavier than beryllium to the interstellar medium. Such elements are essential for the formation of planets as well as of living things in any form. However, these Stars burn too rapidly and too unevenly to maintain life-supporting conditions on surrounding planets. Stars as small as our sun are necessary for that.

On the other hand, if the gravitational force were slightly weaker, all stars would have less than 0.8 times the mass of the sun. Though such stars burn long and evenly enough to maintain life-supporting planets, no heavy elements essential for building such planets or life would exist.

2. The strong nuclear force coupling constant holds together the particles in the nucleus of an atom. If the strong nuclear force were slightly weaker, multi-proton nuclei would not hold together. Hydrogen would be the only element in the universe.

If this force were slightly stronger, not only would hydrogen be rare in the universe, but the supply of the various life-essential elements heavier than iron (elements resulting from the fission of very heavy elements) would be insufficient. Either way, life would be impossible.a

3. The weak nuclear force coupling constant affects the behavior of leptons. Leptons form a whole class of elementary particles (e.g. neutrinos, electrons, and photons) that do not participate in strong nuclear reactions. The most familiar weak interaction effect is radioactivity, in particular, the beta decay reaction:

neutron à proton + electron + neutrino

The availability of neutrons as the universe cools through temperatures appropriate for nuclear fusion determines the amount of helium produced during the first few minutes of the big bang. If the weak nuclear force coupling constant were slightly larger, neutrons would decay more readily, and therefore would be less available. Hence, little or no helium would be produced from the big bang. Without the necessary helium, heavy elements sufficient for the constructing of life would not be made by the nuclear furnaces inside stars. On the other hand, if this constant were slightly smaller, the big bang would burn most or all of the hydrogen into helium, with a subsequent over-abundance of heavy elements made by stars, and again life would not be possible.

A second, possibly more delicate, balance occurs for supernovae. It appears that an outward surge of neutrinos determines whether or not a supernova is able to eject its heavy elements into outer space. If the weak nuclear force coupling constant were slightly larger, neutrinos would pass through a supernova's envelop without disturbing it. Hence, the heavy elements produced by the supernova would remain in the core. If the constant were slightly smaller, the neutrinos would not be capable of blowing away the envelop. Again, the heavy elements essential for life would remain trapped forever within the cores of supernovae.

4. The electromagnetic coupling constant binds electrons to protons in atoms. The characteristics of the orbits of electrons about atoms determines to what degree atoms will bond together to form molecules. If the electromagnetic coupling constant were slightly smaller, no electrons would be held in orbits about nuclei. If it were slightly larger, an atom could not "share" an electron orbit with other atoms. Either way, molecules, and hence life, would be impossible.

5. The ratio of electron to proton mass also determines the characteristics of (he orbits of electrons about nuclei. A proton is 1836 times more massive than an electron. if the electron to proton mass ratio were slightly larger or slightly smaller, again, molecules would not form, and life would be impossible.

6. The age of the universe governs what kinds of stars exist. It takes about three billion years for the first stars to form. It takes another ten or twelve billion years for supernovae to spew out enough heavy elements to make possible stars like our sun, stars capable of spawning rocky planets. Yet another few billion years is necessary for solar-type stars to stabilize sufficiently to support advanced life on any of its planets. Hence, if the universe were just a couple of billion years younger, no environment suitable for life would exist. However, if the universe were about ten (or more) billion years older than it is, there would be no solar-type stars in a stable burning phase in the right part of a galaxy. In other words, the window of time during which life is possible in the universe is relatively narrow.

7. The expansion rate of the universe determines what kinds of stars, if any, form in the universe. If the rate of expansion were slightly less, the whole universe would have recollapsed before any solar-type stars could have settled into a stable burning phase. If the universe were expanding slightly more rapidly, no galaxies (and hence no stars) would condense from the general expansion. How critical is this expansion rate? According to Alan Guth,6it must be fine-tuned to an accuracy of one part in 1055. Guth, however, suggests that his inflationary model, given certain values for the four fundamental forces of physics, may provide a natural explanation for the critical expansion rate.

8. The entropy level of the universe affects the condensation of massive systems. The universe contains 100,000,000 photons for every baryon. This makes the universe extremely entropic, i.e. a very efficient radiator and a very poor engine. If the entropy level for the universe were slightly larger, no galactic systems would form (and therefore no stars). If the entropy level were slightly smaller, the galactic systems that formed would effectively trap radiation and prevent any fragmentation of the Systems into stars Either way the universe would be devoid of stars and, thus, of life. (Some models for the universe relate this coincidence to a dependence of entropy upon the gravitational coupling constant.7, 8.)

9. The mass of the universe (actually mass + energy, since E = mc2) determines how much nuclear burning takes place as the universe cools from the hot big bang. If the mass were slightly larger, too much deuterium (hydrogen atoms with nuclei containing both a proton and a neutron) would form during the cooling of the big bang. Deuterium is a powerful catalyst for subsequent nuclear burning in Stars. This extra deuterium would cause stars to burn much too rapidly to sustain life on any possible planet.

On the other hand, if the mass of the universe were slightly smaller, no helium would be generated during the cooling of the big bang. Without helium, stars cannot produce the heavy elements necessary for life. Thus, we see a reason why the universe is as big as it is. If it were any smaller (or larger), not even one planet like the earth would be possible.

10. The uniformity of the universe determines its stellar components. Our universe has a high degree of uniformity. Such uniformity is considered to arise most probably from a brief period of inflationary expansion near the time of the origin of the universe. If the inflation (or some other mechanism) had not smoothed the universe to the degree we see, the universe would have developed into a plethora of black holes separated by virtually empty space.

On the other hand, if the universe were smoothed beyond this degree, stars, star clusters, and galaxies may never have formed at all. Either way, the resultant universe would be incapable of supporting life.

11. The stability of the proton affects the quantity of matter in the universe and also the radiation level as it pertains to higher life forms. Each proton contains three quarks. Through the agency of other particles (called bosons) quarks decay into antiquarks, pions, and positive electrons. Currently in our universe this decay process occurs on the average of only once per proton per 1032 years.b If that rate were greater, the biological consequences for large animals and man would be catastrophic, for the proton decays would deliver lethal doses of radiation.

On the other hand, if the proton were more stable (less easily formed and less likely to decay), less matter would have emerged from events occurring in the first split second of the universe's existence. There would be insufficient matter in the universe for life to be possible.

12. The fine structure constants relate directly to each of the four fundamental forces of physics (gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear). Compared to the coupling constants, the fine structure constants typically yield stricter design constraints for the universe. For example, the electromagnetic fine structure constant affects the opacity of stellar material. (Opacity is the degree to which a material permits radiant energy to pass through). In star formation, gravity pulls material together while thermal motions tend to pull it apart. An increase in the opacity of this material will limit the effect of thermal motions. Hence, smaller clumps of material will be able to overcome the resistance of the thermal motions. If the electromagnetic fine structure constant were slightly larger, all stars would be less than 0.7 times the mass of the sun. If the electromagnetic fine structure constant were slightly smaller, all stars would be more than 1.8 times the mass of the sun.

13. The velocity of light can be expressed in a variety of ways as a function of any one of the fundamental forces of physics or as a function of one of the fine structure constants. Hence, in the case of this constant, too, the slightest change, up or down, would negate any possibility for life in the universe.

