Posts Tagged ‘intelligent’
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The following is a re-posted article from: http://www.faithandscienceresource.org.uk/id/design_rehab.html
Origins Science Needs Design Rehab
The following article was written by Dr John C Walton in response to an article by Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne which was published in the Guardian on 1 September 2005. Dr Walton’s response was sent to the Guardian on Tuesday 20 December 2005 but not published. Dr. Walton is Professor of Reactive Chemistry at St Andrews University.
Are highly accredited scientists like Professor John Walton “ignorant, stupid, insane (or wicked)” because they reject the ‘molecules to man’ view of origins? This is what Richard Dawkins would apply to scientists like him. With prestigious qualifications Professor Walton surely has a right to object! He can be found speaking on the Edinburgh Creation Group.
During the last decade a fresh, enlightening breeze has been blowing into every corner of the house that Darwin built. The enterprise promoting this sea change, known as Intelligent Design (ID), started to cohere in the mid 1990s. Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe published his book Darwin’s Black Box in which he convincingly showed that many biological structures display “irreducible complexity”. Structures like vision cascades, cellular cilia, bacterial flagella and other “molecular machines” require many complex and coordinated molecular working parts. Behe combed the literature in search of evolutionary scenarios involving many small steps, to account for the origin of such structures, but found them few and far between and totally inadequate. For biological machines to work, all (or most) of the molecular parts are needed at once, i.e. the complexity cannot be reduced to some much simpler state. Individual component proteins, or small selections of them, do not function at all and hence the Darwinian mechanism cannot build the observed complexity by gradual selection of increasingly efficient precursors. Irreducibly complex mechanical and electronic machines offer a pertinent analogy and are known to be the products of intelligent minds taking advantage of natural laws. Consequently, Behe argued that biological machines are powerful evidence of intelligent design in biology.
At about the same time Berkeley Law Professor, Phillip Johnson, applied his relentless logic to show that the full diversity of Darwinian evolution is not supported by compelling factual evidence from palaeontology or by empirical data from biology (see his book Darwin on Trial). Most importantly, Johnson highlighted the fact that the main support for Darwinian Theory derives from its philosophical assumptions. Evolutionists see science as essentially materialist and based on philosophical naturalism. Only chance and the laws of nature are admitted as acceptable explanatory tools. Any interpretation departing from this narrow arena will automatically be rejected as non-science or worse still as superstition.
But how is it possible to decide if something has been designed or if the design is only apparent? An important step was taken by mathematician and philosopher William Dembski who established criteria for detecting design. Dembski drew attention to the fact that detecting design is already a well established scientific activity in fields such as forensic science, archaeology and cryptology. Methods employed with obvious success in these areas to distinguish criminal from accidental activity, to differentiate artefacts from natural objects and to decode messages, should also be applicable to biological structures and to events in nature. In his book The Design Inference Dembski described a general method he called “specified complexity” for identifying design and distinguishing it from the effects of natural causes. He demonstrated that systems exhibiting high complexity combined with “specification” are always produced by intelligent agents. To be “specified” an object or event must correspond to an independent pattern or dynamic sequence. An example of specification would be a dart board with a bulls eye in the centre. The bulls eye is the specified target. Randomly throwing darts is unlikely to result in hitting a bulls eye. There is something special about hitting a bulls eye in a board on a wall that is very different from throwing darts then drawing a bulls eye around them wherever they hit. The difference is that the bulls eye is specified. It turns out that nature, and particularly biology, is equivalent to a long series of bulls eyes that have all been hit by darts. When something has the property of specified complexity it is logical and rational to conclude it was designed.
Dembski, Stephen Meyer and others have applied the specified complexity criterion to biological phenomena and find good agreement with Behe’s conclusion that their origin implies intelligent design. It is especially significant that the Intelligent Design criterion enables data from across a spectrum of scientific areas to be rationalised. Physicists have discovered that the existence of life in the universe depends on a highly improbable balance of fundamental factors, often referred to as the “fine tuning of the universe” or as “anthropic coincidences”. Application of the specified design criterion to this cosmic enigma also signals intelligent design as the most likely cause.
It is apparent that this is a fresh, logical and rational way of thinking, which enables design to be detected independently of any philosophical or religious beliefs. Objective thinkers will welcome this as a way of shedding light on some of science’s most perplexing impasses. In practise Intelligent Design is growing in influence among scientists and philosophers who are willing to consider design as a third fundamental cause along with chance and natural law. On the other hand the old school of materialists, who hold that only chance and necessity are admissible causes, oppose Intelligent Design with every means their powerful establishment positions give them.
Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne are long-time members of this vintage group and are adamantly opposed to Intelligent Design. No surprises there! Distinguished philosopher of science Karl Popper wrote “the wrong view of science betrays itself in the craving to be right”. The intolerant tone of the article written by Dawkins and Coyne “One Side Can Be Wrong”, which appeared in the Guardian Newspaper on September 1st. 2005 is a pity, and shows an emotional and ideological attachment to their world-view has led them deeply into wrong territory. For them evolution should brook no rivals. Origins research is one of the softest sciences so proponents particularly need to avoid the craving Popper spoke of and to cultivate an impartial and objective attitude. It is worth taking time to evaluate the more coherent of the points made in the article.
One label Dawkins and Coyne immediately stick on Intelligent Design is: “There is nothing new about Intelligent Design. It is simply creationism camouflaged with a new name.” The major players in Intelligent Design science emphatically reject this assertion. Proponents of Intelligent Design regard it as a scientific research programme that investigates the effects of intelligent causes. Intelligent Design advocates such as Michael Behe and William Dembski are not young earth creationists and do not reject evolution. For Dembski the purpose of Intelligent Design is “to rehabilitate design as a mode of scientific explanation.” Meyer wrote “The question that must be asked about the origin of life is not ‘which materialistic scenario seems most adequate?’, but ‘what actually caused life to arise on the earth?’”. The specified complexity criterion for detecting design makes no appeal to sacred books and is independent of all religious authority. Phillip Johnson remarked that, “Our objective is not to impose a solution, but to open the most important areas of intellectual inquiry to fresh thinking”. Of course Intelligent Design research has important implications for creationism, but support for creationism is not its objective. Intelligent Design advocates accept evolution, but they doubt that it can do everything that Darwinists claim. Their purpose is to ‘follow the evidence wherever it leads’. This statement has become a slogan of Intelligent Design advocates, and is entirely in harmony with the open-minded attitude with which any scientific investigation should be pursued. It is important to understand that Intelligent Design is not a claim that miracles occur. Rather, it seeks to establish if design is an actual feature of the universe that cannot be duplicated by the effects of natural law and chance.
Early in their article Dawkins and Coyne say “So, why are we so sure that intelligent design is not a real scientific theory, worthy of “both sides” treatment? Isn’t that just our personal opinion? It is an opinion shared by the vast majority of professional biologists . .”. “If Intelligent Design really were a scientific theory, positive evidence for it, gathered through research, would fill peer-reviewed scientific journals. This doesn’t happen. It isn’t that editors refuse to publish Intelligent Design research.” As already mentioned, for material naturalists “real science” only admits chance and necessity as valid causes. Dawkins and the majority of his evolutionary peers automatically rule out Intelligent Design on these philosophical grounds and consider it a waste of time to evaluate the evidence. The majority of professional biologists work in institutions dedicated to evolution and its sister disciplines. Many institutes are specifically named “Evolutionary Biology” or some variant of this. The research funding, the livelihoods, the careers, the professional reputations of all these scientists depend on adherence to evolutionary orthodoxy. Objectivity on foundational questions of origins is not an option for them in these circumstances. The majority scientific opinion cannot be taken as a trustworthy yardstick for gauging the validity of Intelligent Design. In any case, Dawkins and Coyne, after making their misleading point admit that it is nonsense: “[But of course science does not proceed by majority vote among scientists.]”
It is totally unsurprising that Intelligent Design research is not reported in mainline science journals. Contrary to Dawkins and Coynes’ assertion, editors routinely refuse to publish. When Dr Richard Sternberg, editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, published a single paper by Cambridge educated Stephen Meyer making the case for Intelligent Design, he immediately became the subject of a closet campaign of ridicule and intimidation. “They were saying I accepted money under the table, that I was a crypto-priest, that I was a sleeper cell operative for the creationists” said Sternberg. He was advised not to attend a biological society meeting because feelings were running so high order couldn’t be guaranteed. An independent agency, the US Office of Special Counsel, examined email traffic emanating from the Smithsonian Institution, where Sternberg held a fellowship, and noted that “retaliation came in many forms … Misinformation was disseminated through the Smithsonian and to outside sources. The allegations against you were later determined to be false” (see: www.rsternberg.net for Sternberg’s own restrained account of the affair). Editors are well aware of the intimidation and harassment they will face so it is small wonder they shy away from publishing articles favourable to Intelligent Design. It is ironic for Dawkins of all people to denigrate Intelligent Design because, “Its advocates bypass normal scientific due process by appealing directly to the non-scientific public and – with great shrewdness – to the government officials they elect” when these are exactly the methods he adopts himself! His main contribution to science is the series of popular books expounding his brand of evolution to the general public. In fact Dawkins is following a long line of evolutionists including Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley and Stephen Gould all of whom have appealed directly to the non-scientific public in books and popular articles. Dawkins and Coynes’ belief that it is fine for evolutionists to appeal directly to the public, but wrong for those who disagree with them, is deeply revealing of their ultra-partisan approach.
According to Dawkins and Coyne, Intelligent Design scientists make unreasonable demands for evidence: “One side (Evolution) is required to produce evidence, every step of the way. The other side is never required to produce one iota of evidence, but is deemed to have won automatically, the moment the first side encounters a difficulty – the sort of difficulty that all sciences encounter every day, and go to work to solve, with relish.” For over a century evolutionary scientists have been promising that laboratory science will someday discover a quantifiable mechanism for evolutionary change. Scientifically rigorous explanations have also been promised for: how life originated; how the genetic code and new genetic information could arise; how complex biological organs like eyes, cilia, etc. originated; how new biological species developed from ancestral forms and why the fossil record does not show the “innumerable transitional forms” Darwin expected. Intelligent Design scientists do not denigrate the huge progress that biologists have made in understanding how smaller changes have come about, how new varieties of animals and plants are produced, i.e. microevolution in general. Evolutionists assert that the large steps to really new structures (macroevolution) are just an accumulation of smaller steps. It is very significant however, that even after all this time, verifiable laboratory evidence is completely absent, the fossil record presents major problems, and only fanciful “scenarios” are on offer. The point Intelligent Design scientists are making is that the time has now come to examine alternative explanations in which design is evaluated alongside natural causes. The relish with which scientists work in solving origins problems could be pleasantly enhanced by adding the Intelligent Design criterion to their arsenal of scientific tools.
