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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in May 2007. The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
[Index: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec]
1/05/2007 "Scientific progress is always attended by the correction of error, and sometimes by sharp shifts in direction and emphasis. And the nature of the correction is again only tentative, only partial truth. And the illusions could hardly be said to have been dispelled. In fact, in a very real sense, what we have started with as the tangible - matter, energy, space, and time - now seems to bear some of the mystery of an illusion. Things are not what they seemed. In the words of science writer K.C Cole: `So much of science consists of things we can never see: light "waves" and charged "particles'; magnetic `fields" and gravitational forces'; quantum "jumps" and electron"orbits." In fact, none of these phenomena is literally what we say it is. Light waves do not undulate through empty space in the same way that water waves ripple over a still pond; a field is only a mathematical description of the strength and direction of a force; an atom does not literally jump from one quantum state to another; and electrons do not really travel around the atomic nucleus in orbits. The words we use are merely metaphors. `When it comes to atoms', wrote Neils Bohr, 'language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly as concerned with describing facts as creating images.' [Cole, K.C., "On Imagining the Unseeable," Discover, December 1982, p.70]" (Herrmann, R.L.*, "Theistic Evolution: An Overview," , Zadok Institute: North Fitzroy Vic, Australia, 1996, p.3) 2/05/2007 "The God Delusion has established Dawkins as the world's most high-profile atheist polemicist, who directs a withering criticism against every form of religion. 1 He is out to convert his readers. `If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down. 2 Not that he thinks that this is particularly likely; after all, he suggests, `dyed-in-the-wool faith-heads are immune to argument'. Yet the fact that Dawkins has penned a 400-page book declaring that God is a delusion is itself highly significant. Why is such a book still necessary? Religion was meant to have disappeared years ago. For more than a century, leading sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists have declared that their children would see the dawn of a new era in which the `God delusion' would be left behind for good. Back in the 1960s, we were told that religion was fading away, to be replaced by a secular world." (McGrath, A. & McGrath, J.C., "The Dawkins Delusion?," SPCK: London, 2007, p.vii. Emphasis original) 3/05/2007 "The importance of negative results-nature's apparent silence or nonacquiescence to our expectations-is also a major concern in science. Of course, scientists acknowledge the vitality of a negative outcome and often try to generate such a result actively-as in trying to disprove a colleague's favored hypothesis. But the prevalence of negative results does pose an enormous, and largely unaddressed, problem in the reporting of scientific information. I do not speak of fraud, cover-up, finagling, or any other manifestation of pathological science (though such phenomena exist at a frequency that, in all honesty, we just do not know). I refer, rather, to the all too wonderfully human love of a good tale-and our simple and utterly reasonable tendency to shun the inconclusive and the boring." (Gould, S.J., "Cordelia's Dilemma," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," , Crown: New York, Reprinted, 1997, pp.123-124) 3/05/2007 "The great bulk of daily scientific work never sees the light of a published day (and who would wish for changes here, as the ever-increasing glut of journals makes keeping up in one's own field impossible and exploration of others inconceivable). Truly false starts are deposited in circular files-fair enough. But experiments fully carried forth and leading to negative results end up, all too often, unpublished in manila folders within steel-drawer files, known only to those who did the work and quickly forgotten even by them. We all know that thousands of novels, considered substandard by their authors, lie in drawers throughout the world. Do we also understand that experiments with negative results fill even more scientific cabinets? Positive results, on the other hand, tell interesting stories, and are usually written up for publication. Consequently, the available literature may present a strongly biased impression of efficacy and achieved understanding. Such biases, produced by the underreporting of negative results, are not confined to the arcana and abstractions of academic science. Serious, even tragic, practical consequences often ensue. For example, spectacular medical claims for the efficacy of certain treatments (particularly for chronic and fatal illnesses like cancer and AIDS) may be promoted after a positive result (often obtained in a study based upon a very small sample). Later and larger trials may all fail to duplicate the positive results, effectively disproving the value of the treatment. But these subsequent negative results often appear in highly technical journals read by more-restricted audiences and, as non-stories, do not come so readily to the attention of media-and people may continue to squander hope and waste precious time following useless procedures." (Gould, S.J., "Cordelia's Dilemma," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," , Crown: New York, Reprinted, 1997, p.124) 3/05/2007 "Statistics often gets a bum rap in our epithets and editorials. But I am both a champion and a frequent user of statistical procedures-for the science exists largely to identify and root out hopes and misperceptions falsely read into numerical data. Statistics can tell us when published numbers truly point to the probability of a negative result, even though we, in our hopes, have mistakenly conferred a positive interpretation. But statistics cannot rescue us when we hide our non-lights under a bushel (with apologies to Matthew 5:15)- that is, when we publish only positive results and consign our probable negativities to nonscrutiny in our file drawers. I had thought about this problem a