14. The 8Be, 12C, and 16O nuclear energy levels affect the manufacture and abundance of elements essential to life. Atomic nuclei exist in various discrete energy levels. A transition from one level to another occurs through the emission or capture of a photon that possesses precisely the energy difference between the two levels. The first coincidence here is that 8Be decays in just 10-15 seconds. Because 8Be is so highly unstable, it slows down the fusion process. If it were more stable, fusion of heavier elements would proceed so readily that catastrophic stellar explosions would result. Such explosions would prevent the formation of many heavy elements essential for life. On the other hand, if 8Be were even more unstable, element production beyond 8Be would not occur.

The second coincidence is that 12C happens to have a nuclear energy level very slightly above the sum of the energy levels for 8Be and 4He. Anything other than this precise nuclear energy level for 12C would guarantee insufficient carbon production for life.

The third coincidence is that 16O has exactly the right nuclear energy level either to prevent all the carbon from turning into oxygen or to facilitate sufficient production of 16O for life. Fred Hoyle, who discovered these coincidences in 1953, concluded that "a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology."10

15. The distance between stars affects the orbits and even the existence of planets. The average distance between stars in our part of the galaxy is about 30 trillion miles. If this distance were slightly smaller, the gravitational interaction between stars would be so strong as to destabilize planetary orbits. this destabilization would create extreme temperature variations on the planet. If this distance were slightly larger, the heavy element debris thrown out by supernovae would be so thinly distributed that rocky planets like earth would never form. The average distance between stars is just right to make possible a planetary system such as our own.

16. The rate of luminosity increase for stars affects the temperature conditions on surrounding planets. Small stars, like the sun, settle into a stable burning phase once the hydrogen fusion process ignites within their core. However, during this stable burning phase such stars undergo a very gradual increase in their luminosity. This gradual increase is perfectly suitable for the gradual introduction of life forms, in a sequence from primitive to advanced, upon a planet. If the rate of increase were slightly greater, a runaway green house effectc would be fell sometime between the introduction of the primitive and the introduction of the advanced life forms. If the rate of increase were slightly smaller, a runaway freezingd of the oceans and lakes would occur. Either way, the planet's temperature would become too extreme for advanced life or even for the long-term survival of primitive life.

This list of sensitive constants is by no means complete. And yet it demonstrates why a growing number of physicists and astronomers have become convinced that the universe was not only divinely brought into existence but also divinely designed. American astronomer George Greenstein expresses his thoughts:

As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency—or, rather, Agency—must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?11

The Earth as a Fit Habitat

It is not just the universe that bears evidence for design. The earth itself reveals such evidence. Frank Drake, Carl Sagan, and Iosef Shklovsky were among the first astronomers to concede this point when they attempted to estimate the number planets in the universe with environments favorable for the support of life. In the early 1960's they recognized that only a certain kind of star with a planet just the right distance from that star would provide the necessary conditions for life.12On this basis they made some rather optimistic estimates for the probability of finding life elsewhere in the universe. Shklovsky and Sagan, for example, claimed that 0.001 percent of all stars could have a planet upon which advanced life resides.13

While their analysis was a step in the right direction, it overestimated the range of permissible star types and the range of permissible planetary distances. It also ignored many other significant factors. A sample of parameters sensitive for the support of life on a planet are listed in Table 1.

Table 1: Evidence for the design of the sun-earth-moon system14 - 31

The following parameters cannot exceed certain limits without disturbing the earth's capacity to support life. Some of these parameters are more narrowly confining than others. For example, the first parameter would eliminate only half the stars from candidacy for life-supporting Systems, whereas parameters five, seven, and eight would each eliminate more than ninety-nine in a hundred star-planet systems. Not only must the parameters for life support fall within a certain restrictive range, but they must remain relatively constant over time. And we know that several, such as parameters fourteen through nineteen, are subject to potentially catastrophic fluctuation. In addition to the parameters listed here, there are others, such as the eccentricity of a planet's orbit, that have an upper (or a lower) limit only.

1. number of star companions

* if more than one: tidal interactions would disrupt planetary orbits * if less than one: not enough heat produced for life

2. parent star birth date

* if more recent: star would not yet have reached stable burning phase * if less recent: stellar system would not yet contain enough heavy elements

3. parent star age

* if older: luminosity of star would not he sufficiently stable * if younger: luminosity of star would not be sufficiently stable

4. parent star distance from center of galaxy

* if greater: not enough heavy elements to make rocky planets * if less: stellar density and radiation would he too great

5. parent star mass

* if greater: luminosity output from the star would not be sufficiently stable * if less: range of distances appropriate for life would be too narrow; tidal forces would disrupt the rotational period for a planet of the right distance

6. parent star color

* if redder: insufficient photosynthetic response * if bluer: insufficient photosynthetic response

7. surface gravity

* if stronger: planet's atmosphere would retain huge amounts of ammonia and methane * if weaker: planet's atmosphere would lose too much water

8. distance from parent star

* if farther away: too cool for a stable water cycle * if closer: too warm for a stable water cycle

9. thickness of crust

* if thicker: too much oxygen would he transferred from the atmosphere to the crust * if thinner: volcanic and tectonic activity would be too great

10. rotation period

* if longer: diurnal temperature differences would he too great * if shorter: atmospheric wind velocities would he too great

11. gravitational interaction with a moon

* if greater: tidal effects on the oceans, atmosphere, and rotational period would he too severe * if less: earth's orbital obliquity would change too much causing climatic instabilities

12. magnetic field

* if stronger: electromagnetic storms would be too severe * if weaker: no protection from solar wind particles

13. axial tilt

* if greater: surface temperature differences would be too great * if less: surface temperature differences would he too great

14. albedo (ratio of reflected light to total amount falling on surface)

* if greater: runaway ice age would develop * if less: runaway greenhouse effect would develop

15. oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere

* if larger: life functions would proceed too quickly * if smaller: life functions would proceed too slowly

16. carbon dioxide and water vapor levels in atmosphere

* if greater: runaway greenhouse effect would develop * if less: insufficient greenhouse effect

17. ozone level in atmosphere

* if greater: surface temperatures would become too low * if less: surface temperatures would he too high; too much uv radiation at surface

18. atmospheric electric discharge rate

* if greater: too much fire destruction * if less: too little nitrogen fixing in the soil

19. seismic activity

* if greater: destruction of too many life-forms * if less: nutrients on ocean floors would not be uplifted

About a dozen other parameters, such as atmospheric chemical composition, currently are being researched for their sensitivity in the support of life. However, the nineteen listed in Table 1 in themselves lead safely to the conclusion that much fewer than a trillionth of a trillionth of a percent of all stars will have a planet capable of sustaining life. Considering that the universe contains only about a trillion galaxies, each averaging a hundred billion stars,e we can see that not even one planet would be expected, by natural processes alone, to possess the necessary conditions to sustain life.f No wonder Robert Rood and James Trefil14and others have surmised that intelligent physical life exists only on the earth. It seems abundantly clear that the earth, too, in addition to the universe, has experienced divine design.

Man the Creator?

The growing evidence of design would seem to provide further convincing support for the belief that the Creator-God of the Bible formed the universe and the earth. Even Paul Davies concedes that "the impression of design is overwhelming."32There must exist a designer. Yet, for whatever reasons, a few astrophysicists still battle the conclusion. Perhaps the designer is not God. But, if the designer is not God, who is? The alternative, some suggest, is man himself.