Dawkins and Coyne believe: “Biologists, on the other hand, can confidently claim the equivalent “cinematic” sequence of fossils for a very large number of evolutionary transitions. Not all, but very many, including our own descent from the bipedal ape Australopithecus.” This claim is seriously at odds with considered opinion in the scientific literature emanating from specialists in palaeontology. For example, Kemp says “the observed fossil pattern is invariably not compatible with a gradualistic evolutionary process” (Fossils and Evolution, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 16; see also: Carroll, Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 8-10.) Even evolutionist icon Stephen Gould admitted: “The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism: 1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking pretty much the same as when they disappear, morphological change is usually limited and directionless; 2. Sudden appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and fully formed.” The fossil record does not supply evidence for macroevolution. What is more, if the fossil record were really as portrayed by Dawkins and Coyne, there would have been no need for the “Punctuated Equilibria” hypothesis to have been formulated to try and explain the universal gaps.
Dawkins and Coyne keep up their courage by suggesting: “And – far more telling – not a single authentic fossil has ever been found in the “wrong” place in the evolutionary sequence. Such an anachronistic fossil, if one were ever unearthed, would blow evolution out of the water. As the great biologist J B S Haldane growled, when asked what might disprove evolution: “Fossil rabbits in the pre-Cambrian.”” This is to seriously underestimate the capacity of evolution to absorb bad news! When it comes to the fossil record, even Charles Darwin admitted that it was strong evidence against his theory and appealed to the incomplete nature of the record to try to get around this. Not surprisingly, Dawkins and Coyne also appeal to the incompleteness of the record. But appealing to fossils that have not been found, and trying to explain away those that have been found, hardly constitute strong evidence supporting Darwinism. There is a great deal of flexibility about exactly what the right evolutionary sequence is. Furthermore, geochronology is far from an exact science. Different dating methods frequently give discordant results. Samples for radioactive dating may contain contamination from younger material or from older source rock so that the classify them either as intrusive, i.e. buried at a later date by human or natural means, or they are labelled frauds. Enough doubt can always be thrown. For a recent example, consider the report by Bennett, Huddart et al. of fossil human footprints in volcanic ash near Puebla, Mexico, dated to 40,000 yr by a variety of techniques including radiocarbon analysis (“right” date can usually be found, either by “selection” from available samples or by selection from the range of dates. A nice example of this process unconsciously in action during the controversy over the date of skull KNM ER 1470 from the Lake Turkana region of Kenya is described by Roger Lewin in his book “Bones of Contention”. Nor do grossly out of place fossils like rabbits in the pre-Cambrian present any threat to evolution. Evolutionary palaeontologists “know” such fossils are impossible and therefore they always classify them either as intrusive, i.e. buried at a later date by human or natural means, or they are labelled frauds. Enough doubt can always be thrown. For a recent example, consider the report by Bennett, Huddart et al. of fossil human footprints in volcanic ash near Puebla, Mexico, dated to 40,000 yr by a variety of techniques including radiocarbon analysis which challenged evolutionary views about the timing of human entry into the Americas. No surprise that it was rapidly followed by a rebuttal from Renne et al. (Nature 2005, 438, E7) re-dating the footprints by a gigantic leap to 1.3 Myr and redefining them as “markings” caused by erosion. Although many anachronistic fossils have been found, evolution routinely shrugs them off.
Dawkins and Coyne assure us that: “In fact, the bacterial flagellum is certainly not too complex to have evolved, nor is any other living structure that has ever been carefully studied. Biologists have located plausible series of intermediates, using ingredients to be found elsewhere in living systems”; but this is largely wishful thinking. What is meant by “located”? Does this mean located in the fossil record, located in laboratories or located in the imagination? When it comes to explaining the origin of the bacterial flagellum, and similarly complex, information-rich biological organelles, evolutionary ingenuity has found little to offer, as recourse to biochemistry textbooks and journals has demonstrated. Of course, a few, short “plausible series of intermediates” for these organelles may be “located” in imaginary scenarios regarded even by their originators as incomplete and highly tentative. Scientific imagination knows no limits! But the broad picture of this area of evolution is noteworthy for the scarcity of ideas and their insubstantial character.
The oft repeated dictum “evolution is fact” has become a password ritually affirmed by orthodox Darwinians. Even distinguished academics like Dawkins and Coyne clutch this shaky prop. “The weight of the evidence has become so heavy that opposition to the fact of evolution is laughable to all who are acquainted with even a fraction of the published data. Evolution is a fact: as much a fact as plate tectonics or the heliocentric solar system.” The trouble is, the word evolution has become too ambiguous in its meaning. In many contexts “evolution” means simply change, and who would deny change in the natural world? There is indeed a large volume of evidence that microevolution happens. This is not in dispute; but neither is this the process Intelligent Design scientists are addressing. To quote Phillip Johnson “The point … is whether it (microevolution) tells us anything important about the processes responsible for creating birds, insects and trees in the first place.” All the evidence favouring evolution is of the “finch beak” kind; small variations within a known species or closely related group of species. Fossil sequences of trilobites showing size gradations are well known, as are the laboratory experiments developing fruit flies with divergent morphology. The problem is that this kind of evidence does little to advance knowledge of how trilobites or fruit flies came into existence in the first place. That evolution was supposed to be about the origin of species has become lost in a maze of trivia.
For about 150 years science has striven mightily to explain the origins of everything in terms of only chance, allied with the laws of nature. Dawkins and Coyne offer nothing new, just the same unsubstantiated assertions and unfulfilled promises that have led origins science into decades of sterile wandering. Origins science seems gripped in a mesmeric addiction to games of chance. It is now time to check into design rehab. Their article shows that Dawkins and Coyne are still in full denial. The prime objective of the Intelligent Design enterprise is to establish design as a basic cause, along with chance and natural law, and hence to advance understanding of how complex biological and other structures originated. There are hopeful signs that a new generation is recognising this as a logically sound, rational and reasonable programme.
John C Walton (St Andrews, December 2005)
Tags: atheist, design, evolution, intelligent, neo-darwinism, philosophy
“In September, Oxford University Press officially releases the hardcover version of a new book by renowned philosopher Thomas Nagel at New York University. It’s a bombshell.
Already available on Kindle, Nagel’s book carries the provocative title Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. You read that right: The book’s subtitle declares that “the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False.” Nagel is an atheist who is not convinced by the positive case for intelligent design. But he clearly finds the evidence for modern Darwinian theory wanting. Moreover, he is keenly appreciative of the “iconoclasts” of the intelligent design movement for raising a significant challenge to the current scientific orthodoxy. In chapter 1, Nagel cites with favor the work of three Discovery Institute Fellows in particular:
In thinking about these questions I have been stimulated by criticisms of the prevailing scientific world picture… by the defenders of intelligent design. Even though writers like Michael Behe and Stephen Meyer are motivated at least in part by their religious beliefs, the empirical arguments they offer against the likelihood that the origin of life and its evolutionary history can be fully explained by physics and chemistry are of great interest in themselves. Another skeptic, David Berlinski, has brought out these problems vividly without reference to the design inference. Even if one is not drawn to the alternative of an explanation by the actions of a designer, the problems that these iconoclasts pose for the orthodox scientific consensus should be taken seriously. They do not deserve the scorn with which they are commonly met. It is manifestly unfair.
Refreshingly, Nagel is not taken in by one-sided efforts to evade the arguments of intelligent design proponents by stigmatizing their presumed “religious beliefs.” As Nagel points out, “the empirical arguments” offered by ID proponents “are of great interest in themselves.” It’s the evidence that matters, and it’s the evidence that demands a response.
Nagel goes on to say something that likely will really rile some defenders of Darwinian orthodoxy:
I believe the defenders of intelligent design deserve our gratitude for challenging a scientific world view that owes some of the passion displayed by its adherents precisely to the fact that it is thought to liberate us from religion. That world view is ripe for displacement….
Wow. Anyone who still believes that the weight of the evidence supports the Darwinian view, and that no rational person can doubt the Darwinian consensus, needs to read Nagel’s book.
Nagel is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recipient of the prestigious Balzan Prize for his work in moral philosophy. He has received fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among other institutions. He is one of America’s top philosophers. Obviously, he also is a man of great courage and independence of thought.
Get ready for the book burning parties by defenders of Darwinian orthodoxy. I wouldn’t even be surprised if there is an effort to convince Oxford University Press to disown Nagel’s book. So you might want to get the book while you can.”
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A common logical fallacy many atheists, agnostics, and other skeptics of religion adhere to is an over generalization that followers of Christianity are dumb and uneducated. The logic being that no intelligent person could honestly believe in the contents written in the Bible. To show the fallacy of this kind of thinking, here is a list of some Christians that have contributed immensely to you, me and all of mankind with their intelligence.
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) This Polish astronomer, physician, translator, artist, cleric, diplomat, governor, economist, mathematician with a doctorate in law, turned the world upside down when he calculated that the Earth rotated around the sun, not the other way around. This would be the beginning of heliocentric cosmology. His results were published after his death in his book De Revolutionibus. Famous quote: “I am aware that a philosopher’s ideas are not subject to the judgment of ordinary persons, because it is his endeavour to seek the truth in all things, to the extent permitted to human reason by God.”
Francis Bacon (1561- 1626) Philosopher, statesman, scientist, and author, Bacon served as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. He is most known for his contributions in science with the Baconian Method, AKA the Scientific Method, which is still used to this day as the theoretical framework for observational science. Famous quote; “A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.”
Galileo Galilei “Father of Observational Astronomy and Modern Physics” (1564-1642) Italian astronomer, physicist, mathematician and philosopher Galileo calculated that not only did earth rotate around the sun, but that all the other planets did as well, supporting Coperniucs’ work. His improvements to the telescope lead to the discovery on many moons around Jupiter and also allowed him to discover sunspots. He would publish his works in his book Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World, which lead to his trial and house arrest for the rest of his life by church authorities adhering to a non-Biblical, Aristotelian world view, ironically. Famous quote, “The Intention of Scripture was to persuade men of the truths necessary to salvation. Science could not do this, but only the Holy Spirit.”
Johann Kepler (1571- 1630) German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, Kepler invented the Keplerian Telescope. He is most known for his rigorous mathematical work in uncovering the laws of planetary motion. He often used religion in his science with reason, believing that God created an intelligible world accessible for discovery with reason and observation. Famous quote: “Geometry is unique and eternal, a reflection from the mind of God. That mankind shares in it is because man is an image of God.”
William Harvey (1578- 1657) A physician, Harvey discovered the properties of blood and the circulation through out the body via the heart, detailing systemic circulation. Over the span of his life he contributed immensely to the understanding of anatomy.
Renes Descartes “Father of Modern Philosophy” (1596- 1650) French Philosopher, writer, and mathematician, Descartes is known as the father of modern philosophy with his astounding works in philosophy which proved to be the backbone for western philosophy. He was also a major figure in the rationalism movement. Additionally his work in mathematics is notable, with the Cartesian Coordinate System named after him (in the Latin). Famous quote: “In order to seek truth, it is necessary once in the course of our life to doubt, as far as possible, of all things.”
Blaise Pascal (1623- 1662) French mathematician, philosopher, writer, physicist and inventor, Pascal was a child prodigy. He would invent the mechanical calculator and contribute greatly to projective geometry and probability theory. He is famous for his philosophical concept called “Pascal’s Wager” in which he argues that a logical person would believe in God since you have nothing to lose but everything to gain. Not believing in God you have nothing to gain but everything to lose. Famous quote: “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”
Robert Boyle “First Modern Chemist” (1627- 1691) Philosopher, chemist, physicist, theologian and inventor, Boyle was one of the founders of modern chemistry. He is famous for his discovery of the relationship between pressure and gases, developing what we now call Boyle’s Law. Famous quote: “From a knowledge of God’s work we shall know Him.”
