[Home] [Site map] [Updates] [Projects] [Contents; 1. Introduction; 2. Philosophy (1), (2), (3), (4) & (5); 3. Religion (1) & (2); 4. History (1), (2) & (3); 5. Science; 6. Environment (2) & (3); 7. Origin of life (1), (2) & (3); 8. Cell & Molecular (1), (2) & (3); 9. Mechanisms (1), (2) & (3); 10. Fossil Record; 11. `Fact' of Evolution; 12. Plants; 13. Animals; 14. Man (1) & (2); 15. Social; 16. Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography A-C, D-F, G-I, J-M, N-S, T-Z] [Book "Problems of Evolution"]
"PROBLEMS OF EVOLUTION": 6. ENVIRONMENT (1) 1. Fitness of the environment for life 1. Evolution cannot explain its own prerequisites 2. Demise of the `Copernican' mediocrity principle 3. Evolutionists' `Goldilocks problem' 2. Universe's fitness for life 3. Solar System's fitness for life 4. Earth's fitness for life 5. Naturalistic explanations 1. Anthropic principle 1. Tautology
"PROBLEMS OF EVOLUTION": 6. ENVIRONMENT (1) 1. Fitness of the environment for life 1. Evolution cannot explain its own prerequisites Evolution has no adequate explanation of its own prerequisites (Henderson, 1913, pp.274-277; Denton, 1998, p.27). "... we are faced with a mystery-a great and profound mystery, and one of immense significance: the mystery of the habitability of the cosmos, of the fitness of the environment" (Greenstein, 1988, p.21)."Granted that Nature's laws are in fact life-permitting Darwinian accounts give (although usually only in very compressed form) the causal story of Life's evolution ... Still, not just any universe would be one in which Darwinian evolution would work. If a tiny reduction in the early cosmic expansion speed would have made everything recollapse within a fraction of a second while a tiny increase would quickly have yielded a universe far too dilute for stars to form, then such changes would (presumably) have been disastrous to Evolution's prospects." (Leslie J., "Universes", , Routledge: London, 1996, reprint, p.108)"Should Darwinian theory come to be vindicated, Dabney planned out the route evangelical theologians should take. It was precisely what the Princeton men had already begun to do. `I remark that if the theory of the evolutionist were all conceded, the argument from designed adaptation would not be abolished but only removed one step backward. If we are mistaken in believing that God made every living creature that moveth after its kind; then the question recurs: Who planned and adjusted these wondrous powers of development? Who endowed the cell-organs of the first living protoplasm with all this fitness for evolution into the numerous and varied wonders of animal life and function, so diversified, yet all orderly adaptations? There is a wonder of creative wisdom and power, at least equal to that of the Mosaic genesis. That this point is justly taken, appears thus: Those philosophers who concede (as I conceive, very unphilosophically and unnecessarily) the theory of `creation by law,' do not deem that they have thereby weakened the teleological argument in the least." (Dabney R.L., "Lectures in Systematic Theology," , Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1980, reprint, p.37, in Livingstone D.N., "Darwin's Forgotten Defenders: The Encounter between Evangelical Theology and Evolutionary Thought," Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1987, p.125)"But even if continuous evolution could be proved as a fact, the significance of the evidence of intelligent order and contrivance would not be in the least affected. It would only establish a method or system of means, but could in no degree alter the nature of the effect, nor the attributes of the real cause disclosed by them. (1.) The laws of abiogenesis, of reproduction, of sexual differentiation and reproduction, of heredity, of variation, such as can evolve sensation, reason, conscience, and will out of atoms and mechanical energy, would all still remain. to be accounted for. (2.) Laws are never causes, but always complicated modes of action resulting from the co-action of innumerable unconscious agents. Instead, therefore, of being explanations they are the very complex effects for which reason demands an intellectual cause. (3.) All physical laws result from the original properties of matter acting under the mutual condition of certain complicated adjustments. Change the adjustments and the laws change. The laws which execute evolution, or rather into which the process of evolution is analyzed, must be referred back to the original adjustments of the material elements of the fire-mist. These adjustments, in which all future order and life is by hypothesis latent, must have been caused by chance or intelligence. Huxley in his `Criticisms on Origin of Species,' p. 330, founds the whole logic of Evolution on chance thus: It has been `demonstrated that an apparatus thoroughly well-adapted to a particular purpose, may be the result of a method of trial and error worked out by unintelligent agents, as well as of the direct application of the means appropriate to that end by .an intelligent agent.' `According to Teleology, each organism is like a rifle bullet fired straight at a mark; according to Darwin organisms are like grape-shot, of which one hits something and the rest fall wide.' The modern