The evidence proffered for man as the creator comes from an analogy to delayed choice experiments in quantum mechanics. In such experiments it appears that the observer can influence the outcome of quantum mechanical events. With every quantum particle there is an associated wave. This wave represents the probability of finding the particle at a particular point in space. Before the particle is detected there is no specific knowledge of its location—only a probability of where it might be. But, once the particle has been detected, its exact location is known. in this sense, the act of observation is said by some to give reality to the particle. What is true for a quantum particle, they continue, may be true for the universe at large.

American physicist John Wheeler sees the universe as a gigantic feed-back loop.

The Universe [capitalized in the original] starts small at the big bang, grows in size, gives rise to life and observers and observing equipment. The observing equipment, in turn, through the elementary quantum processes that terminate on it, takes part in giving tangible "reality" to events that occurred long before there was any life anywhere.33

In other words, the universe creates man, but man through his observations of the universe brings the universe into real existence. George Greenstein is more direct in positing that "the universe brought forth life in order to exist ... that the very cosmos does not exist unless observed."34 Here we find a reflection of the question debated in freshmen philosophy classes across the land:

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to see it or hear it, does it really fall?

Quantum mechanics merely shows us that in the micro world of particle physics man is limited in his ability to measure quantum effects. Since quantum entities at any moment have the potential or possibility of behaving either as particles or waves, it is impossible, for example, to accurately measure both the position and the momentum of a quantum entity (the Heisenberg uncertainty principle). By choosing to determine the position of the entity the human observer has thereby lost information about its momentum.

It is not that the observer gives "reality" to the entity, but rather the observer chooses what aspect of the reality of the entity he wishes to discern. It is not that the Heisenberg uncertainty principle disproves the principle of causality, but simply that the causality is hidden from human investigation. The cause of the quantum effect is not lacking, nor is it mysteriously linked to the human observation of the effect after the fact.g

This misapplication of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is but one defect in but one version of the new "observer-as-creator" propositions derived from quantum physics. Some other flaws are summarized here:

Quantum mechanical limitations apply only to micro, not macro, systems. The relative uncertainty approaches zero as the number of quantum particles in the system increases. Therefore, what is true for a quantum particle would not be true for the universe at large.

The time separation between a quantum event and its observed result is always a relatively short one (at least for the analogies under discussion). A multi-billion year time separation far from fits the picture.

The arrow of time has never been observed to reverse, nor do we see any traces of a reversal beyond the scope of our observations. Time and causality move inexorably forward. Therefore, to suggest that human activity now somehow can affect events billions of years in the past is nothing short of absurd.

Intelligence, or personality, is not a factor in the observation of quantum mechanical events. Photographic plates, for example, are perfectly capable of performing observations.

Both relativity and the gauge theory of quantum mechanics, now established beyond reasonable question by experimental evidence,37state that the correct description of nature is that in which the human observer is irrelevant.

Science has yet to produce a shred of evidence to support the notion that man created his universe.

Universe Becoming God?

In The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, British astronomer John Barrow and American mathematical physicist Frank Tipler,38begin by reviewing evidences for design of the universe, then go on to address several radical versions of the anthropic principle, including Wheeler's feed-back loop connection between mankind and the universe. Referring to such theories as PAP (participatory anthropic principle), they propose, instead, FAP (final anthropic principle).

In their FAP, the life that is now in the universe (and, according to PAP, created the universe) will continue to evolve until it reaches a state of totality that they call the Omega Point. At the Omega Point

Life will have gained control of all matter and forces not only in a single universe, but in all universes whose existence is logically possible; life will have spread into all spatial regions in all universes which could logically exist, and will have stored an infinite amount of information including all bits of knowledge which it is logically possible to know.39

In a footnote they declare that "the totality of life at the Omega Point is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient!"40 Let me translate: the universe created man, man created the universe, and together the universe and man in the end will become the Almighty transcendent Creator. Martin Gardner gives this evaluation of their idea:

What should one make of this quartet of WAP, SAP, PAP, and FAP? In my not so humble opinion I think the last principle is best called CRAP, the Completely Ridiculous Anthropic Principle.41

In their persistent rejection of an eternal transcendent Creator, cosmologists seem to be resorting to more and more absurd alternatives. An exhortation from the Bible is appropriate, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy."42

Insufficient Universe

It is clear that man is too limited to have created the universe. But, it is also evident that the universe is too limited to have created man. The universe contains no more than 1080 baryonsh and has been in existence for no more than 1018 seconds.

Compared to the inorganic systems comprising the universe, biological systems are enormously complex. The genome (complete set of chromosomes necessary for reproduction) of an E. coli bacterium has the equivalent of about two million nucleotides. A single human cell contains the equivalent of about six billion nucleotides. Moreover, unlike inorganic systems, the sequence in which the individual components are assembled is critical for the survival of biological systems. Also, only amino acids with left handed configurations can be used in protein synthesis, the amino acids can be joined only by peptide bonds, each amino acid first must be activated by a specific enzyme, and multiple special enzymes (enzymes themselves are enormously complex sequence-critical molecules) are required to bind messenger RNA to ribosomes before protein synthesis can begin or end.

The bottom line is that the universe is at least ten billion orders of magnitude (a factor of 1010,000,000,000 times) too small or too young for life to have assembled itself by natural processes.i These kinds of calculations have been done by researchers, both non-theists and theists, in a variety of disciplines.43-58

Invoking other universes cannot solve the problem. All such models require that the additional universes remain totally out of contact with one another, that is, their space-time manifolds cannot overlap. The only explanation left to us to tell how living organisms received their highly complex and ordered configurations is that an intelligent, transcendent Creator personally infused this information.

An intelligent, transcendent Creator must have brought the universe into existence. An intelligent, transcendent Creator must have designed the universe. An intelligent, transcendent Creator must have designed planet Earth. An intelligent, transcendent Creator must have designed life.

FOOTNOTES:

a. The strong nuclear force is actually much more delicately balanced. An increase as small as two percent means that protons would never form from quarks (particles that form the building blocks of baryons and mesons). A similar decrease means that certain heavy elements essential for life would be unstable.

b. Direct observations of proton decay have yet to be confirmed. Experiments simply reveal that the average proton lifetime must exceed 1032 years.9 However, if the average proton lifetime exceeds about 1034 years, than there would be no physical means for generating the matter that is observed in the universe.

c. An example of the greenhouse effect is a locked car parked in the sun. Visible light from the sun passes easily through the windows of the car, is absorbed by the interior, and reradiated as infrared light. But, the windows will not permit the passage of infrared radiation. Hence, heat accumulates in the car's interior. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere works like the windows of a car. The early earth had much more carbon dioxide in its atmosphere. However, the first plants extracted this carbon dioxide and released oxygen. Hence, the increase in the sun's luminosity was balanced off by the decrease in the greenhouse effect caused by the lessened amount of carbon dioxide In the atmosphere.

d. A runaway freezing would occur because snow and ice reflect better than other materials on the surface of the earth. Less solar energy is absorbed thereby lowering the surface temperature which in turn creates more snow and ice.

e. The average number of planets per star is still largely unknown. The latest research suggests that only bachelor stars with characteristics similar to those of the sun may possess planets. Regardless, all researchers agree that the figure is certainly much less than one planet per star.

f. The assumption is that all life is based on carbon. Silicon and boron at one time were considered candidates for alternate life chemistries. However, silicon can sustain amino acid chains no more than a hundred such molecules long. Boron allows a little more complexity but has the disadvantage of not being very abundant in the universe.