John Locke (1632-1704) Locke was a very influential philosopher to the American Founding Fathers. He is also famous for his book, The Reasonableness of Christianity, and was very influential during the Enlightenment. Famous quote: “The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its Author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure, all sincere; nothing too much; nothing wanting!”
Sir Isaac Newton “Father of Physics” (1642-1727) Discoverer of universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, this mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, alchemist, theologian and physicist had so many numerous discoveries that he was quickly knighted. He built the first reflection telescope, formulated the law of cooling, and demonstrated bionomial function. Newtonclaimed that each of his discoveries were communicated to him through the Holy Spirit. He adhered to the Bible and always propositioned for reconciliation between Scripture and science. Famous quotes; “No sciences are better attested than the religion of the Bible,” and “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.”
Immanuel Kant (1724- 1804) German philosopher, Kant is well known for his important publications on ethics, religion, law, aesthetics, astronomy, and history. He argued for resolving contradictions and disputes between the empirical and rational methods of philosophy. He is regarded as one of the most profound philosophers of the 18th century. Famous Quote: “Men will not understand … that when they fulfill their duties to men, they fulfill thereby God’s commandments; that they are consequently always in the service of God, as long as their actions are moral, and that it is absolutely impossible to serve God otherwise.”
Sir William Herschel (1738- 1822) A German-born British astronomer and composer Herschel discovered Uranus and infrared radiation. He also composed twenty-four symphonies in his lifetime. Famous quote: “The undevout astronomer must be mad.”
Caroline Herschel “First Female Astronomer” (1750-1848) A German-British astronomer, Herschel is the sister of William Herschel. She made significant contributions to astronomy in field of comets, discovering the first periodic comet. Her work in astronomy earned her a gold medal from the Royal Astronomical Society, which did not hand out another medal to a female astronomer until 1996. She was also awarded a Medal of Science by theKing of Prussiaand is considered a pioneer for females in science.
Noah Webster “Webster’s Dictionary Founder” (1758-1843) Webster was a Connecticutschool teacher who established the first American dictionary called, American Dictionary of the English Language. He would later publish an American version of the King James Bible and would begin the famous collection of Webster’s Dictionaries. Famous quote; “God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.”
John Dalton “Father of Modern Atomic Theory” (1766- 1844) English chemist, meteorologist and physicist, Dalton in considered the Father of Modern Atomic Theory and widely respected for his contributions into the research of color blindness, referred to as Daltionism, in his honor.
Michael Faraday (1791- 1867) British chemist, physicist, and philosopher, Faraday discovered magnetic fields, electrolysis, electromagnetic induction, and diamagnetism. His inventions led to the first electric motor. He coined the terms ion, cathode, anode, and electrode. Famous quote: “I am, I hope, very thankful that in the withdrawal of the powers and things of life, the good hope is left with me, which makes the contemplation of death a comfort — not a fear. Such peace is alone the gift of God, and as it is He who gives it, why should we be afraid? His unspeakable gift in His beloved Son is the ground of no doubtful hope, and there is the rest for those who (like you and me) are drawing near the latter end of our terms here below.”
Samuel F.B. Morse “Invented Morse Code” (1791- 1872) Painter and inventor, Morse was truly a gifted painter and in addition invented a form of telegraphy which was named after him; Morse Code. It became the primary telegraph language of its time and is still used today.
Joseph Henry (1797- 1878) American scientist and first secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, Henry invented the galvanometer and discovered self and mutual inductance of electromagnetism and contributed greatly to the advancement of aeronautics.
Soren Kierkegard (1813-1855) A world renowned philosopher from Denmark, Kierkegard is very popular for his book Fear and Trembling, which addresses the shallowness of Christians in more modern history. He was also a critic of idealistic intellectuals. Many of his published works are still widely read and studied in philosophical circles. Famous quote: “Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further.”
James Joule (1818- 1889) A physicist and brewer, Joule discovered the law of conservation, found the relationship between currant and resistance, aided in the development of the absolute scale of temperature, and he is from which we have the term, “Joule,” for a unit of energy. Famous Quote: “After the knowledge of, and obedience to, the will of God, the next aim must be to know something of His attributes of wisdom, power, and goodness as evidenced by His handiwork.”
Gregor Mendel “Father of Genetics” (1822-1884) Growing up in what is now the Czech Republic, he went to a school for gifted children at age ten age. He later became a priest inBrno, where in addition to theology he was taught natural sciences, most notably, artificial selection. Eventually he would study science and statistics at theUniversityofVienna. After earning his degree he began to experiment with breeding plants and cataloging traits. He published his research in 1865 which covered hybridization, the law of segregation, etc. Unfortunately his work was ignored until being rediscovered in 1901 by three botanists that would later declare him the “Father of Genetics.”
Louise Pasteur (1822- 1895) French chemist and microbiologist, Pasteur was one of the founders of medical microbiology, made a number of breakthroughs in curing diseases, created the first vaccine for rabies and anthrax, his research led to the germ theory of disease, he invented pasteurization, discovered a molecular basis for the asymmetry of crystals, and developed the law of biogenesis; that life can only arise from pre-existing life, never from non-life. Famous quote: “Posterity will one day laugh at the foolishness of modern materialistic philosophers. The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. I pray while I am engaged at my work in the laboratory.”
Lord Kelvin William Thomson (1824- 1907) Mathematical physicist and engineer, Thomson formulated the first and second laws of thermodynamics, engineered the electric telegraph, developed the theory of an absolute zero in temperature, and is which we get the temperature measuring unit of “Kelvins.” Famous quote: “The more thoroughly I conduct scientific research, the more I believe that science excludes atheism,” and “If you study science deep enough and long enough, it will force you to believe in God.”
James Maxwell “Father of Quantum Mechanics” (1831-1879), Scottish physicist and mathematician, Maxwell formulated electromagnetic theory. His model of electromagnetism was way ahead of its time advancing physics greatly. His work laid the foundation for quantum mechanics and special relativity. He is named the third greatest physicist of all time just behind Einstein andNewton. Additionally, he is credited for developing the first color photograph. Famous quote: “I think men of science as well as other men need to learn from Christ, and I think Christians whose minds are scientific are bound to study science that their view of the glory of God may be as extensive as their being is capable.”
Sir William Ramsay (1851-1939) Originally a skeptic archaeologist that set out to disprove the Bible, he eventually came to the undeniable authority of scripture after studying New Testament artifacts. He later became a Bible believing Christian. His most famous book was St. Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen. Famous quote: “I began with a mind unfavorable to it…but more recently I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.”
William Ramsay (1852- 1916) Scottish Isotopic Chemist that discovered the noble gases and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1904. Additionally he discovered Neon, Xenon, Krypton and made Radon. Famous quote: “Christianity is the religion of an educated mind.”
Joseph J. Thomson (1856- 1940) A British physicist, Thomson is credited for discovering electrons, isotopes, and inventing the mass spectrometer. In 1906 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Famous Quote: “As we conquer peak after peak we see in front of us regions full of interest and beauty, but we do not see our goal, we do not see the horizon; in the distance tower still higher peaks, which will yield to those who ascend them still wider prospects, and deepen the feeling, the truth of which is emphasized by every advance in science, that ‘Great are the Works of the Lord’.”
Sir William H. Bragg (1862-1942) British physicist, chemist, and mathematician, Bragg is known for inventing the X-ray spectrometer and winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915 for his research on X-ray technology. During his career he would also serve as the Chairman of Physics for the University of Leeds, would teach physics at the University College of London, teach chemistry at the Royal Institution, and would win a variety of awards including the Franklin Medal, Copley Medal, John J. Carty Award, and of course the Nobel Prize. Famous quote: “The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.”
Orville and Wilbur Wright (1871-1948) (1867-1912) You know them as the Wright brothers, who on 1903 were the first humans to ever achieve controlled, powered, and sustained flight with an airplane they designed and built. What really made their flight possible were the first three axis flight controls they invented.
Alexis Carrel (1873- 1944) A French surgeon and biologist, Carrel is known for his revolutionary work in medicine pioneering vascular suturing techniques, inventing the first perfusion pump, discovering various wound antisepsis, and was key in fighting the eugenics movement. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1912. Carrel was always a skeptic of religion until he witnessed a miraculous healing in Lourdes of Marie Bailly. He could not conclude how the woman was healed outside of the supernatural to which he was subsequently ridiculed by fellow doctors. He published a book on the event called, The Voyage to Lourdes. A believer in the supernatural after that, Carrel became a Christian later on in life. Famous quote: “Jesus knows our world. He does not disdain us like the God of Aristotle. We can speak to Him and He answers us. Although He is a person like ourselves, He is God and transcends all things.”
Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) An Italian inventor, Marconi is known for inventing long distance radio transmission, inventing the radio, developing Marconi’s law, and developing the radio telegraph system. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909 and founded the Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in Britain. Famous quote: “I am proud to be a Christian. I believe not only as a Christian, but as a scientist as well. A wireless device can deliver a message through the wilderness. In prayer the human spirit can send invisible waves to eternity, waves that achieve their goal in front of God.”
Max Born (1882- 1970) A German-British physicist and mathematician, Born was a key figure in the development of quantum mechanics and contributed greatly to solid-state physics and optics. He is most notable for winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954. Famous quote: “Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist must be rather silly.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889- 1951) Austrian-British philosopher that focused on logic, philosophy of the mind, of mathematics, and of language. Wittgenstein was a professor of philosophy at the Universityof Cambridgeand his book Philosophical Investigations is considered the most important book of 20th century philosophy. Famous quote: “Very intelligent and well-educated people believe in the story of creation in the Bible, while others hold it as proven false, and the grounds of the latter are well known to the former.”
Arthur Compton (1892- 1962) An American physicist, Compton discovered the Compton effect and was awarded the Nobel Laureate in Physics in 1927 for his work in electromagnetic radiation. He would work on the Manhattan Project, the first nuclear reactor and eventually become the Head of the Department of Physics at WashingtonUniversityin St. Louise. Later, WashingtonUniversityinaugurated Comtpon as the university’s ninth Chancellor. Famous quote: “For myself, faith begins with a realization that a supreme intelligence brought the universe into being and created man. It is not difficult for me to have this faith, for it is incontrovertible that where there is a plan there is intelligence—an orderly, unfolding universe testifies to the truth of the most majestic statement ever uttered—-’In the beginning God.’”
Dr. Werner Heisenberg (1901- 1976) Theoretical physicist, Heisenberg is best known for asserting the uncertainty principal of quantum theory. He contributed in setting forth the matrix formulation in quantum mechanics, discovered allotropic forms of hydrogen, and contributed greatly to nuclear physics, quantum field theory, and particle physics. He was appointed Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics, and was the President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1932. Famous quote; “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”
Sir John C. Eccles (1903- 1997) Australian neurophysiologist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963 for his work on the synapse, Eccles graduated with a medical degree from the University of Melbourne, and received a doctorate in philosophy from Magdalen College, Oxford University. He is famous for his contributions to neuroscience and won Australian of the Year in 1963. Famous quote: “Science and religion are very much alike. Both are imaginative and creative aspects of the human mind. The appearance of a conflict is a result of ignorance. We come to exist through a divine act. That divine guidance is a theme throughout our life; at our death the brain goes, but that divine guidance and love continues. Each of us is a unique, conscious being, a divine creation. It is the religious view. It is the only view consistent with all the evidence.”