scientific explanation of the processes of the universe by physical causes alone, to the exclusion of mind, differs from the old long-exploded chance theory, only by the accidents (a) of the juggling use of the words `laws of nature,' (b) and the assumption that chance operating through indefinate duration can accomplish the work of intelligence. But as no man can believe that any amount of time will explain the form of flint knives and arrow heads, in the absence of human agents, or that any number of throws could cast a font of type into the order of letters in the plays of Shakespeare, so no man can rationally believe that the complicated and significantly intellectual order of the universe sprang from chance. (4.) In artificial breeding man selects. In `natural selection' nature selects. Hence, if the results are the most careful adjustments to effect purpose, it follows that that characteristic must be stamped upon the organisms by nature, and hence nature itself must therefore be intelligently directed, either (a) by an intelligence immanent in her elements, or in her whole as organized, or (b) by the original adjustment of her machinery by an intelligent Creator." (Hodge A.A., "Outlines of Theology," , Banner of Truth: Edinburgh, Second edition, 1983, reprint, pp.40-41)"From time to time I shall need an example of an undisputed adaptation, and the time-honored eye will serve the purpose as well as ever (Paley, 1828; Darwin, 1859; any fundamentalist tract). `As far as the examination of the instrument goes; there is precisely the same proof that the eye was made for vision, as there is that the telescope was made for assisting it. They are made upon the same principles; both being adjusted to the laws by which the transmission and refraction of rays of light are regulated' (Paley 1828, V. 1, p. 17). If a similar instrument were found upon another planet, some special explanation would be called for. Either there is a God, or, if we are going to explain the universe in terms of blind physical forces, those blind physical forces are going to have to be deployed in a very peculiar way. The same is not true of non-living objects, such as the moon or the solar system ... . Paley's instincts here were right." (Dawkins R., "Universal Darwinism," in Ruse M., ed., "But is it Science?: The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, 1996, p.204. My emphasis)"All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way." (Dawkins R., "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design," W.W Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986, pp.4- 5. My emphasis)"Darwin and Alfred Wallace went much further than Wells in gathering evidence for the mechanism of natural selection as an explanation for the existence of order in the organic world. Through their work a new type of explanation became legitimate. If all possible variants arise at random in a reproducing system, then those variations which most enable the system to reproduce will subsequently survive with greater probability than those which do not. Those reproductions that are best adapted to survive in the environment in which they find themselves will do so more readily that those that are ill-adapted. Hence, time and chance can produce the remarkable match between the living creature and its environment. By this means the spontaneous evolution of order can be explained without recourse to final causes or explicit supernatural design. This evolution through the `survival of the fittest' completely undermined the traditional argument from design in the biological realm, although it did not undermine those Design Arguments based upon the advantageous character of the laws of Nature themselves." (Barrow J.D. "The World Within the World," Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1988, pp.83-84)[top] 2. Demise of the `Copernican' mediocrity principle Evolutionists, following the dictates of Epicurean materialistic philosophy, invented a so-called Copernican principle, or principle of mediocrity, that "The Sun is just another star, one of many billions, within one of many billions of galaxies. And the Earth, it seems more and more evident, is one among a host of planets far outnumbering all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the world." (Darling, 2001, pp.93-94; Davies, 1995, p.2; Wiker, 2002, p.42; Glynn, 1996; Wiker, 2003). It holds that "Planet Earth does not occupy a special position or status in the universe. It is apparently a typical planet around a typical star in a typical galaxy. Copernicus determined that the Earth (and mankind) is not at the centre of the universe. ... the shift in world view which attended his (literally) revolutionary theory was enormous. Once Earth had been demoted from the centre, it was inevitable that subsequent discoveries would confirm the normality of our planet. ... the Copernican principle is accepted by most astronomers today. Applied to the question of extraterrestrial life, the principle suggests that if there is nothing special about the astronomical, geological, physical and chemical circumstances of Earth, then there should be nothing special or unique about its biology either" (Davies, 1995, p.16). "Ever since Danish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus plucked it from the center of the Universe and put it in orbit around the sun, Earth has been periodically trivialized. We have gone from the center of the Universe to a small planet orbiting a small, undistinguished star in an unremarkable region of the Milky Way galaxy-a view now formalized by the so-called Principle of Mediocrity, which holds that we are not the one planet with life but one of many. Various estimates for the number of other intelligent civilizations range from none to 10 trillion" (Ward & Brownlee, 2000, p.xxiii). "Copernicus forever destroyed the myth that our Earth lay at the center of the Universe, with the sun and all other planets and stars revolving around us; his work eventually led to the concept of a "Plurality of Worlds"-the idea that our planet is but one among many. This has now been described as the "Principle of Mediocrity," also known as the Copernican Principle" (Ward & Brownlee, 2000, p.280). A major revolution in perspective took place in the 16th century, when Nicolaus Copernicus argued that Earth is not the center of our solar system, as had been previously assumed. Copernicus correctly realized that Earth is just one of a number of planets orbiting the Sun. This apparent reduction in status of Earth and hence mankind had profound repercussions at the time. ... After the Copernican revolution, the reduction in our status not only continued, but accelerated. Astronomers soon realized that other stars are actually objects like our Sun and can, at least in principle, have planetary systems of their own. ... Remarkably, the idea of planets outside our solar system remained a purely theoretical concept, without supporting data, for nearly four centuries. Only in the last few years, beginning in 1995, has the existence of planets orbiting other stars finally been firmly established. ... Our solar system has now been reduced to being but one of perhaps billions of solar systems in the galaxy. ... Stepping up to the next larger size scale, we find that our galaxy is not the only galaxy in the universe. As cosmologists first realized in the early part of the 20th century, the visible universe is teeming with galaxies, each containing billions of stars with the potential of having their own planetary systems. Furthermore, just as Copernicus showed that our planet has no special place within our solar system, modern cosmology has shown that our galaxy has no special place within the universe. ... Each successive demotion of Earth's central status leads to the irrevocable conclusion that our planet has no special location within the entire universe. Earth is an ordinary planet orbiting a moderately bright star in an unexceptional galaxy located at a random position within the universe. The Copernican time principle extends this general idea from the spatial to the temporal domain. just as our planet, and hence mankind, has no special location within the universe, our current cosmological epoch has no special place in the vast expanses of time. This principle further erodes the remaining vestiges a anthropocentric thought." (Adams & Laughlin, 1999, pp.xxxi-xxxiii) But with the progress of science the tide began to turn against the `Copernican' mediocrity principle, ironically at a conference in 1974 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Copernicus' birth, when young Cambridge physicist Brandon Carter spoke on the "Large Number Coincidences and the Anthropic Principle in Cosmology" (Witham, 2003, p.41). The actual scientific evidence (as opposed to materialist philosophy) has led two scientists, geologist Peter Ward and astronomer Donald Brownlee, to propose a contrary "Rare Earth Hypothesis," which "will reverse that decentering trend," that "the Earth, with its cargo of advanced animals, is virtually unique in this quadrant of the galaxy-the most diverse planet, say, in the nearest 10,000 light-years?" and may be "utterly unique: the only planet with animals in this galaxy or even in the visible Universe" (Ward & Brownlee, 2000, pp.xxiii-xxiv). Ward & Brownlee cite the evidence that "Earth is rare": "Our planet coalesced out of the debris from previous cosmic events at a position within a galaxy highly appropriate for the eventual evolution of animal life, around a star also highly appropriate-a star rich in metal, a star found in a safe region of a spiral galaxy, a star moving very slowly on its galactic pinwheel. Not in the center of the galaxy, not in a metal-poor galaxy, not in a globular cluster, not near an active gamma ray source, not in a multiple-star system, not even in a binary, or near a pulsar, or near stars too small, too large, or soon to go supernova. We became a planet where global temperatures have allowed liquid water to exist for more than 4 billion years-and for that, our planet had to have a nearly circular orbit at a distance from a star itself emitting a nearly constant energy output for a long period of time. Our planet received a volume of water sufficient to cover most-but not all-of the planetary surface. Asteroids and comets hit us but not excessively so, thanks to the presence of giant gas planets such as Jupiter beyond us. In the time since animals evolved over 600 million years ago, we have not been punched