g. One can easily get the impression from the physics literature that the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is the only accepted philosophical explanation of what is going on in the micro world. According to this school of thought, "1) There is no reality in the absence of observation; 2) Observation creates reality." In addition to the Copenhagen interpretation physicist Nick Herbert outlines and critiques six different philosophical models for interpreting quantum events.35 Physicist and theologian Stanley Jaki outlines yet an eighth model.36 While a clear philosophical understanding of quantum reality is not yet agreed upon. physicists do agree on the results one expects from quantum events.

h. Baryons are protons and other fundamental particles, such as neutrons, that decay into protons.

i. A common rebuttal is that not all amino acids in organic molecules must be strictly sequenced. One can destroy or randomly replace about 1 amino acid out of 100 without doing damage to the function of the molecule. This is vital since life necessarily exists in a sequence—disrupting radiation environment. However, this is equivalent to writing a computer program that will tolerate the destruction of 1 statement of code out of 1001. In other words, this error-handling ability of organic molecules constitutes a far more unlikely occurrence than strictly sequenced molecules.

REFERENCES

1. Wheeler, John A. "Foreword," in The Anthropic Cosmological Principle by John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler. (Oxford, U. K.: Clarendon Press, 1986), p. vii. 2. Franz, Marie-Louise. Patterns of Creativity Mirrored in Creation Myths. (Zurich: Spring, 1972). 3. Kilzhaher, Albert R. Myths, Fables, and Folktales. New York: Holt, 1974), pp.113-114. 4. Dirac, P. A. M. "The Cosmological Constants," in Nature 139. (1937), p.323. 5. Dicke, Robert H. "Dirac's Cosmology and Mach's Principle," in Nature, 192. (1961), pp.440-441. 6. Guth, Alan H. "Inflationary Universe: A Possible Solution to the Horizon and Flatness Problems," in Physical Review D, 23. (1981), p.348. 7. Carr, B. J. and Rees, M. J. "The Anthropic Principle and the Structure of the Physical World," in Nature 278. (1979), p.610. 8. Barrow, John D. and Tipler, Frank J. The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. New York: Oxford University Press, (1986), pp.401-402. 9. Trefil, James S. The Moment of Creation: Big Bang Physics from Before the First Millisecond to the Present Universe. New York: Scribner's Sons, (1983), pp.141-142. 10. Hoyle, Fred. "The Universe: Past and Present Reflections," in Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20. (1982), p.16. 11. Greenstein, George. The Symbiotic, Universe: Life and Mind in the Cosmos. (New York: William Morrow, (1988), pp. 26-27. 12. Shklovskii, I.S. and Sagan. Carl. Intelligent Life in the Universe. (San Francisco: Holden-Day, 1966), pp. 343-350. 13. Ibid., pp.413. 14. Rood, Robert T. and Treffi, James S. Are We Alone? The Possibility of Extraterrestrial Civilizations. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1983). 15. Barrow, John D. and Tipler, Frank J. The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), pp. 510-575. 16. Anderson, Don L. "The Earth as a Planet: Paradigms and Paradoxes," in Science, 223. (1984), pp.347-355. 17. Campbell, I. H. and Taylor, S. R. "No Water, No Granite - No Oceans, No Continents," in Geophysical Research Letters, 10. (1983), pp.1061-1064. 18. Carter, Brandon. "The Anthropic Principle and Its Implications for Biological Evolution," in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series A, 310. (1983), pp.352-363. 19. Hammond, Allen H. "The Uniqueness of the Earth’s Climate," in Science, 187. (1975), p.245. 20. Toon, Owen B. and Olson, Steve. "The Warm Earth," in Science 85, October. (1985), pp. 50-57. 21. Gale, George. "The Anthropic Principle," in Scientific American, 245, No.6. (1981), pp. 154-17l. 22. Ross, Hugh. Genesis One: A Scientific Perspective. Pasadena, California: Reasons to Believe, (1983), pp. 6-7. 23. Cottrell, Ron. The Remarkable Spaceship Earth. (Denver, Colorado: Accent Books, 1982). 24. Ter Harr, D. "On the Origin of the Solar System," in Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 5. pp.267-278. 25. Greenstein, George. The Symbiotic Universe: Life and Mind in the Cosmos. (New York: William Morrow, (1988), pp.68-97. 26. Templeton, John M. "God Reveals Himself in the Astronomical and in the Infinitesimal," in Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, December 1984. (1984), pp. 196-198. 27. Hart, Michael H. "The Evolution of the Atmosphere of the Earth," in Icarus, 33. (1978), pp.23-39. 28. Hart, Michael H. "Habitable Zones about Main Sequence Stars," in Icarus, 37. (1979), pp.351-357. 29. Owen, Tobias, Cess, Robert D., and Ramanathan, V. "Enhanced CO2 Greenhouse to Compensate for Reduced Solar Luminosity on Early Earth," in Nature, 277. (1979), pp. 640-641. 30. Ward, William R. "Comments on the Long-Term Stability of the Earth's Obliquity," in Icarus, 50. (1982), pp.444-448. 31. Gubbin, John. "The Origin of Life: Earth's Lucky Break," in Science Digest, May1983. (1983), pp. 36-102. 32. Davies, Paul. The Cosmic Blueprint: New Discoveries in Nature's Creative Ability To Order the Universe. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), p.203. 33. Wheeler, John Archibald "Bohr, Einstein, and the Strange Lesson of the Quantum," in Mind in Nature. Edited by Richard Q. Elvee. (New York: Harper and Row, 1981), p.18. 34. Greenstein, George. The Symbiotic Universe: Life and Mind in the Cosmos. (New York: William Morrow, (1988), p 223. 35. Herbert, Nick: Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics An Excursion into Metaphysics and the Meaning of Reality. (New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1987), in particular pp.16-29. 36. Jaki, Stanley L. Cosmos and Creator. (Edinburgh, U. K : Scottish Academic Press, 1980), pp. 96-98. 37. Trefil, James S. The Moment of Creation. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1983), pp.91-101. 38. Barrow, John D and Tipler, Frank J. The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. (New York: Oxford University Press, (1986). 39. Ibid., p.677. 40. Ibid., pp.677, 682. 41. Gardner, Martin. "WAP, SAP, PAP, and FAP." in The New York Review of Books, 23, May 8, 1986, No.8. (1986), pp. 22-25. 42. The Holy Bible New International Version. Colossians 2:8. 43. Yockey, Hubert P. "On the Information Content of Cytochrome c," in Journal of Theoretical Biology, 67. (1977), pp.345-376. 44. Yockey, Hubert P. "An Application of Information Theory to the Central Dogma and Sequence Hypothesis," in Journal of Theoretical Biology, 46 (1974), pp.369-406. 45. Yockey, Hubert P. "Self Organization Origin of Life Scenarios and Information Theory," in Journal of Theoretical Biology, 91 (1981), pp.13-31. 46. Lake, James A. "Evolving Ribosome Structure: Domains in Archaebacteria, Eubacteria, Eocytes, and Eukaryotes," in Annual Review of Biochemistry, 54. (1985), pp.507-530. 47. Dufton, M. J. "Genetic Code Redundancy and the Evolutionary Stability of Protein Secondary Structure," m Journal of Theoretical Biology, 116. (1985), pp.343-348. 48. Yockey, Hubert P. "Do Overlapping Genes Violate Molecular Biology and the Theory of Evolution," in Journal of Theoretical Biology, 80. (1979), pp.21-26. 49. Abelson, John. "RNA Processing and the Intervening Sequence Problem," in Annual Review of Biochemistry, 48. (1979), pp.1035-1069. 50. Hinegardner, Ralph T. and Engleberg, Joseph. "Rationale for a Universal Genetic Code," in Science, 142. (1963), pp.1083-1085. 51. Neurath, Hans. "Protein Structure and Enzyme Action," in Reviews of Modern Physics, 31. (1959), pp. 185-190. 52. Hoyle, Fred and Wickramasinghe. Evolution From Space: A Theory of Cosmic Creationism. (New York Simon and Schuster, 1981), 14-97. 53. Thaxton, Charles B., Bradley, Walter L., and Olsen, Roger. The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories. (New York: Philosophical Library, 1984). 54. Shapiro, Robert. Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth. New York: Summit Books, (1986), 117-131. 55. Ross, Hugh. Genesis One. A Scientific Perspective, second edition (Pasadena, California: Reasons to Believe, 1983), pp.9-10. 56. Yockey, Hubert P. "A Calculation of the Probability of Spontaneous Biogenesis by Information Theory," in Journal of Theoretical Biology, 67. (1977), pp.377-398 57. Duley, W. W. "Evidence Against Biological Grains in the Interstellar Medium," in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 25. (1984), pp.109 113. 58. Kok, Randall A., Taylor John A., and Bradley Walter L. A Statistical Examination of Self-Ordering of Amino Acids in Proteins,' in Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere, 18. (1988), pp. 135-142.