Nevill Mott (1905-1996) An English physicist, Mott is known for his work on the structure of magnetic and disordered systems with an emphasis on amorphous semiconductors. Educated at the CliftonCollegein Bristoland St. John’sCollege, Cambridge, Mott would lecture at the Universityof Manchester, teach physics at the Universityof Bristol, and would become the Director of the Henry Herbert Willis Physical Laboratory at Bristol. He progressed the theoretical effects of light, introduced Mott polynomials, and earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1977. Famous quote: “I believe in God, who can respond to prayers, to whom we can give trust and without whom life on this earth would be without meaning (a tale told by an idiot). I believe that God has revealed Himself to us in many ways and through many men and women, and that for us here in the West the clearest revelation is through Jesus and those that have followed him.”
Werner von Braun “Father of Rocket Science” (1912-1977) German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and pioneer of rocket science, Werner von Braun was educated inGermanyat the Technical University of Berlin and was a central figure of their rocket program from the 20’s to the 40’s. His actions during WWII are controversial since his designs were used in warfare, he was forced to join the Nazi regime, often opposed his superiors and was even at one point imprisoned by the Nazis. After WWII he surrendered to the Americans and would head up rocket science for them eventually entering the NASA program becoming a central figure in the space race. Famous quote: “The vast mysteries of the universe should only confirm our belief in the certainty of its Creator. I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.”
Dr. Charles Hard Townes (1915- Current) Physicist and educator, Townes is famous for patenting the maser and his work in quantum electronics. He received a bachelors in physics and an additional degree in modern language from FurmanUniversityin Greenvilleat the age of 19. Townes earned a masters in Physics at DukeUniversity, and then a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology. He eventually would become a professor of Physics at Columbia University, then become the Executive Director of the Columbia Research Laboratory, later the Chairman of the Physics Department, then later the Vice President and Director of Research at the Institute of Defense Analysis in Washington D.C., and would additionally teach physics at MIT and Berkley. He would also be awarded the Templeton Prize for his contributions to the understanding of religion. His career would be highlighted most notably for earning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964. Famous quotes: “I strongly believe in the existence of God, based on intuition, observations, logic, and also scientific knowledge,” and “At least this is the way I see it. I am a physicist. I also consider myself a Christian. As I try to understand the nature of our universe in these two modes of thinking, I see many commonalties and crossovers between science and religion. It seems logical that in the long run the two will even converge.”
Dr. Arthur E. Wilder-Smith (1915- 1995) Organic Chemist and three-star NATO general, Wilder-Smith earned a doctorate in physical organic chemistry from Reading University England, as well as two additional doctorates from the University of Geneva and the University of Zurich. He was appointed the Director of Research for a Swiss pharmaceutical company, taught chemotherapy and pharmacology at theUniversityofGeneva, and was a professor of pharmacology at the University of Illinois Medical Center.
Joseph E. Murray (1919- Current) A graduate ofHarvardMedicalSchool,Murraywent on to become a notable surgeon in the military. It was in the military hospitals that he encountered many burn patients that needed skin grafts. He noted that the closer the genetic similarity between the donor and recipient of the skin graft, the faster the graft worked. This became the foundation for his work in organ transplanting which would begin with the first successful kidney transplant in 1954. Prior toMurraymost doctors believed successful organ transplants to save dying patients was impossible.Murraywould be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1990 for his ground breaking work. Famous quote: “Is the Church inimical to science? Growing up as a Catholic and a scientist – I don’t see it. One truth is revealed truth, the other is scientific truth. If you really believe that creation is good, there can be no harm in studying science. The more we learn about creation – the way it emerged – it just adds to the glory of God. Personally, I’ve never seen a conflict.”
Dr. Arthur Schawlow (1921- 1999) An American physicist, Schawlow is known for his groundbreaking work on lasers, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1981. After receiving a scholarship in science at theUniversityofToronto, Schawlow would earn multiple degrees there, including his Ph.D. He also had a postdoctoral position inColumbiaUniversity’s physics department, taught atStanfordUniversityand worked at several laboratories during his career. Famous quotes: “We are fortunate to have the Bible, and especially the New Testament, which tells so much about God in widely accessible, human terms,” and “It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. . . . I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”
Dr. Antony Hewish (1924- Current) A British radio astronomer, Hewish was educated at Goneville and Caius College, Cambridge and would eventually earn his Ph.D. there. He advanced practical and theoretical understanding of scintillations of radio sources, would share the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1974 for discovering the first pulsar, and would teach radio astronomy at the Cavendish Laboratory. Famous quote: “The ghostly presence of virtual particles defies rational common sense and is non-intuitive for those unacquainted with physics. Religious belief in God, and Christian belief … may seem strange to common-sense thinking. But when the most elementary physical things behave in this way, we should be prepared to accept that the deepest aspects of our existence go beyond our common-sense understanding.”
Buzz Aldrin [Edwin Eugene Aldrin] (1930- Current) American Astronaut and 2nd man on the moon, Aldrin was awarded a full scholarship to MIT but turned it down to enroll at West Point. He graduated West Point with a degree in mechanical engineering, became a 2nd Lieutenant and flew fighter planes overKorea during the Korean War. He then earned a doctorate of science in astronautics from MIT. Once he had earned this degree he was elected to enter into the NASA program where he would take part in one of the Apollo missions to the moon. Famous quote: (Describing taking communion on the moon) “I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.’ I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to theSea ofTranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”
Owen Gingrich (1930- Current) An American astronomer, Gingrich is a former research professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University as well as a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. He is a graduate of Harvard. Famous quote: “Nevertheless, just as I believe that the Book of Scripture illumines the pathway to God, so I believe that the Book of Nature, with its astonishing details–the blade of grass, the Conus cedonulli, or the resonance levels of the carbon atom–also suggest a God of purpose and a God of design. And I think my belief makes me no less a scientist.”
James Benson Irwin (1930-1991) An astronaut and engineer, Irwin received a degree in naval sciences from the US Naval Academy, then received a masters in aeronautical engineering and istrumentation engineering from the University of Michigan. He was the Chief of the Advanced Requirements Branch at Headquarters Air Defense Command as well as a proficient test pilot. He had been awarded the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal and two Air Force Commendation Medals during his service. After being accepted into the NASA program, Irwin became the eighth man to walk on the moon as part of Apollo 15. He left NASA and the Air Force as a Colonel and started the High Flight Foundation. Famous quote: “Jesus walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon.”
Kenneth H. Cooper M.D. “Founder of Aerobics” (1931- Current) Doctor of Medicine and former Air Force Colonel, Cooper is widely known for introducing the concept aerobics to improve the human cardiovascular system. Cooper earned a bachelors and masters from theUniversityofOklahomaand a Masters of Public Health from Harvard University School of Public Health. In addition he is certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He also founded the non-profit research and education organization called the Cooper Institute.
Charles Moss Duke, Jr. (1935- Current) A US Air Force Brigadier General, NASA Aerospace Engineer and Apollo Astronaut, Duke was educated by the US Naval Academy where he received a degree in naval sciences, and then later went to MIT to earn a masters degree in aeronautics, an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of South Carolina, and an honorary doctorate of Humanities from Francis Marion College. He has an impressive record of 4,147 flight hours as a test pilot and 265 space flight hours. In 1972 he became the youngest of the only twelve people that walked on the moon as part of Apollo 16. He is currently chairman of the board of directors for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, president of the Duke Ministry For Christ and focuses on ministering to prisoners.
Raymond Damadian M.D. (1936- Current) Medical practitioner and inventor of the MRI, Damadian received a mathematics degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, earned his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, and studied violin in Julliard for eight years. For the MRI Damadian won the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from Lemelson-MIT.
Dr. Werner Gitt (1937- Current) A German Engineer, Gitt, now retired, was Head of the Department of Information Technology at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology. He was declared Director and Professor of this institute, which in Germanyrequires a prerequisites of; being an academic scientist, publishing a significant number of research and technical papers, and being an expert in the field. Famous quote: “The Bible has long made it clear that the creation of the original groups of fully operational living creatures, programmed to transmit their information to their descendants, was the deliberate act of the mind and the will of the Creator, the great Logos Jesus Christ. We have already shown that life is overwhelmingly loaded with information; it should be clear that a rigorous application of the science of information is devastating to materialistic philosophy in the guise of evolution, and strongly supportive of Genesis creation.”
Sir Ghillean Prance (1937- Current) A British botanist and ecologist, Prance has published extensively on the taxonomy of plant species, was the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, was knighted in 1955, and is president of Christians in Science. He was educated atOxfordand is currently teaching atReadingUniversity. Famous quote: “For many years I have believed that God is the great designer behind all nature… All my studies in science since then have confirmed my faith. I regard the bible as my principle source of authority.”
Dr. František Vyskočil (1941- CURRENT) A ground breaking researcher in neurophysiology from Chechnya, Vyskcil has degrees in chemistry and biology, and completed postdoctoral work at the Instituteof Biomedical Researchat Prague. His work has been published in Nature and many other prominent scientific journals. He has been awarded the Lifelong Contribution Award from the Czech Academy of Sciences and is currently a professor of physiology and neurobiology at CharlesUniversityin Prague. Famous quote: “Every good scientist, regardless of his beliefs, must be as objective as possible. But my faith has changed me. For one thing, instead of being overly self-confident, highly competitive, and unduly proud of my scientific skills, I am now grateful to God for any abilities I may have. Also, instead of unfairly attributing the amazing designs manifest in creation to blind chance, I and not a few other scientists ask ourselves, ‘How did God design this?’ I am grateful for the opportunity to take a very small look inside these tiny miraculous creations, living cells and organs. Instead of exalting an anonymous mother nature I understand the universe, life and mankind as the product of the creative activity of God.”
Dr. Richard Smalley (1943-2005) Chemist Richard Smalley received his bachelors degree from the Universityof Michigan, his Ph.D. from PrincetonUniversityand postdoctoral work at the Universityof Chicago. He pioneered development of supersonic beam laser spectroscopy, contributed greatly to groundbreaking research in fullerences and nanotechnology, taught physics and astronomy at RiceUniversityin Houstonand was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering a new form of carbon. Smalley became a Christian near the end of his life. Famous quote: “It is increasingly clear to modern science that the universe was exquisitely fine-tuned to enable human life.”
Dr. Henry F. Schaefer III (1944- Current) A computational and theoretical chemist, Schaefer has published a significant number of papers in prominent scientific journals and is the Director of the Center for Computational Chemistry at the University of Georgia and a member of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He received a degree in chemical physics from MIT and later a Ph.D. in chemical physics from Stanford. He has been a chairman for the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists and as taught at bothBerkleyand theUniversityofTexas,Austin. He has been awarded American Chemical Society Award as well as multiple medals from various universities. Famous quote: “A Creator must exist. The Big Bang ripples and subsequent scientific findings are clearly pointing to an ex nihilo creation consistent with the first few verses of the book of Genesis.”