out, although the means of our destruction by catastrophic impact is certainly there. Earth received the right range of building materials-and had the correct amount of internal heat-to allow plate tectonics to work on the planet, shaping the continents required and keeping global temperatures within a narrow range for several billion years. Even as the Sun grew brighter and atmosphere composition changed, the Earth's remarkable thermostatic regulating process successfully kept the surface temperature within livable range. Alone among terrestrial planets we have a large moon, and this single fact, which sets us apart from Mercury, Venus, and Mars, may have been crucial to the rise and continued existence of animal life on Earth" (Ward & Brownlee, 2000, pp.282-283). They conclude, "The continued marginalization of Earth and its place in the Universe perhaps should be reassessed. We are not the center of the Universe, and we never will be. But we are not so ordinary as Western science has made us out to be for two millennia" (Ward & Brownlee, 2000, p.283). The search for extraterrestrial life has forced scientists to consider realistically what other forms of life are likely, and increasingly they are coming to the conclusion that since there are only "A finite number of solutions exist for any physical problem" and perhaps "the only solutions to the problem of producing an organism capable of interstellar communication were in the DNA combinations resulting in bilateral symmetry, four limbs, opposable thumbs and brains more proficient than is required for the health and reproduction of the species" and therefore "There are good scientific reasons to believe that extraterrestrial life forms might resemble human beings" (Steel, 2004). "Since the "Copernican revolution in the 16th century, indicating that the Earth is not the centre of the universe, we have been conditioned to reject the anthropocentric viewpoint. ... But we shouldn't be afraid of imagining the simplest solution: that ET might be just like us" (Steel, 2004. My emphasis). This is not to argue that there are ET's. Indeed, the world's leading evolutionist, Ernst Mayr, has argued that "Looking at the SETI [Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence] project from a biologist's point of view ... each step leading to the evolution of intelligent life on earth was highly improbable and that the evolution of the human species was the result of a sequence of thousands of these highly improbable steps," such that "It is a miracle that man ever happened, and it would be an even greater miracle if such a sequence of improbabilities had been repeated anywhere else" (Mayr, 1988, p.5. My emphasis). [top] 3. Evolutionists' `Goldilocks problem' [top] 2. Universe's fitness for life [top] 3. Solar System's fitness for life [top] 4. Earth's fitness for life [top] 5. Naturalistic explanations 1. Anthropic principle 1. Tautology"Seen in retrospect, to have produced some of the building blocks of life in experiments of the Urey-Miller type was of no relevance to the origin of life, especially as some of the materials used in the experiments were already biological in origin, since no one doubts that life can give rise to life. The building blocks of life are commonplace. It is the structures to which they can give rise that are remarkable, and where the problem of the origin of life really lies. Not to have realized this in 1952-3 was understandable, but not to realize it today is inexcusable. Not to realize it today amounts to overt deception, at least on the part of research scientists who have ample time and opportunity to study the matter in depth. Students, on the other hand, can be excused, yet likely enough it will be from students that a general realization of the deceit will first come. The deceit has strong motivation. It is to avoid the question of whether the situation, as facts have uncovered it to be, can sensibly be regarded as accidental. Is it reasonable to suppose that the commonest elements should by chance alone have such a range of properties as have been determined from biochemical studies, as for instance in the properties of enzymes? Or is there a teleological component, a purposive component, even in the properties of the chemical elements, let alone in the origin and development of life? If so, we are instantly thrown into very deep waters indeed. The creationist exclaims forcibly, to the point of shouting, that there is indeed a purposive component, while the soi-disant respectable scientist shows, not by shouting but by tricks, that of course it is not so. A typical trick is the so- called anthropic principle - that if the situation is not exactly the way we find it we would not be here to discuss it. Therefore, remarkable as the accidents may look at first sight, our presence is a guarantee that they occurred. But our presence could just as well be a guarantee that life is purposive, planned. The situation is decidedly unproven, with the anthropic principle no more than a tautology." (Hoyle F. & Wickramasinghe C., "Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution," , Phoenix: London, 1996, reprint, pp.32-33) [top]
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Created: 3 November, 2003. Updated: 12 March, 2006.