1 posted on 01/29/2006 8:13:05 AM PST by STD
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To: STD

This is a graphic version of some of the design implication data presented:

http://www.doesgodexist.org/Charts/EvidenceForDesignInTheUniverse.html


2 posted on 01/29/2006 8:25:53 AM PST by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: STD
His book Beyond The Cosmos was excellent. It resolves many of the complex paradoxes of Christianity by utilizing the context of the extra dimensions of string theory.
3 posted on 01/29/2006 8:34:35 AM PST by mjp
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To: STD
The problem I have with these kinds of "arguments" is that they are all predicated on the notion that if the universe was even slightly different, human life would not have evolved.

While that is almost certainly true, I think these lines of reasoning have cause and effect inverted. Human life evolved BECAUSE the universe is the way it is. If it were any different, human life would NOT have evolved. But the universe formed humanity, not vice versa. It is specious to argue that the universe formed the idea of Man first, then asked itself "What kind of environment do I need to create to sustain this particular form of life?"

4 posted on 01/29/2006 8:37:56 AM PST by IronJack
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To: IronJack
LOL, in this forum I'm surprised it took four posts to get to that.

So, you find a watch in the desert. Someone says that the arrangement and proper functioning of all the parts point to the idea it could only have been designed. You say, "No, no design, no designer. It only shows that they happened to form that kind of a watch."

And you still feel and insist that it's the facts that drive you, not personal issues?

Just funny.

Dan
Biblical Christianity BLOG

5 posted on 01/29/2006 8:44:39 AM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: BibChr

And you would respond by saying that because the watch evidences some intelligent design, the desert must have been made to accommodate the watch?


6 posted on 01/29/2006 8:47:59 AM PST by IronJack
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To: STD; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; PatrickHenry
Ms. boop, Alamo-Girl, I thought you might enjoy this as we have discussed the topic before.

Some of my comments.

1. Generally an excellent article. Not as strong a finish, but the beginning was excellent. In particular, I like the fact that he finds the big bang model fully consistent with, and indeed, supportive of Christianity. Many of us have long argued that. Young earth creationists, take note.

2. We need to make sure of our definitions (as we often get them wrong around here, to wit:
* Design of the Universe is NOT "Intelligent Design". Design of the Universe is the idea that the Universe was designed by a Creator.
* "Intelligent Design" is the very specific notion that the Creator, having designed the Universe 15 billion years ago, got it wrong and had to tinker with it multiple times subsequently to get life to work.

3. The article above is a summary; it was not written by the referenced author. However, the summary appears reasonable.

4. The initial arguments made by the article are better; it gets weaker as it continues. In particular, the argument that Earth is the only possible planet to have intelligent life is both stupid and dangerous. The numbers quoted in the table are assumed to be statistically independent. They are clearly not, and the covariance will drastically reduce the probabilities. Moreover, the numbers themselves are estimates.

Finally, and most importantly, it is dangerous philosophy to base your Christian faith on a particular, poorly supported "science". What happens if your "science" is proven wrong?? Is your faith now in jeopardy?? Was Christianity in doubt because Galileo was right and the Earth was not the center of the solar system as the Catholic Church once maintained?? What happens if we ever do meet intelligent life in the universe?? Is this man's faith now in jeopardy because one of his central theses is disproven??? When will the fundamentalists stop making this mistake??

5. The weakest part of the article, and the one barely supported was the notion that the Universe could not have created life (man). The article is weak; principally it is argument by assertion and the assertion is over stated. In particular, the citations are all from Theoretical Biology, which is intended to be speculative. There is zero proof here. Moreover, the summarizer over states by stating that this has been proven. It clearly hasn't. It has been thought about though, which is what science does.

7 posted on 01/29/2006 8:51:56 AM PST by 2ndreconmarine (Horse feces (929 citations) vs ID (0 citations) and horse feces wins!!!!!)
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To: Junior

Archives


8 posted on 01/29/2006 8:56:41 AM PST by PatrickHenry (True conservatives revere Adam Smith, Charles Darwin, and the Founding Fathers.)
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To: STD

Teach THIS in high school!


9 posted on 01/29/2006 8:57:29 AM PST by mlc9852
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To: IronJack
I think that is an interesting assertion: "It is specious to argue that the universe formed the idea of Man first, then asked itself 'What kind of environment do I need to create to sustain this particular form of life?'"

What do you mean by "it is specious"? And whyso?

* * * *

For we all know that ideas do drive invention in the real world.

10 posted on 01/29/2006 8:58:02 AM PST by bvw
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To: 2ndreconmarine
"Finally, and most importantly, it is dangerous philosophy to base your Christian faith on a particular, poorly supported "science". What happens if your "science" is proven wrong?? Is your faith now in jeopardy??"

To me that seems a rump faith, Santa-Clausish, "Clap for Tinkerbell" faith. G-d did not create man and all creation to be foolish.

11 posted on 01/29/2006 9:03:29 AM PST by bvw
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To: bvw; IronJack
What do you mean by "it is specious"? And whyso?

Morton's demon doesn't rest even on the weekend.

"Morton's demon doesn't expend any energy--he gets his victim to expend it for him. He can get his victim to expend massive amounts of intellectual energy figuring out how to convince the world that they are wrong...Those who try to help the poor victims escape the ravages of Morton's demon wear themselves out typing e-mails explaining data and facts which never get through the demon's gate. After years of weariness, the philanthropic individual dies of fatigue."

12 posted on 01/29/2006 9:09:36 AM PST by peyton randolph (As long is it does me no harm, I don't care if one worships Elmer Fudd.)
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To: IronJack

If I show design, I show a designer. Is that not the issue?

This article deals with one specific line of evidence of design.

Dan


13 posted on 01/29/2006 9:10:11 AM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: peyton randolph

That seems a plea for "ignorance is bliss".