Dr. Matti Leisola (1947- Current) Receiving his doctorate of science in biotechnology from the Helsinki University of Technology, Leisola has been awarded the Latsis Prize for his contributions to research in Switzerland, was the Director of Research for an international biotech company, and the Dean of the Faculty of Chemical and Materials Science at Aalto University, Finalnd. Famous quote; “Christianity is the foundation of modern science and explains why we can do science: a rational God created a rational man in his own image so that he is able to understand the creation with his mind. Indeed, the Creator Jesus Christ is called the Logos [Λόγος John 1:1–3], and makes sense of this orderly universe and complexity of life. Those believing in a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life are the ones with a blind faith.”
Dr. Frank Jennings Tipler (1947- Current) A mathematical physicist and cosmologist, Tipler holds a joint appointment in the Dept. of Mathematics and Physics atTulaneUniversity. He earned a degree in in physics from MIT, received a Ph.D. from theUniversityofMarylandand took on a postdoctoral research position at theUniversityofTexas. Famous quotes: “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics,” And “From the perspective of the latest physical theories, Christianity is not a mere religion, but an experimentally testable science.”
Dr. William D. Phillips (1948- Current) An American physicist, Phillips studied physics and chemistry at JuniataCollegebut would earn his Ph.D. in physics from MIT. He has been awarded the Albert A. Michelson Medal from the Franklin Institute as well as the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997. He is the professor of physics at the Universityof Maryland, College Park. Famous quotes: “I believe in God. In fact, I believe in a personal God who acts in and interacts with the creation. I believe that the observations about the orderliness of the physical universe, and the apparently exceptional fine-tuning of the conditions of the universe for the development of life suggest that an intelligent Creator is responsible,” and “Being an ordinary scientist and an ordinary Christian seems perfectly natural to me. It is also perfectly natural for the many scientists I know who are also people of deep religious faith.”
-Dr. Francis Collins, M.D. (1950-Current) Physician, Geneticist, former head of the Human Genome Project and Director of the National Institute of Health, Collins received a degree in chemistry from theUniversityofVirginia, earned a doctorate in physical chemistry fromYaleUniversityand then received his medical degree from theUniversityofNorth CarolinaatChapel Hill. Famous quote: “Science is the only reliable way to understand the natural world [but] is powerless to answer questions such as ‘what is the meaning of human existence?'”
Dr. Ben Carson M.D. (1951- Current) Neurosurgeon and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Carson graduated Yale University with a degree in Psychology and a medical degree from Michigan Medical School. He has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush, and is renowned for his philanthropic causes and contributions to neurosurgery. Famous quote: “I have to come to realize that God does not want to punish us, but rather, to fulfill our lives. God created us, loves us and wants to help us to realize our potential so that we can be useful to others.”
Dr. Aw Swee-Eng MBBS, PhD (Chem Path)(Lond), FRCPath (Lond), FAMS: Biochemist and Head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Director of the Department of Clinical Research at Singapore General Hospital, Swee-Eng is extensively involved in Nuclear Medecine, diagnostics and anti-cancer drugs. He was also an associate professor of Biochemistry at theUniversity ofSingapore.
Dr. Dennis Flentge: Senior professor of Chemistry atCedarvilleUniversityas well as Chair of the Department of Science and Mathematics. He earned a degree in Chemistry fromTexasLutheranCollege, and furthermore a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry fromTexasA & MUniversity.
Dr. Felix Konotey-Ahulu: Considered one of Ghana’s leading scientists and the world’s leading expert in sickle-cell anemia, Konotey-Ahulu’s book The Sickle Cell Disease Patient has been hailed as the authoritative source on the disease. He studied at the University College of the Gold Coast (Ghana) as well as London University, Liverpool School of Tropical Medecine & Hygiene, Westminster Hospital, and Royal Postgraduate Medical School Hammersmith. He has also contributed greatly towards research on AIDs and served on multiple educational boards, genetic research projects, and medical research councils all over Africa. He has been awarded the Guinness Award for Scientific Achievement, the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation Award, and the Third World Academy of Sciences Award. He is also know for his website, www.sicklecell.md, as a resource for patients that have the disease. Famous quote: “Nothing makes sense of life as I know it—wars, rumors of wars, strife (domestic and international), wickedness, injustice, sin and its consequences, pain and suffering, disease (hereditary and acquired)—until I see it through the history of perfect Creation, the Fall and its terrible consequences, the promise of God not only to undo the damage Satan has wrought, but also to restore man’s communion with Himself through His Son who would become Incarnate (God becoming Man).”
Dr. Carol Swain: An American political scientist and lawyer, Swain is a professor of political science and law atVanderbiltUniversity. Born in a poverty stricken family, one of twelve children, Swain did not attend high school. But later in life she earned her GED and an associates degree fromWesternCommunity College. From there she went on to earn a Bachelors in Criminal Justice from Roanoke College, a masters in political science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, an additional masters in law from Yale, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has written and co-authored many prominent books on social concerns inAmerica, has served as an advisor to the US Civil Rights Commission, is a member of the National Council on the Humanities and leads the Carol Swain Foundation. Famous quote: “Christian values of mercy, justice, love, compassion, and fairness strongly influence all aspects of my life as a teacher, researcher, and scholar.”
Dr. James Tour: A synthetic organic chemist, Tour has taught chemistry and biochemistry at theUniversityofSouth Carolinaand taught Computer Science, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology atRiceUniversity. He received his Bachelors of Science in Chemistry fromSyracuseUniversity, his Ph.D. in synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry fromPurdueUniversity, and has postdoctoral experience with theUniversityofWisconsinandStanfordUniversity. In addition to multiple medals and awards from various universities he has also won Southern Chemist of the Year from the American Chemical Society, Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation and Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research. Tour is ranked as one of the Top 10 chemists (alive) in the world! Famous quote: “I build molecules for a living. I can’t begin to tell you how difficult that job is. I stand in awe of God because of what he has done through his creation. My faith has been increased through my research. Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”
This list can go on and on. Additionally, it only mentions prominent figures in history, not the countless others that all throughout history and still to this day work in fields that require great intelligence, but have never made any headlines. The point of this list is to refute the fallacious notion that no intelligent person could believe in the Bible’s claims. Instead it can be shown that many incredibly intelligent people adhere to the Bible’s word in addition to the uneducated. Because, just as the Bible claims, the Word of God is for everyone, regardless of their intelligence, just as we would expect from a book claimed to be inspired by God Himself.
Are you going to run into Christians that are idiotic at times? Most definitely! But you are also going to run into idiotic atheists, agnostics, evolutionists, humanists and, well, any other possible affiliation one could identify themselves as. But this in no way reflects the authenticity of the cause they affiliate with, it just reflects their own intelligence. So don’t make hasty generalizations based on that one stupid guy on the corner, or that crazy woman you work with. Christianity is for ALL people, dumb and smart alike, God bless them all!
Tags: abiogenesis, acid, amino, cell, chemical, creator, design, designer, DNA, earth, evolution, first, Genesis, God, information, intelligent, life, natural, origin, protein, science, theory, time
The very first life form on earth. What was it? What did it look like? When did it appear? How did it come to be? These are all very good questions. Questions which are usually answered with more imagination than actual science since we weren’t there to observe of course. But the biggest question has to be the “how.” It is the “how,” that plagues the scientist’s mind when it comes to the first life.
There are only two means by which the first life could have appeared: natural origins or supernatural origins. Natural origins means the life came from non-living chemicals. Supernatural origins means the life came from an Intelligent Designer, a Creator God. Now immediately science throws out supernatural origins because it is of course not natural, and therefore, in the minds of most scientists, not science. Yet science itself cannot seem to yield any satisfying answers to the origin of life on earth. If life came from non-life, this brings with it a wide variety of problems and dead ends.
The Environment Problem
As much as we understand this planet to be hospitable for life, it is only hospitable for life fitted to live on it. For example, oxygen and water are required for life to exist, but are also detrimental to the internal components of an organism.
Let us take oxygen for example: It is a poisonous gas that oxidizes organic material. The only way organisms can tolerate it is because they are already capable of tolerating it, with membranes that protect oxygen from damaging internal components of the cell. Therefore there is no way the organisms could have evolved from non-living material unless protective membranes were already present to protect the vulnerable internal organelles from oxidization. What are the odds that the first life form ever just so happened to have a protective membrane already in place?
Some evolutionists argue that this is not a problem because it assumes oxygen was not present in the early atmosphere of earth, and therefore not a threat. But the evidence does not support this claim. Even earth’s oldest rocks contain evidence of formation in an oxygen rich atmosphere. Atmospheric physicists believe the earth has been fully oxidized for at least 4 billion years. A fairly recent article published on crystals dated to 4.4 billion years ago show heavy evidence of oxidation. Additionally, oxygen is needed for life as protection from harmful UV rays which we have via from the ozone layer, which is made out of oxygen! If there was no oxygen UV rays would eradicate all early life forms. Biochemist and molecular biologist Michael Denton writes, “What we have is sort of a ‘Catch 22’ situation. If we have oxygen we have no organic compounds, but if we don’t have oxygen we have none either.”
To get around this concern of oxidization, scientists propose life formulated in the oceans and therefore was not subjected to oxygen initially. But just as with oxygen, water is hazardous to life as well. Organic molecules would be destroyed through the process of hydrolysis (also called “water splitting”) in which water bonds between two molecules causing them to split apart. Any amino acid trying to form a protein would have its bond broken in a short matter of time. The US National Academy of Sciences confirms, “In water, the assembly of nucleosides from component sugars and nucleobases, the assembly of nucleotides from nucleosides and phosphate, and the assembly of oligonucleotides from nucleotides are all thermodynamically uphill in water. Two amino acids do not spontaneously join in water. Rather, the opposite reaction is thermodynamically favored at any plausible concentrations: polypeptide chains spontaneously hydrolyze in water, yielding their constituent amino acids.” Physicist Richard Morris concurs, “… water tends to break chains of amino acids. If any proteins had formed in the ocean 3.5 billion years ago, they would have quickly disintegrated.” Thus, the first life form would have needed a protective membrane already in place to protect it from oxygen and water. Yet, where did this membrane come from?
Additionally, the cytoplasm of living cells contain essential minerals of potassium, zinc, manganese and phosphate ions. If cells manifested naturally, these minerals would need to be present nearby. But marine environments do not have widespread concentrations of these minerals. This has lead researchers to propose that life originated not in oceans, and not in locations exposed to oxygen, but instead in geothermal pools, geysers and mudpools, much like the primordial soup Darwin proposed. Yet all these geothermal features have one thing in common: They are incredibly acidic. They also tend to be very hot, which would destroy many vital amino acids. How did the cell develop protection from this acidity and from this heat? Without such protection initially it could have never come together.