14 posted on 01/29/2006 9:19:38 AM PST by bvw
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To: BibChr

"So, you find a watch in the desert. Someone says that the arrangement and proper functioning of all the parts point to the idea it could only have been designed. You say, "No, no design, no designer. It only shows that they happened to form that kind of a watch.""




Hmm...now show me a watch that mates with other watches, reproduces by creating infant watches that grow into adult watches. Further, show me this reproduction that is subject to minor alterations with each generation.

When you can do that, you can compare watches with living things. Until then, the watch has nothing to do with evolution or Intelligent Design.

Most creationists stopped using the watch example after the creationist websites said it was a bad example.


15 posted on 01/29/2006 9:33:43 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: STD

hmm it mentioned a load of ludicrous sounding possibilities that I hadn't heard of but it didn't even mention multiverse once.


16 posted on 01/29/2006 10:03:18 AM PST by bobdsmith
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Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: 2ndreconmarine

Your comments are on the mark and thoughtful. Especially:

"2. ...
* Design of the Universe is NOT "Intelligent Design". Design of the Universe is the idea that the Universe was designed by a Creator.
* "Intelligent Design" is the very specific notion that the Creator, having designed the Universe 15 billion years ago, got it wrong and had to tinker with it multiple times subsequently to get life to work."

Further:
There is also a thinking fallacy implied in the original article, namely failure to notice that "what is observed trumps apriori speculations".

a. If you calculate the probability of winning the Grand Lottery worth $100+ million, you find that it is virtually zero, using solid mathematics. Nonetheless, every month or so, someone actually wins it.

b. If you calculate the probability that I exist with certain traits, my parents found each other, my grandparents existed and found each other, that certain sperm and ova would unite, that any would survive childhood, and live in such places as Italy, Lebanon, Germany, Ireland, and Ohio, etc., etc., the probability would be next to zero. This argument implies that none of us exist.

The fact is that I and others do exist. A priori estimates of the probability are thus meaningless. Observable fact trumps speculations.

c. If the physics of the Universe were different, then maybe life would not have developed and maybe humans would not have evolved. There would, then, not be any issues or posts about whether a god did it and about what 'salvation' means. There is nothing in science that supports a view about souls or eternal life. Obviously, it is humans that created the notion of gods. The desire for being associated with 'magical' powers is strong, from comic book figures to belief in 'psychics'.

History shows multiple creation myths have arisen in different peoples and cultures. In science, we know that Noah's Flood could not possibly have happened without turning everything we know about the world on its ear, including morality. Ross ignores this.


18 posted on 01/29/2006 10:18:44 AM PST by thomaswest (just curious)
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To: STD
Human existence is possible because the constants of physics and the parameters for the universe and for planet Earth lie within certain highly restricted ranges. John Wheeler and others interpret these amazing "coincidences" as proof that human existence somehow determines the design of the universe.

It's painful to see what should be a smart man fall into such a idiotic trap. I guess that's to be expected when one governs his science by a "need" to believe in a specific supernatural point of view.

He should read up on the concept of "adaptation," and how life forms adapt (or fail) to their environment. But, to him and his nutty folowers, that would heretical.

19 posted on 01/29/2006 11:13:13 AM PST by Rudder
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To: Rudder

Ross would seem to be in the long line of idiot savants, those with high IQs in some areas, and low in other areas. Similarly with EQ (emotional quotient). A sudden need for emotional reassurance does not equal a rational discussion.

Consider the hidden objectives in the Discovery Institutes', 'intelligent design' Wedge Document.
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/2437/wedge.html

"
* To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.

* To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.

* To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life. "

This makes it clear that they are not really concerned about evolution--the IDers have planned for much larger political, social, and police power.


20 posted on 01/29/2006 11:44:29 AM PST by thomaswest (just curious)
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To: IronJack

That seems to be a fair explanation of the anthropic principle.


21 posted on 01/29/2006 11:47:17 AM PST by RightWhale (pas de lieu, Rhone que nous)
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To: MineralMan

Yes, you are a good illustration: the unwilling can never be convinced of anything. Benchmarks are easier to move than one's own heart.

Your atheism has nothing to do with facts, logic, or evidence. QED

Dan


22 posted on 01/29/2006 12:17:27 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: BibChr

"Yes, you are a good illustration: the unwilling can never be convinced of anything. Benchmarks are easier to move than one's own heart.

Your atheism has nothing to do with facts, logic, or evidence. QED
"

Watches still don't reproduce themselves, BibChr. You did not speak to my post. Insulting my atheism is not a response.


23 posted on 01/29/2006 12:22:13 PM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: 2ndreconmarine; Alamo-Girl; marron; hosepipe; spunkets; Doctor Stochastic; Right Wing Professor; ...
The weakest part of the article, and the one barely supported was the notion that the Universe could not have created life (man). The article is weak; principally it is argument by assertion and the assertion is over stated.

Hello 2ndreconmarine! It’s so good to see you again!

WRT to the above, I’m not clear what you mean by "Universe" in this statement. Do you mean matter plus physical laws?

The subject matter of the article at the top is so very near and dear to my heart. And yet – I have a “front-burner project” going on now that I have to take care of before I’ll have the opportunity to engage in this discussion. With any luck at all, I’ll be back in a day or so. And I’m most anxious for that to be the case, for this promises to be a great feast!

Meanwhile, I just received a very interesting article from a friend, by George F R Ellis, Mathematics Department, University of Cape Town, entitled “Physics and the Real World.” I haven’t read it through yet, but it appears to be on-topic. Maybe you’ll find it of interest. Here’s the abstract:

Physics and chemistry underlie the nature of all the world around us, including human brains. Consequently some suggest that in causal terms, physics is all there is. However we live in an environment dominated by objects embodying the outcomes of intentional design (buildings, computers, teaspoons). The present-day subject of physics has nothing to say about the intentionality resulting in existence of such objects, even though this intentionality is clearly causally effective. This paper examines the claim that the underlying physics uniquely causally determines what happens, even though we can’t predict the outcome. It suggests that what occurs is the contextual emergence of complexity: the higher levels in the hierarchy of complexity have autonomous causal powers, functionally independent of lower-level processes. This is possible because top-down causation takes place as well as bottom-up action, with higher-level contexts determining the outcome of lower level functioning, and even modifying the nature of lower level constituents. Stored information plays a key role, resulting in non-linear dynamics that is non-local in space and time. Brain functioning is causally affected by abstractions such as the value of money and the theory of the laser. These are realized as brain states in individuals, but are not equivalent to them. Consequently physics per se can’t causally determine the outcome of human creativity, rather it creates the possibility space allowing human intelligence to function autonomously. The challenge to physics is to develop a realistic description of causality in truly complex hierarchical structures, with top-down causation and memory effects allowing higher levels of order to emerge with genuine causal powers.
You can download the PDF from this URL:

http://www.mth.uct.ac.za/~ellis/realworld.pdf.

Be back soon, God willing!

Thanks ever so much for the ping, 2ndreconmarine!

24 posted on 01/29/2006 12:46:07 PM PST by betty boop (Often the deepest cause of suffering is the very absence of God. -- Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: MineralMan; BibChr

Actually, the watch example has real possibilities.

In my lifetime, I've seen numerous changes in watches. Their production and reproduction arm has witnessed a need and opportunity to change and has produced quartz, silent, lcd, etc.

In all cases of change, the initiator of change was intelligent.

I have self-learning speech-writer that has been pre-programmed to adapt and increase its vocabulary.

Again, the initiator of changer was intelligent.


25 posted on 01/29/2006 12:54:17 PM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: betty boop
Physics and chemistry underlie the nature of all the world around us, including human brains... Stored information... money and the theory of the laser...

Physics, chemistry, brains, information, money and lasers, all tools in the toolbox. In the absense of intellect and will, nothing happens, or rather (I am a laboratory test case) thanks to the laws of thermodynamics, what happens is they scatter and I can't find them anywhere.

26 posted on 01/29/2006 1:05:50 PM PST by marron
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To: betty boop

Quoting: "Consequently physics per se can’t causally determine the outcome of human creativity, rather it creates the possibility space allowing human intelligence to function autonomously. The challenge to physics is to develop a realistic description of causality in truly complex hierarchical structures, with top-down causation and memory effects allowing higher levels of order to emerge with genuine causal powers."

Whatever that might be imagined to have meaning.
Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.
It's a wet bird that flies by night.

Just where does this differ from scientific and rational thought about "cause and effect"? Is the author saying that psychics, tarot-card readers, and Christian faith-healers have equal standing with biomedical researchers and physicists?

Good old secular engineering works nicely for building bridges and allowing airplanes to fly. Doesn't seem to need a god or a psychic to make it work.





27 posted on 01/29/2006 1:37:21 PM PST by thomaswest (just curious)
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To: betty boop

You should be more critical about what constitutes "thought".

28 posted on 01/29/2006 1:38:55 PM PST by balrog666 (A myth by any other name is still inane.)
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To: thomaswest; Alamo-Girl; marron; hosepipe; All
Just where does this differ from scientific and rational thought about "cause and effect"? Is the author saying that psychics, tarot-card readers, and Christian faith-healers have equal standing with biomedical researchers and physicists?

Well jeepers, thomaswest, I don't know -- for as I said, I haven't read Ellis' piece through yet. Have you?

When we both have, maybe then we'll have something to talk about. Best wishes, bb.

29 posted on 01/29/2006 1:58:15 PM PST by betty boop (Often the deepest cause of suffering is the very absence of God. -- Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: thomaswest
Doesn't seem to need a god or a psychic to make it work.

Certainly, it doesn't seem so. But are you looking deeply enough into the true nature of things?

30 posted on 01/29/2006 2:42:04 PM PST by betty boop (Often the deepest cause of suffering is the very absence of God. -- Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: balrog666

As ever, dear balrog666, your eloquence is underwhelming. :^) But I still like you anyway.


31 posted on 01/29/2006 2:43:17 PM PST by betty boop (Often the deepest cause of suffering is the very absence of God. -- Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: MineralMan

Actually, I did speak to your post. I just didn't speak to the part you wanted me to. You aren't in complete charge. Atheism didn't work; it only gives you an illusion.

Dan


32 posted on 01/29/2006 3:12:00 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: betty boop

"Doesn't seem to need a god or a psychic to make it work."
"Certainly, it doesn't seem so. But are you looking deeply enough into the true nature of things?"

Ah, the Tom Lehrer defense:
"When correctly viewed,
everything is lewd."

Or, in other words, "see it my way, and then all will be revealed".

Obviously, the vast majority of Christians do not agree with your view. They have split into 100 or more sects and cults. Each one claims to have a 'special understanding' of "the Truth". They compete with each other to gain adherents and hold on to some power. Obviously, they can't all be right.




33 posted on 01/29/2006 6:04:33 PM PST by thomaswest (just curious)
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To: bvw
What do you mean by "it is specious"? And whyso?

Because it argues that the beneficiary is the cause, not the effect. To use BibChr's example, it is like finding a watch, then asking how the sun and the moon and the stars were all made to reflect the inner workings of the watch. It's inverted cause and effect.

34 posted on 01/29/2006 7:41:40 PM PST by IronJack
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To: BibChr
This article deals with one specific line of evidence of design.

No, this articles deals with a basket full of scientific discoveries, then tries to imply that they exist the way they are because they are necessary to Man's existence. As if Man were the Prime Cause, and the rest of the Universe somehow derivative.

Not only does that contradict every logical principle, it also contradicts Creationism, which holds that God created the Universe first, then Man. He fitted Man to his environment, not vice versa.

35 posted on 01/29/2006 7:44:51 PM PST by IronJack
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To: BibChr

By the way, you've been on this site long enough to have seen me around, and I would hope you'd recognize that I'm one of the staunchest defenders of Creationism. I'm not your enemy, although in your zealotry you might perceive me that way.


36 posted on 01/29/2006 7:48:41 PM PST by IronJack
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To: IronJack

Okay, by that pre-quantum mechanics theory of cause and effect, you'd be right. Right and almost a 100 years behind the times. Since quantum mechanics we can no longer say that effect does not shape cause. And that post-QM era is what much of this post is about.


37 posted on 01/29/2006 7:50:58 PM PST by bvw
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To: bvw
Since quantum mechanics we can no longer say that effect does not shape cause.

I'm sorry I'm not familiar enough with quantum mechanics to understand that. I can't say I've ever heard that claim made though. Would you care to explain, in terms a poor simpleton could comprehend?

And in any case, are you saying that God's creation of the universe was dictated by the nature of Man? I wouldn't think God was ruled by the laws He Himself created. But maybe quantum mechanics can answer that for me too.

38 posted on 01/29/2006 8:01:00 PM PST by IronJack
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To: IronJack

Three things:

1. You're probably right, I probably should know you by now. But I really don't. Sorry.

2. No, you're mistaken: it doesn't contradict logic in any way. Or if it does, you've not demonstrated it.

3. No, you're mistaken again: it doesn't contradict creationism. The pattern of the six days of creation (which I take to be six historical, common-sense-of-the-word days, relatively recent) is form and fullness. Day one, light; day four, light-bearers; day two, sky and water; day five, birds and marine life; day three, dry land; day six, animals and man to live on the dry land.

So God was preparing the world for man, the crowning act of creation.

Dan


39 posted on 01/29/2006 8:08:07 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: BibChr

Well Said


40 posted on 01/29/2006 8:18:10 PM PST by STD (Grab Your Ankles, I'm From the Gub'ment)
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To: IronJack
Well, the first time I heard something like the suggestion was in some lecture about Feynman diagrams, which are used to model and analuze nuclear particle decays. There it was expressed as the inability to tell which way time went, forwards or backwards.

The next significant time I heard it was from someone who was studying talmud in Lakewood NJ -- and his context was "Yes our actions do change the world, and perhaps not just in the future." At the time we were discussing exactly what consciousness was, and I was asserting that it boiled down to one simple thing: whether we, in the act of observation place a valence of good or bad upon that current moment of observation. That we don't even own in full our own thoughts, much less our bodies, much less even our property. Just the current moment, the taking of it for good or bad. So that was then.

And now, in this post is (iirc) mentioned Princeton's super-theorist physicist John Wheeler's theory that the universe forward and backward in time is brought into beingness (or perhaps refined in beingness) by dint of our observations. With each observation, with each thing we each notice, the world is created backwards in time and forwards as well.

Twilight Zone stuff.

In some Jewish teaching, there are similar constructs -- a primordial Adam, who prior to becoming human in body, is a man in the ability to observe, to appreciate and make descisions, and who by that ability brings on the rest of the creation. That each human generation after Adam has a share of the Adam-soul, is rooted in that soul.