Some speculate that natural selection of non-living chemicals provided such protective features. This is, however, a common error some scientists make in this arena when they propose natural selection occurred for these protective systems to be in place. As Chemist Dr. Jonathan Sarfati points out, “…when it comes to the origin of first life, natural selection cannot be invoked, because natural selection is differential reproduction. That is, if it worked at all, it could only work on a living organism that could produce offspring. By its very definition, it could not work on non-living chemicals. Therefore, chance alone must produce the precise sequences needed, so these simulations do not apply.”
A significant problem with proposing life arose spontaneously via natural means is that in order to do so, the components of the cell would have to be naturally nearby. In other words, the cell’s chemical makeup would have to be harmonious with the environment’s chemical make up. UniversityCollegeof Londonbiochemist Nick Lanepoints out the problem with this, “To suggest that the ionic composition of primordial cells should reflect the composition of the oceans is to suggest that cells are in equilibrium with their medium, which is close to saying that they are not alive. Cells require dynamic disequilibrium — that is what being alive is all about.” This is a tough fact to accept, but undoubtedly true. How could the first life form have naturally manifested via chemical means with a chemical make up so different and unique from the environment it is within?
The Homochirality Problem
Moving forward brings forth a new set of problems when amino acids are discussed. Often amino acids are discovered in locations where it is suggested they are naturally produced (like being found in meteorites). When this happens there is usually a hype of excitement over uncovering the source of the origin of life via natural means. But simply having amino acids around doesn’t solve the origin of life problem. There is an issue of handedness with amino acids. Out of the twenty amino acids used for life, the atoms that build them formulate two different shapes; right handed and left-handed amino acids. Just like a human hand, they’re slightly different. Your thumb is on the left side on one hand, but on the right side on the other. Amino acids are likewise mirror images of each other and are therefore called chiral.
But this creates a problem. Just like hands clasping together, right and left handed amino acids want to bond, canceling each other out. Yet, the amino acids found in proteins are 100% left handed, where as right handed amino acids are never found in proteins! Research indicates that right handed amino acids could never form a functioning protein. The fact that only left handed amino acids can create life is called homochirality. Yet any natural process of creating amino acids would create and equal amount of both left handed and right handed amino acids called racemates.
One of the most influential chemist/biochemists of the 20th century, Linus Pauling, writes, “This is a very puzzling fact… All the proteins that have been investigated, obtained from animals and from plants from higher organisms and from very simple organisms- bacteria, molds, even viruses- are found to have been made of L-amino acids.” This is puzzling of course because what natural process only produces one type of amino acid, and not the other amino acid detrimental to life? The late Robert Shapiro, professor emeritus of chemistry at New York University writes, “The reason for this choice [only L-amino acids] is again a mystery, and a subject of continued dispute.” Biochemist and head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Director of Clinical Research at the Singapore General Hospital, Dr. Aw Swee-Eng, is more direct on the subject, “The logical conclusion from these considerations is a simple and parsimonious one, that homochirality and life came together. But evolutionary lore forbids such a notion. It claims to explain how life began, but on the profound issue of life’s “handedness” there is no selective mechanism that it can plausibly endorse.”
The Concept of Information
One factor that is sometimes left out in origin of life talks, that is in my opinion, critical, is the concept of information. All living organisms contain within their DNA information, and not just a little, but a lot! Former physics professor and director of information processing at the Instituteof Physicsand Technology in Braunschweig Germany, Dr. Werner Gitt, writes, “The highest known (statistical) information density is obtained in living cells, exceeding by far the best achievements of highly integrated storage densities in computer systems.” This information leads to highly efficient bio-machinery in our cells that complete a vast array of functions. Every biological function that occurs can be traced back to proteins from genes from reading and transcribing RNA that receives the instructions from the information stored in DNA. It doesn’t simply just happen. It is an immensely complex, sophisticated and detailed process occurring non-stop and very rapidly. In fact, the average cell produces a protein through these processes every four minutes.
Any theory or hypothesis to how life originated naturally must take the source of this information into account. Yet, none can be found. Gitt writes, “There is no known law of nature, no known process and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter.” Biologist Dr. Raymond Bohlin writes, “DNA is information code… The overwhelming conclusion is that information does not and cannot arise spontaneously by mechanistic processes. Intelligence is a necessity in the origin of any informational code, including the genetic code, no matter how much time is given.” Philosopher of Science and founder of the Discovery Institute, Dr. Stephen Meyer, writes, “Our uniform experience affirms that specified information-whether inscribed hieroglyphics, written in a book, encoded in a radio signal, or produced in a simulation experiment-always arises from an intelligent source, from a mind and not a strictly material process.”
Thus, we are left with no natural method or process by which non-living chemicals can produce the informational code found in every life form that as ever existed. Biologist, Chemist and Physiologist Dr. Gary Parker writes, “Imagine that you have just finished reading a fabulous novel. Wanting to read another book like it, you exclaim to a friend, ‘Wow! That was quite a book. I wonder where I can get a bottle of that ink?’ Of course not! You wouldn’t give the ink and paper credit for writing the book. You’d praise the author, and look for another book by the same writer. By some twist of logic, though, many who read the fabulous DNA script want to give credit to the ‘ink (DNA base code) and paper (proteins)’ for composing the code.”
Not Enough Time
With all things considered, many scientists try to jettison out the first life dilemma with the “time” argument. The argument being that given enough time anything can happen! Even the impossible…
The late Nobel prize winning scientist George Wald once wrote, “However improbable we regard this event [evolution], or any of the steps which it involves, given enough time it will almost certainly happen at least once… Time is in fact the hero of the plot… Given so much time, the ‘impossible’ becomes possible, the possible probable, the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait; time itself performs the miracles.”
Now let us logically think about this. Given enough time, anything is possible? First, I feel pressed to point out that there is something irrational in saying that because something is possible, it will occur. Or anything that can happen, will happen. It is possible that in flipping a coin every minute for fifty years you will get heads every time and never tails… but that doesn’t mean it will happen if you tried. Regardless, the notion that given enough time anything can happen is hardly scientific in my opinion, because it flies in the face of observational science. For example, the Law of Biogenesis which firmly points out that life has only been observed coming from existing life, never from non-life. There is also cell theory, which states that cells arise from pre-existing cells. Regardless of the amount of time tacked onto the issue, the law cannot change, and the dimension of time has no characteristic capable of changing this law.
Let us take for example a chair placed in a room. The chair remains in the room for one hundred years, then a thousand years, and eventually billions of years. At any point would that chair become organic or “living” in anyway? Of course not. It would remain just a chair forever. Why? Because there is nothing inherent in non-living molecules that drive them to arrange themselves into living structures. If there were, they’d be doing so to this day at an observable rate. Such is not the case. Life comes from life, and non-life remains non-life everyday.
Another flaw in this argument is the amount of time in question. Such statements like Wald’s seem to have at least a small degree of plausibility in perhaps an infinite time scenario, but time is not infinite. It definitely had a starting point. A starting point which conventional scientists place at 12 to 14 billion years ago. That is a major constraint on how long time is allowed to work its magic. Cosmologist Dr. Hugh Ross writes, “When it comes to the origin of life, many biologists (and others) have typically assumed that plenty of time is available for natural processes to perform the necessary assembly. But discoveries about the universe and the solar system have shattered that assumption. What we see now is that life must have originated on earth quickly.”
This constraint worsens though because conventional geology and biology places the first life forming 3.5 billion years ago, and the earth is only supposedly 4.5 billion years old. So from a naturalist’s or uniformitarian’s point of view there was a billion years from the time earth was formed to the first fossil evidence of life, from which life is said to have manifested. A billion years is a significant time constraint.
Yet, the time constraint worsens further. From a conventional scientist’s perspective adhering to the nebular hypothesis of sun and planet formation, time is further restricted. The first millions of years would have been one of intense meteorite bombardment of earth as the solar system was forming. These intense meteorite bombardments would have eradicated any chance of life forming on earth. By the time these impacts are calculated to have ceased and the time of the first life forms appearing in the fossil record we’re left with a 10 million year gap. That is an enormous time constraint. Additionally, some scientists propose this time frame was shorter because of the “faint sun paradox.” Namely, that the sun was 20 to 30% less luminous when it first existed, creating a very cold inhospitable world. This makes it difficult to apply Ward’s philosophy of an abundance of time making the impossible possible because there is, for lack of a better phrase, hardly any time at all…
In fact, Nobel Prize winning cytologist and biochemist Christian de Duve states, “It is now generally agreed that if life arose spontaneously by natural processes—a necessary assumption if we wish to remain within the realm of science—it must have arisen fairly quickly, more in a matter of millennia or centuries, perhaps even less.” So much for having all the time in the world.
Lastly, I do feel it is necessary to point out the entropy dilemma when it comes to time. The more time that elapses the higher the entropy, so if anything more time doesn’t make anything possible, but in fact, decreases the potential of anything to happen. As biochemist Dr. Royal Truman writes, “The claim that, with time, anything is possible, including the creation and perpetuation of life, is not based on any scientific principle. Rather, the opposite is true: complex and improbable structures of any kind tend to disintegrate over time.” Sarfati agrees, “Long time periods do not help the evolutionary theory if biochemicals are destroyed faster than they are formed.”
Panspermia; DNA astronauts
The difficulty with life spontaneously arising via chemical means is such a problematic concept that it lead Nobel Prize winner and DNA founder Francis Crick to instead postulate that life originated someplace else and traveled to earth via meteorite or space craft. He admits, correctly, that this does not solve the origin of life problem, but merely pushes it back to another location, but that is precisely the point. He proposes that another life bearing planet may have had a slightly different environment more hospitable for the natural chemical means for life to originate. This theory relies on the hypothetical existence of other such life bearing planets to which there is no scientific evidence of, period.
There is additionally a whole host of other problems with Panspermia. How do living cells survive an arduously long space flight on a meteorite? Let us not forget how far away the nearest star is much less the nearest hypothetical life bearing planet. Think of how difficult it would be to create and engineer a capsule to keep living cells alive for thousands of years of space flight, yet a random natural meteorite is capable of doing the job? DNA would have succumb to radiation exposure over such a long period of time in space flight. How did the DNA withstand the lethal radiation? So, these same cells that defied death in thousands (if not millions) of years of freezing space exposed to lethal radiation then somehow survived a scorching hot entry into earth’s atmosphere to reproduce on earth’s surface? As chemist Russell Grigg puts it, “All in all, interstellar space travel for living organisms is sheer wishful thinking.”
What about contamination? Many of the meteorites found on earth claimed to have evidence of microbial life could just have easily had been contaminated with microbial life after they landed. Contamination is the number one reason why all these claims have been rejected actually.
To get around these concerns, many scientists instead believe meteorites and comets didn’t have life per se, but had the building blocks of life on them. But this circles back around to the original reason why panspermia was imagined in the first place. The building blocks of life were already present on earth. Adding more to the mix via meteorites doesn’t in anyway increase the likelihood of life arising via chemical means anyways. Ross brings up another good point, “Though comets, meteorites partly composed of carbon, and interplanetary dust particles may carry some prebiotics, they carry far too few to make a difference. In fact, with every helpful molecule they bring, come several more that would get in the way- useless molecules that would substitute for the needed ones.” Life developing from nonliving chemicals is hard enough to prove, but suggesting life was seeded by meteorites from hypothetical life elsewhere in the universe is flat out impossible to prove. Yet, likewise, impossible to disprove… and so many cling to this notion to avoid a supernatural cause.
From Bolts to Boeing 747s
Many scientists additionally fail to properly distinguish the building blocks of life and living organisms themselves. Parker writes, “The pyramids are made of stone, but studying the stone does not even begin to explain how the pyramids were built. Similarly, until evolutionists begin to explain the origin of the ‘orderly mechanism,’ they have not even begun to talk about the origin of life.”Just as there is a huge void between the bolts and small parts of a 747 to them actually all being carefully assembled into a fully functioning 747, likewise, the simple building blocks of life are organized in an immensely complex way in even the most primitive of organisms.
Hoyle writes of this airplane analogy, “What are the chances that a tornado might blow through a junkyard containing all the parts of a 747, accidentally assemble them into a plane, and leave it ready for take off? The possibilities are so small as to be negligible even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards t fill the whole universe!” Botanist Alexander Williams states, “There is an unbridgeable abyss below the autopoietic hierarchy, between the dirty, mass-action chemistry of the natural environment and the perfect purity, the single-molecule precision, the structural specificity, and the inversely causal integration, regulation, repair, maintenance and differential reproduction of life.”
According to molecular biophysicist Harold Morowitz If you were to take a living cell, break every chemical bond within it so that all you are left with is the raw molecular ingredients, the odds of them all reassembling back into a cell (under ideal natural conditions) is one chance in 10100,000,000,000. Additionally, Morowitz assumed all amino acids were bioactive when calculating these odds. But only twenty different types of amino acids are bioactive, and of those, only left handed ones can be used for life. This further worsens the odds… And with odds like that, time is completely irrelevant because no amount of time could surpass before such an impossible miracle occurred naturally.
Non-theists counter argue that life was not necessarily as complex in the beginning as it is today. Therefore, the odds of a less complex form of life spontaneously assembling are much more probable. The problem with this counter argument is that the earth 3.5 billion years ago was supposedly hardly different at all (environment and atmosphere-wise) than earth today. Meaning the bare necessities required for life to exist on earth today were the same in the past, which is that of great complexity. Additionally minimum complexity presents its own problems in that minimally complex organisms require other larger organisms to survive and are not capable of surviving individually. Thus the first life and its subsequent offspring would have had to have been able to survive independently which requires sophisticated biological features.
Astronomer Michael Hart calculated the odds of DNA spontaneously generating with 100 specific genes (what he declared to be the minimum possible for life) in the most unrealistic yet optimistic conditions over the course of ten billion years. The odds? One in ten to the negative three thousandth power (10-3,000). The time it would take for 200,000 amino acids to come together by chance to create one human cell would be 293.5 times the estimated age of earth of 4.6 billion years. The Director of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware, Dermott Mullan, calculates that the odds of RNA assembling into a primitive cell over the course of an optimistic 1 billion years is one in 1079. Material scientist Dr. Walter Bradley and Chemist Dr. Charles Thaxton calculated that the probability of amino acids forming just one protein is 4.9 x 10-191. The odds of amino acids coincidentally being in the precise order and folds required to make the all the enzymes required for life is 10-650. These are all horrible odds for a natural origin of life. Then consider that these statistics are independent of each other; the DNA would have to spontaneously generate, amino acids randomly together to form proteins in a cell, RNA assembling into a cell, etc. It is hard to accept with these odds, that anything that can happen did happen.
The Reproduction Puzzle
The late philosopher Anthony Flew, an ex-atheist, spoke of many of the philosophical troubles he had with the natural origins for life. One of which that was of great concern was reproduction. Life evolving from non-life is already such a statistical impossibility, but if it did happen, this first life would have to be able to reproduce and replicate itself. Information encoded DNA capable of driving life derived from non-living chemicals is already an absurd concept, but to contain information for replication and overall reproduction is astounding. This is from a philosophical standpoint, perplexing. It is too perfect and too coincidental that the very first life, already an impossibility, just so happened to also be able to duplicate itself. Such ability has “design” written all over it, not “chance.”
Even the most primitive cells today have multiple checkpoints in place to protect against errors. Cells have DNA checkpoints, where cell function momentarily pauses for special proteins to repair damaged DNA. There is an apoptosis checkpoint right before mitosis begins where specialized proteins called survivins run a “diagnostics” to determine whether the cell will proceed with mitosis or die through apoptosis. A spindle assembly checkpoint ensures chromosomes are properly bound together. Telomeres burn like fuses every time a cell divides. Once a telomere becomes too short, the cell stops dividing, usually maxing out at fifty divides. This feature controls cell division. Failure for these mentioned checkpoints to operate leads to a whole host of diseases, most notably cancers.
So how did the first cell protect against errors when it reproduced? Such a capability could not have evolved, because such a capability would have been needed right from the very beginning. Without such a feature, all subsequent life would contain error-prone genetics and would not be able to function or reproduce. Mullan, points out, “A cell formed under these conditions [naturally] would truly be subject to serious uncertainties not only during day to day existence but especially during replication. The cell could hardly be considered robust.” In order to maintain healthy function and reproduction, the first cell would have already needed these specialized checkpoints to guard against errors. The cells could not afford to wait thousands or millions of years for them to evolve. If they did, we wouldn’t be here.
In order to have fully functioning life at even the most basic kind, functioning RNA, DNA and proteins must be present. Remove any one of these from the picture and life can’t function. For example, transcription, translation and DNA replication all require systems already in place to occur. These functions could not simply have evolved because life requires them in place to begin with. As Ross states, “Thus, for life to originate mechanically, all three kinds of molecules [DNA, RNA, and proteins] would need to emerge spontaneously and simultaneously from organic compounds. Even the most optimistic of researchers agree that the chance appearance of these incredibly complex molecules at exactly the same time and place was beyond the realm of natural possibility.”
Though biologists point out that some RNA has been found to act as enzymes or catalysts to perform functions that DNA or a protein would normally do, this has lead many scientists to propose that all one needs is the spontaneous generation of RNA, and it would take care of the rest. Problems with this theory is that the RNA studied to reveal these abilities was very limited, and could not account for the vast functioning seen in DNA and proteins overall. Furthermore, in order for RNA to function this way it would have to contain just as much information as the DNA and protein itself, so the issue of complexity in even the earliest life isn’t solved with RNA either. Molecular Biologist and professor at the Scripps Research Institute, Dr. Gerald F. Joyce writes, “The most reasonable interpretation is that life did not start with RNA … The transition to an RNA world, like the origins of life in general, is fraught with uncertainty and is plagued by a lack of relevant experimental data. Researchers into the origins of life have grown accustomed to the level of frustration in these problems …”
Biologist Jonathan Wells just about sums it up, “So we remain profoundly ignorant of how life originated.” Earth Scientist Casey Luskin writes, “It’s time for a little reality check here: origin-of-life theorists need to explain how a myriad of complex proteins and features arose and self-assembled into a self-replicating life-form by unguided processes, but they are still scraping for mechanisms to explain how an inert primordial soup of organic molecules could have arisen in the first place.” Hoyle writes, “If there were some deep principle that drove organic systems towards living systems, the operation of the principle should easily be demonstratable in a test tube in half a morning. Needless to say, no such demonstration has ever been given. Nothing happens when organic materials are subjected to the usual prescription of showers of electrical sparks or drenched in ultraviolet light, except the eventual production of a tarry sludge,” and “As biochemists discover more and more about the awesome complexity of live, it is apparent that its chances of originating by accident are so minute that they can be completely ruled out. Life cannot have arisen by chance.” Physicist and Information Theorist Dr. Hubet Yockey writes, “The origin of life by chance in a primeval soup is impossible in probability in the same way that a perpetual machine is in probability. The extremely small probabilities calculated… are not discouraging to true believers . . . [however] A practical person must conclude that life didn’t happen by chance.”
Yockey then goes further to add, “The history of science shows that a paradigm, once it has achieved the status of acceptance (and is incorporated in textbooks) and regardless of its failures, is declared invalid only when a new paradigm is available to replace it. Nevertheless, in order to make progress in science, it is necessary to clear the decks, so to speak, of failed paradigms. This must be done even if this leaves the decks entirely clear and no paradigms survive. It is a characteristic of the true believer in religion, philosophy and ideology that he must have a set of beliefs, come what may… Belief in a primeval soup on the grounds that no other paradigm is available is an example of the logical fallacy of the false alternative. In science it is a virtue to acknowledge ignorance. This has been universally the case in the history of science… There is no reason that this should be different in the research on the origin of life.” Biochemist and head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Director of Clinical Research at the Singapore General Hospital, Dr. Aw Swee-Eng, concludes, “The available evidence from the field and the laboratory is not amicable to the theory that life began with the accidental assembly of a self-replicating molecule.”
As it has been clearly demonstrated, there are a wide variety of blockades standing in the way of a natural origins answer for the first life, and no definitive solution has been reached nor can be confidently expected to be reached in the future. Yet, the other option, supernatural origins, is not subject to such obstacles. In fact, every problem a natural origin faces can be satisfactorily answered via supernatural origins. Though many scientists will not appeal to super natural intervention on the grounds that it is not science, and merely a “cut and run” for those who are too impatient to wait for future researchers to provide an adequate natural origins argument.
In response to that notion, Denton answers, “The almost irresistible force of the analogy has completely undermined the complacent assumption, prevalent in biological circles over most of the past century, that the design hypothesis can be excluded on the grounds that the notion is fundamentally a metaphysical a priori concept and therefore scientifically unsound. On the contrary, the inference to design is a purely a posteriori induction based on a ruthlessly consistent application of the logic of analogy. The conclusion may have religious implications, but it does not depend on religious presuppositions.” Therefore, adhering to supernatural cause through rational deduction with proper observational science as support cannot be considered unscientific. Additionally, such a conclusion should not be considered a “cut and run” if the problems faced by natural origins can never be solved via natural means. What discovery (or discoveries) could solve the information, reproduction, environment, homochirality problems?
Physicist H. S. Lipson writes, “If living matter is not, then, caused by the interplay of atoms, natural forces, and radiation [i.e., time, chance, and chemistry], how has it come into being? I think, however, that we must go further than this and admit that the only acceptable explanation is creation.” Parker writes, “In a novel, the ink and paper are merely the means the author uses to express his or her thoughts. In the genetic code, the DNA bases and proteins are merely the means God uses to express His thoughts. The real credit for the message in a novel goes to the author, not the ink and paper, and the real credit for the genetic message in DNA goes to the Author of Life, the Creator…” Medical pathologist David Demick, M.D., concludes, “Thousands of experiments, and all of the recently gained knowledge of molecular biology and genetics, have only served to strengthen the most fundamental law of biology, laid down by Virchow over a century ago: ‘omni cellules e cellules’ (all cells come from other cells), also known as the Law of Biogenesis. Life only comes from life. This was the law established by the Author of Life, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life—Jesus Christ.” Griggs concludes, “Life is bristling with machinery, codes and programs, which are not an inherent property of the material substrate (the information for their construction having been passed on during reproduction). No observation has ever shown such information-bearing structures arising spontaneously. The obvious inference from science, as well as the obvious implications of Scripture, is that the original creation of living things involved the very opposite of chance, namely, the imposition of external intelligence on to matter by an original Designer or Creator.”