Now G-d created Adam, and the rest of all there is too, and the account in Genesis is a fidelic representation thereof. Fidelic, that is, if we were able to understand it as deeply as it is invested with meaning. Being very limited in intellect, we are not so able to do so.

All that is to say we are partners in this creation, by our observations for the good and acts based on those observations, we are to finish it. To bring it to a perfection, perhaps. To finsh the work of the Divine Week.

41 posted on 01/29/2006 8:39:30 PM PST by bvw
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To: thomaswest
Ah, the Tom Lehrer defense:

"When correctly viewed,
everything is lewd."

“Dream Interpretation”

Everything’s either
concave or -vex,
so whatever you dream
will be something with sex.

— Piet Hein

42 posted on 01/29/2006 9:04:52 PM PST by Virginia-American
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To: silverleaf

YEC INTREP - compromiser alert


43 posted on 01/29/2006 9:27:29 PM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America)
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To: betty boop; 2ndreconmarine

I apologize to both of you! I've read your wonderful posts but haven't finished meditating on all the points you raised - and now it's late and I'm exhausted. I'll try to put my thoughts together in the morning!


44 posted on 01/29/2006 11:46:23 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: IronJack
It is specious to argue that the universe formed the idea of Man first, then asked itself "What kind of environment do I need to create to sustain this particular form of life?"

It seem more likely that every possible kind of universe exists simultaneously, for whatever that's worth.

45 posted on 01/30/2006 5:49:41 AM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: IronJack
. . .it also contradicts Creationism, which holds that God created the Universe first, then Man.

"Yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live." -I Corinthians 8:6

Since the Creator eventually took upon Himself the form of a human in order to redeem the whole creation, it would seem reasonable that the anthropic principle would apply to creation in general. I've heard it said that, strictly in terms of physical size, the human form is midway between the smallest particle known and the largest expanse known. The imagination can always envision something smaller, or something larger ad infinitum.

"And if anyone thinks he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know."

46 posted on 01/30/2006 6:31:34 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: BibChr
1. You're probably right, I probably should know you by now. But I really don't. Sorry.

Oh, well. More's the pity.

2. No, you're mistaken: it doesn't contradict logic in any way. Or if it does, you've not demonstrated it.

That Man was created first and the Universe created around him means that the complex was created to serve the simple. In physics, systems tend to simplify, not complicate. They degenerate into disorder; they do not order themselves. Your system would have to adapt all emergent features to conform to the existing one: the simplest one. That would require that each of those emergent features become more and more complex, as each would have to accommodate not only Man, but all the preceding features. In other words, you've built a logical pyramid that stands on its apex, not its base. It is the very antithesis of logic.

Copernicus was asked to demonstrate how the planets revolved around the earth. He managed to do so, but only by contorting logic until it broke. He then took the simpler route, that the planets orbited the sun, not the earth. Although deemed heretical, the simpler theory proved true.

3. No, you're mistaken again: it doesn't contradict creationism. The pattern of the six days of creation (which I take to be six historical, common-sense-of-the-word days, relatively recent) is form and fullness. Day one, light; day four, light-bearers; day two, sky and water; day five, birds and marine life; day three, dry land; day six, animals and man to live on the dry land.

So God was preparing the world for man, the crowning act of creation.

But Man was NOT created first, then the universe wrapped around him. In fact, from the Genesis account, it would almost seem that Man is an afterthought, someone God thought useful to share His Creation and to glorify Him.

The gist of this article is that Man caused the universe to be created, and that all the order in the universe conforms to Man's needs. Aside from the fact that that is patently untrue -- most of the universe is overwhelmingly hostile to Man -- it also requires that Man existed somehow before there was anywhere (or anyWHEN for that matter) for him TO exist.

47 posted on 01/30/2006 8:42:18 AM PST by IronJack
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To: 2ndreconmarine; betty boop
Again, thank you both so much for your excellent essay posts! And thank you, dear betty boop, for the abstract to that fascinating article!

My response below corresponds to 2ndreconmarine’s comments:

1. I agree that the article was much better in the beginning than in the end. But it doesn’t surprise me that he accepts the universe as old – that is the majority view. Those who believe the universe is young fall into two camps: (a) the Young Earth Creationism theory which asserts the physical realm was created some 6,000 years ago and the physical evidence must support that, and (b) the Gosse Omphalos hypothesis which asserts that God created an old-looking universe some 6,000 years ago.

My personal view is akin to Gerald Schroeder’s (a Jewish physicist): that we must consider both inflationary theory and relativity to understand the age of this universe. Six days from the inception space/time coordinates are equal to some 15 billion years from our space/time coordinates.

2. I disagree with your definition of “Intelligent Design” though I agree we must realize the difference between the “Design of the Universe” and “Intelligent Design”. You said:

* "Intelligent Design" is the very specific notion that the Creator, having designed the Universe 15 billion years ago, got it wrong and had to tinker with it multiple times subsequently to get life to work.

The intelligent design hypothesis does not speak to Liebnitz’ philosophy but rather simply states:

that certain features of the universe and life are best explained by intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection

4. There are certainly many articles on Habitable Zones and NASA has held at least one workshop on the subject. IMHO, there is a tendency to anthropomorphize the first question which he strangely is criticizing and nevertheless doing himself. IOW, the first question ought to be “what is life?” before asking “what is habitable?”.

Finally, and most importantly, it is dangerous philosophy to base your Christian faith on a particular, poorly supported "science".

I would expand and extend: faith ought never be contingent on science – whether good science or bad science.

Only a “doubting Thomas” demands physical proof. But doubting Thomas was an apostle, too.

Moreover, the Father has revealed Himself in several ways: through Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, through Scriptures and through Creation (both spiritual and physical). And we will be held accountable if we fail to notice His revelations.

Romans 1 and Psalms 19 make it clear that we should notice His revelation in nature. And in that regard, I stand in awe over (a) the fact of a beginning of space/time and physical causality, (b) the unreasonable effectiveness of math, (c) the presence of information (successful communication) in the universe and in life, (d) autonomy in life, (e) willfulness, especially the will to live.

48 posted on 01/30/2006 11:48:35 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: STD

I've seen some of these same arguments made before when I read Roger Penrose's "The Emperor's New Mind", which was more concerned with the subject of conciousness but touched on almost every aspect of modern physics and cosmology. It is because of that, among other things, that I call myself an agnostic rather than an atheist. The universe we live in IS very special, at least for our form of life, and that raises questions. And it's not just that small changes in the initial conditions would have rendered the universe a little different and unsuitable for our form of life, but that it would be completely different in structure. This of course leads to philosophical discussions of the anthropic principle and the "many worlds" or multiple-universe question. But the problem is that we have no knowledge, not even theoretical, of anything "outside" this universe, or whether such a concept even has any meaning.

OTOH, the arguments for the specialness of earth are weaker, IMO. For one, our knowledge of how common, or not, solar systems like ours are in the universe, is very sketchy. Also the anthropic principle appears to me to apply even more strongly here - of course Earth has the conditions necessary for life to arise, or else we wouldn't be here to ask the question.


49 posted on 01/30/2006 12:05:56 PM PST by -YYZ-
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To: IronJack

I really don't understand the disconnect. God, who knows the end from the beginning, creates the world for man. So it bears the marks of His design.

Dan


50 posted on 01/30/2006 2:50:36 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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