So we’re left with a choice. Supernatural or natural? One answers all these problems, the other does not. You can hold out for a natural answer if you wish, but I would rather side with a sure thing. Logically, an Intelligent Designer, a God, is in my opinion, the only rational explanation behind the first life.
 Ward, P. & Brownlee, D., (2000) Rare Earth, Copernicus:New York,NY, pp. 245.
 Clemmey, H. & Badham, N., (1982) “Oxygen in the Atmosphere: An Evaluation of the Geological Evidence,” Geology, 10:141.
 Thaxton, C.B., Bradley, W.L., & Olsen, R.L., (1984) The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories, Philosophical Library:New York,NY, pp. 69-98.
 Trail, D., Watson, B.E., & Tailby, N.D., (December 2011) “The Oxidation State of Hadean Magmas and Implications for Earth’s Early Atmosphere,” Nature, 480: pp. 79-82.
 Riddle, M., (2008) “Can Natural Processes Explain the Origin of Life?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 3, Master Books:Green Forest,AR, pp. 66.
 Denton, M., (1985) Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Alder & Alder:Bethesda,MD, pp. 261.
 Riddle, M., (2008) “Can Natural Processes Explain the Origin of Life?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 3, Master Books:Green Forest,AR, pp. 66.
 Morris, R., (2002) The Big Questions, Times Books/Henry Holt:New York,NY, pp. 167.
 Sarfati, J., “15 Loopholes in the Evolutionary Theory of the Origin of Life,” creation.com
 Sarfati, J., (2002) Refuting Evolution 2, Master Books:Green Forest,AR, pp. 157.
 Riddle, M., (2008) “Can Natural Processes Explain the Origin of Life?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 3, Master Books:Green Forest,AR, pp. 67.
 Ashton, J., (2000) In Six Days, Master Books:Green Forest,AR, pp. 82.
 Pauling, L., (1970) General Chemistry, 3rd Ed., W.H. Freeman & Co.:San Francisco,CA, pp. 774.
 Shapiro, R., (1986) Origins: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, Summit Books:New York,NY, pp. 86.
 Swee-Eng, A., “The Origin of Life; a Critique of Current Scientific Models,” creation.com
 Gitt, W., “Dazzling Design in Miniture: DNA Information Storage,” creation.com
 Gitt, W., (2006) In The Beginning Was Information, Master Books:Green Forest,AR.
 Lester, L. & Bohlin, R., (1989) The Natural Limits To Biological Change, Probe Books:Dallas,TX, pp. 157.
 Meyer, S., (2009) Signature in the Cell, Harper Collins:New York,NY, pp. 347
 Wald, G., (1954) “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191 no. 2:48.
 Ross, H., (1994) The Creator and the Cosmos, Navpress:Colorado Springs,CO, pp. 137.
 Ross, H., (1994) The Creator and the Cosmos, Navpress:Colorado Springs,CO, pp. 138.
 Duve, C., (September-October 1995) “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” American Scientist, pp. 428.
 Truman, R., (December 2001) “The Fish in the Bathtub,” Creation
 Sarfati, J., “15 Loopholes in the Evolutionary Theory of the Origin of Life,” creation.com
 Crick, F., (October 1981) “The Seeds of Life,” Discover Magazine
 Grigg, R., (September 2000) “Did Life Come to Earth From Outerspace?” Creation, 22:(4), pp. 42
 Ross, H., (1994) The Creator and the Cosmos, Navpress:Colorado Springs,CO, pp. 138-139.
 As quoted in Paul E. Little’s Know Why You Believe, 4th Ed., InterVarsity Press:Downers Grove,IL, pp. 26.
 Williams, A., (August 2007) “Life’s Irreducible Structure- Part 1: Autopoiesis,” Journal of Creation, 21:(2) pp. 115.
 Shapiro, R. (1986) Origins: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, Summit Books:New York,NY, pp. 128.
 Ross, H., (1994) The Creator and the Cosmos, Navpress:Colorado Springs,CO, pp. 141.
 Hart, M. H. (1990) “Atmospheric Evolution, the Drake Equation, and DNA: Sparse Life in an Infinite Universe,” Physical Cosmology and Philosophy, MacMillan:New York,NY, pp. 264.
 Little, P.E., (2000) Know Why You Believe, 4th Ed.,InterVarsity Press:Downers Grove,IL, pp. 26.
 Thaxton, C., Bradley, W., & Olsen, R., (1984) The Mystery of Life’s Origins: Reassessing Current Theories, Philosophical Library:New York,NY, pp. 80.
 Sarfati, J., “15 Loopholes in the Evolutionary Theory of the Origin of Life,” creation.com
 Lewis, R., (2008) Human Genetics; Concepts and Applications, 8th Ed., McGraw Hill:New York,NY, Pp. 30-31.
 Lewis, R., (2008) Human Genetics; Concepts and Applications, 8th Ed., McGraw Hill:New York,NY, Pp. 355.
 Ross, H., (1994) The Creator and the Cosmos, Navpress:Colorado Springs,CO, pp. 142.
 Joyce, G.F., (1989) “RNA Evolution and the Origins of Life,” Nature 338: pp. 222-223
 Wells, J., (2000) Icons of Evolution, Regnery Publishing:WashingtonD.C., pp. 24.
 Hoyle, F., (1983) The Intelligent Universe, Michael Joseph:London, pp. 251.
 Yockey, H.P., (1992) Information Theory and Molecular Biology, CambridgeUniversity Press:UK, pp. 257.
 Yockey, H.P., (1992) Information Theory and Molecular Biology, CambridgeUniversity Press:UK, pp. 336.
 Swee-Eng, A., “The Origin of Life; a Critique of Current Scientific Models,” creation.com
 Denton, M., (1986) Evolution: A Theory in Crisis,3rd Ed., Alder & Alder, pp. 341.
 Lipson, H. S., (May 1980) “A Physicist Looks at Evolution,” Physics Bulletin, pp. 138.
 Demick, D., (December 2000) “Life From Non-Life… or Not?” Creation 23:1 pp. 41.
 Grigg, R., (December 1990) “Could Monkeys Type the 23rd Psalm?” Creation 13:1 pp. 34
Tags: ancient, authors, bible, humans, intelligent, knowledge, modern, science, smart, stupid, wisdom
A common remark I get when I talk to people about the Bible is related to the intelligence of the authors. It usually goes something like this, “Why would I believe something written by stupid desert people?” And they usually talk about the earth being flat, belief in Gods, and other things that obviously only stupid people would account for. It seems logical at first. After all, who wants to read a book about the most important subject of all time, if the authors were imbeciles?
How do we know they were stupid?
This is the first question we have to ask ourselves. How do we know they were stupid? Because they believed the earth was flat? That is actually a widely over used misconception. Nothing in the Bible says anything about the earth being flat. In fact, the Bible actually indicates the earth is a “circle” and “sphere,” (Job 26:10 & Isaiah 40:21-22). For more info on where the flat earth theory comes from I recommend reading another article I posted, https://matthew2262.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/anti-religion-funny-comics-and-demotivational-posters/. The ancient people of the Bible did not believe the earth was flat.
One reason we think that the ancient people were stupid is based on a presupposition of evolution which maintains that humans are constantly evolving and improving. If we therefore go backwards in time we’ll stumble across less and less developed humans which are less and less mentally superior. But is this really the case? Instead of speculating on what we think we know, let us look at the actual facts.
Just how dumb were the authors of the Bible?
Well, not dumb at all actually. In fact, many of the authors were in fact very bright for the time and age they lived in. Moses was raised in the finest schools for Egyptian royalty. David was educated byBabylon’s highest ranking educators. Luke was a physician. Solomon, the author of Proverbs was given the Wisdom of God. Paul was highly educated as well.
In general, people were not “stupid” in the ancient world but incredibly inventive and clever, developing all the tools, languages and mathematics that our modern society and sciences rest upon. The Egyptian pyramids to this day baffle engineers and historians as to how such an ancient society could develop such a complex and massive building feat. Ancients knew how to create steel and combine metals to create alloys. They developed critical systems like the ramp, screw, pully, lever, ect. They could navigate using the stars, and plan remarkably precise building projects using the stars. They knew how to irrigate and farm. They knew how to artificially select livestock for stronger off spring. These are not achievements of “stupid” people. This is not to say that were not any less intelligent people in ancient times. Every population has a variety of people with intellectual capability. But this same variety exists to this day.
From a theological view point, the Biblical authors were inspired by the divine wisdom of God anyways. In such a case it wouldn’t matter to the IQ of the author, if he is being inspired by the all superior intelligence of God.
We’re not all that smart today…
We falsely assume we’re more intelligent because we can fly in airplanes, look up anything online, go to the moon, send robots to Mars, cure deadly disease that once wiped out thousands of people, ect. But ask yourself this; could we have achieved these things without the basic foundations laid down by our more “primitive”predecessors? You can’t design a jet engine if the basic chemistry for refining fuel had not been developed. You can’t travel through space if the fundamental laws of physics had not been known. What good is a car without the wheel? It is easy to boast about how intelligent you are when you are standing on the shoulders of the men and women of the past who did all the grunt work to discover the knowledge you so assertively take credit for.
Here is another question. Does access to more information really make you more intelligent? We can today access just about anything online. A real manifestation of education of the masses! But are there costs to today’s technology? There are sadly many. Most profoundly of which is memory. With information so accessible and devices like lab tops, phones, and even a pen and paper, our memories are seldom utilized. Ask yourself how many phone numbers of friends and family you know off the top of your head without resorting to your phone or a phone book. However, in the ancient world where such technology was not available, even writing utensils a rarity, people required strong memorization skills to retain information to pass down to later generations. Such memorization skills are demonstrated in the ancient use of oral tradition, which has been proven to be incredibly accurate. So accurate that it has been suggested that any average ancient lay person could easily memorize and retain MORE information than the average person today. Unfortunately such a scenario is only hypothetical.
A Relative Standard
The problem is that we think that because we know more today than people in the past, we are therefore smart and they stupid. But let’s put this into perspective: We today consider ourselves smart. Now hypothetically two hundred years from now humans will obviously know a great deal more of information than we do today. They’ll know so much in fact that surely they will overturn many of the theories and facts we hold to be true today. They will know so much that they will look back at people in the early 21st century and consider us… stupid. But wait… I thought we were smart? I thought that we today are advanced and intelligent?
You see, by comparing the wealth of information available today to the lesser amount of information in the past you are in essence creating an illogical standard by which to gauge intelligence. If such is the case then we are stupid because there is so much more we don’t know in today’s world that will be discovered in the future. Clearly there is a flaw is such reasoning because one could argue both ways that we are stupid or smart. The only way to properly rationalize the intelligence of people in my opinion is within the context of the age they live in. And thus, considering that many of the Bible’s authors were highly educated during the periods in which they existed, one cannot claim that the Bible was written by stupid desert people.
…many of them didn’t even live in the desert anyways.