great deal (especially when writing The Mismeasure of Man), but I had not realized that this special sort of bias had both a name and a small literature devoted to its weighty problems, until I came upon a paper written in 1988 by Colin B. Begg and Jesse A. Berlin entitled `Publication bias: a problem in interpreting medical data.' ... Begg and Berlin then cite several documented cases of publication bias. ... Similarly, in a 1986 article, A. Coursol and E. E. Wagner found publication bias both in the decision to submit an article at all, and in the probability for acceptance. In a survey of outcomes in psychotherapy, they found that 82 percent of studies with positive outcomes led to submission of papers to a journal, while only 43 percent of negative outcomes provoked an attempt at publication. Of papers submitted, 80 percent reporting positive outcomes were accepted for publication, but only 50 percent of papers claiming negative results." (Gould, S.J., "Cordelia's Dilemma," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," , Crown: New York, Reprinted, 1997, pp.124-125) 4/05/2007 "My favorite study of publication bias may be found in Anne Fausto-Sterling's Myths of Gender, a unique and important contribution to feminism for this reason. In tabulating claims in the literature for consistent differences in cognitive and emotional styles between men and women, Fausto-Sterling does not deny that genuine differences often exist, and in the direction conventionally reported. But she then, so to speak, surveys her colleagues' file drawers for studies not published, or for negative results published and then ignored, and often finds that a great majority report either a smaller and insignificant disparity between sexes, or find no differences at all. When all studies, rather than only those published, are collated, the much-vaunted differences often devolve into triviality. Natural history, after all (as I have argued so often in these essays), is preeminently a study of relative frequency, not of absolute yeses or noes. If a claim based on published literature states that `women in all studies strongly ...'-and the addition of unpublished data changes the claim to `in a minority of studies, a weak effect suggests that women ...'-then meaning is effectively reversed (even though positive outcomes, when rarely found, show a consistent direction)." (Gould, S.J., "Cordelia's Dilemma," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," , Crown: New York, Reprinted, 1997, p.126) 4/05/2007 "Publication bias is serious enough in its promotion of a false impression based on a small and skewed subset of the total number of studies. But at least the right questions are being asked and negative results can be conceptualized and obtained-even if they then tend to be massively underreported. But consider the far more insidious problem closer to Cordelia's dilemma with her father: What if our conceptual world excludes the possibility of acknowledging a negative result as a phenomenon at all? What if we simply can't see, or even think about, a different and meaningful alternative? Cordelia's plight is a dilemma in the literal sense -a choice between two equally undesirable alternatives: she either remains honorable, says nothing, and incurs her father's wrath; or she plays an immoral game to dissemble and win his affection. She tumbles into this plight because Lear cannot conceptualize the proposition that Cordelia's silence might signify her greater love-that nothing can be the biggest something." (Gould, S.J., "Cordelia's Dilemma," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," , Crown: New York, Reprinted, 1997, pp.126-127) 4/05/2007 "Cordelia's dilemma is therefore deeper and more interesting than publication bias, as we glimpse the constraining role of neurological social, and psychological conditioning in our struggle to grasp this complex universe into which we have been so recently thrust. Publication bias only acts as a guard at the party door, giving passage to those with the right stamp on their hands. At least the guard can see all the people and make his unfair decisions. Those rejected can gripe, foment revolution, or start a different and better party. The victims of Cordelia's dilemma are `unpersoned' in the most Orwellian sense. They are residents in the last gulag in inaccessible Siberia, the farthest outpost of Ultima Thule. They are not conceptualized and therefore do not exist as available explanations." (Gould, S.J., "Cordelia's Dilemma," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," , Crown: New York, Reprinted, 1997, p.127) 4/05/2007 "These two forms of nonreporting require different solutions. Publication bias demands, for its correction, an explicit commitment to report negative results that appear less interesting or more inconclusive than the `good story' of positive outcomes. The solution to Cordelia's dilemma-the promotion of her nothing to a meaningful something-requires the more ext revision of conceptual overhaul. Cordelia's dilemma cannot be resolved from within, for the existing theory has defined her action as a denial or non- phenomenon. A different theory must be imported from another context to change conceptual categories and make her response meaningful. In this sense, Cordelia's dilemma best illustrates the dynamic interaction of theory and fact in science. Correction of error cannot always arise from new discovery within an accepted conceptual system. Sometimes the theory has to crumble first, and a new framework be adopted, before the crucial facts can be seen at all. We needed to suspect that evolution might be true in order to see variation among individuals in a population as the dynamic stuff of historical change, and not as trivial or accidental deviation from a created archetype." (Gould, S.J., "Cordelia's Dilemma," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," , Crown: New York, Reprinted, 1997, p.127) 4/05/2007 "But above all else we find the universe terrifying because it appears to be indifferent to life like our own; emotion, ambition and achievement, art and religion all seem equally foreign to its plan. Perhaps indeed we ought to say it appears to be actively hostile to life like our own. For the most part, empty space is so cold that all life in it would be frozen; most of the matter in space is so hot as to make life on it impossible; space is traversed, and astronomical bodies continually bombarded, by radiation of a variety of kinds, much of which is probably inimical to, or even destructive of, life." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.13-14) 4/05/2007 "Into such a universe we have stumbled, if not exactly by mistake, at least as the result of what may properly be described as an accident. The use of such a word need not imply any surprise that our earth exists, for accidents will happen, and if the universe goes on for long enough, every conceivable accident is likely to happen in time. It was, I think, Huxley who said that six monkeys, set to strum unintelligently on typewriters for millions of millions of years, would be bound in time to write all the books in the British Museum. If we examined the last page which a particular monkey had typed, and found that it had chanced, in its blind strumming, to type a Shakespeare sonnet, we should rightly regard the occurrence as a remarkable accident, but if we looked through all the millions of pages the monkeys had turned off in untold millions of years, we might be sure of finding a Shakespeare sonnet somewhere amongst them, the product of the blind play of chance. In the same way, millions of millions of stars wandering blindly through space for millions of millions of years are bound to meet with every kind of accident; a limited number are bound to meet with that special kind of accident which calls planetary systems into being. Yet calculation shews that the number of these can at most be very small in comparison with the total number of stars in the sky; planetary systems must be exceedingly rare objects in space." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.14-15) 4/05/2007 "This rarity of planetary systems is important, because so far as we can see, life of the kind we know on earth could only originate on planets like the earth. It needs suitable physical conditions for its appearance, the most important of which is a temperature at which substances can exist in the liquid state. The stars themselves are disqualified by being far too hot. We may think of them as a vast collection of fires scattered throughout space, providing warmth in a climate which is at most some four degrees above absolute zero- about 484 degrees of frost on our Fahrenheit scale-and is even lower in the vast stretches of space which lie out beyond the Milky Way. Away from the fires there is this unimaginable cold of hundreds of degrees of frost; close up to them there is a temperature of thousands of degrees, at which all solids melt, all liquids boil." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.15-16) 4/05/2007 "Life can only exist inside a narrow temperate zone which surrounds each of these fires at a very definite distance. Outside these zones life would be frozen; inside, it would be shrivelled up. At a rough computation, these zones within which life is possible, all added together, constitute less than a thousand million millionth part of the whole of space. And even inside them, life must be of very rare occurrence, for it is so unusual an accident for suns to throw off planets as our own sun has done, that probably only about one star in 100,000 has a planet revolving round it in the small zone in which life is possible. Just for this reason it seems incredible that the universe can have been designed primarily to produce life like our own; had it been so, surely we might have expected to find a better proportion between the magnitude of the mechanism and the amount of the product. At first glance at least, life seems to be an utterly unimportant by-product; we living things are somehow off the main line." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.15-16) 4/05/2007 "We do not know whether suitable physical conditions are sufficient in themselves to produce life. One school of thought holds that as the earth gradually cooled, it was natural, and indeed almost inevitable, that life should come. Another holds that after one accident had brought the earth into being, a second was necessary to produce life. The material constituents of a living body are perfectly ordinary chemical atoms- carbon, such as we find in soot or lampblack; hydrogen and oxygen, such as we find in water; nitrogen, such as forms the greater part of the atmosphere; and so on. Every kind of atom necessary for life must have existed on the new-born earth. At intervals, a group of atoms might happen to arrange themselves in the way in which they are arranged in the living cell. Indeed, given sufficient time, they would be certain to do so, just as certain as the six monkeys would be certain, given sufficient time, to type off a Shakespeare sonnet. But would they then be a living cell? In other words, is a living cell merely a group of ordinary atoms arranged in some non-ordinary way, or is it something more? Is it merely atoms, or is it atoms plus life? Or, to put it in another way, could a sufficiently skilful chemist create life out of the necessary atoms, as a boy can create a machine out of `Meccano,' and then make it go? We do not know the answer. When it comes it will give us some indication whether other worlds in space are inhabited like ours, and so must have the greatest influence on our interpretation of the meaning of life-it may well produce a greater revolution of thought than Galileo's astronomy or Darwin's biology." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.16-17. Emphasis original) 4/05/2007 "Although the problem is still far from solution, it is becoming increasingly likely that what specially distinguishes the matter of living bodies is the presence not of a `vital force,' but of the quite commonplace element carbon, always in conjunction with other atoms with which it forms exceptionally large molecules. If this is so, life exists in the universe only because the carbon atom possesses certain exceptional properties. Perhaps carbon is rather noteworthy chemically as forming a sort of transition between the metals and non- metals, but so far nothing in the physical constitution of the carbon atom is known to account for its very special capacity for binding other atoms together. The carbon atom consists of six electrons revolving around the appropriate central nucleus, like six planets revolving around a central sun; it appears to differ from its two nearest neighbours in the table of chemical elements, the atoms of boron and nitrogen, only in having one electron more than the former and one electron fewer than the latter. Yet this slight difference must account in the last resort for all the difference between life and absence of life. No doubt the reason why the six electron atom possesses these remarkable properties resides somewhere in the ultimate laws of nature, but mathematical physics has not yet fathomed it." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, p.19) 4/05/2007 "Chemistry suggests that, like magnetism and radio-activity, life may merely be an accidental consequence of the special set of laws by which the present universe is governed. Again the word `accidental' may be challenged. For what if the creator of the universe selected one special set of laws just because they led to the appearance of life? What if this were his way of creating life? So long as we think of the creator as a magnified man-like being, activated by feelings and interests like our own, the challenge cannot be met, except perhaps by the remark that, when such a creator has once been postulated, no argument can add much to what has already been assumed. If, however, we dismiss every trace of anthropomorphism from our minds, there remains no reason for supposing that the present laws were specially selected in order to produce life. They are just as likely, for instance, to have been selected in order to produce magnetism or radio-activity-indeed more likely, since to all appearances physics plays an incomparably greater part in the universe than biology. Viewed from a strictly material standpoint, the utter insignificance of life would seem to go far towards dispelling any idea that it forms a special interest of the Great Architect of the universe." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.21-22) 4/05/2007 "Life of the kind we know can only exist under suitable conditions of light and heat; we only exist ourselves because the earth receives exactly the right amount of radiation from the sun; upset the balance in either direction, of excess or defect, and life must disappear from the earth. And the essence of the situation is that the balance is very easily upset. Primitive man, living in the temperate zone of the earth, must have watched the ice-age descending on his home with something like terror; each year the glaciers came farther down into the valleys; each winter the sun seemed less able to provide the warmth needed for life. To him, as to us, the universe must have seemed hostile to life. We of these later days, living in the narrow temperate zone surrounding our sun and peering into the far future, see an ice-age of a different kind threatening us. Just as Tantalus, standing in a lake so deep that he only just escaped drowning, was yet destined to die of thirst, so it is the tragedy of our race that it is probably destined to die of cold, while the greater part of the substance of the universe still remains too hot for life to obtain a footing. The sun, having no extraneous supply of heat, must necessarily emit ever less and less of its life-giving radiation, and, as it does so, the temperate zone of space, within which alone life can exist, must close in around it. To remain a possible abode of life, our earth would need to move in ever nearer and nearer to the dying sun. Yet, science tells us that, so far from its moving inwards, inexorable dynamical laws are even now driving it ever farther away from the sun into the outer cold and darkness. And, so far as we can see, they must continue to do so until life is frozen off the earth, unless indeed some celestial collision or cataclysm intervenes to destroy life even earlier by a more speedy death. This prospective fate is not peculiar to our earth; other suns must die like our own, and any life there may be on other planets must meet the same inglorious end." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.23-24) 4/05/2007 "Physics tells the same story as astronomy. For, independently of all astronomical considerations, the general physical principle known as the second law of thermo-dynamics predicts that there can be but one end to the universe-a `heat-death' in which the total energy of the universe is uniformly distributed, and all the substance of the universe is at the same temperature. This temperature will be so low as to make life impossible. It matters little by what particular road this final state is reached; all roads lead to Rome, and the end of the journey cannot be other than universal death. Is this, then, all that life amounts to-to stumble, almost by mistake, into a universe which was clearly not designed for life, and which, to all appearances, is either totally indifferent or definitely hostile to it, to stay clinging on to a fragment of a grain of sand until we are frozen off, to strut our tiny hour on our tiny stage with the knowledge that our aspirations are all doomed to final frustration, and that our achievements must perish with our race, leaving the universe as though we had never been?" (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.24-25) 4/05/2007 "It is the same with time, which, like space, we must think of as of finite extent. As we trace the stream of time backwards, we encounter many indications that, after a long enough journey, we must come to its source, a time before which the present universe did not exist. Nature frowns upon perpetual motion machines and it a priori very unlikely that her universe will provide an example, on the grand scale, of the mechanism she abhors. And a detailed consideration of nature confirms this. The science of thermodynamics explains how everything in nature passes to its final state by a process which is designated the `increase of entropy.' Entropy must for ever increase: it cannot stand still until it has increased so far that it can increase no further. When this stage is reached, further progress will be impossible, and the universe will be dead. Thus, unless this whole branch of science is wrong, nature permits herself, quite literally, only two alternatives, progress and death: the only standing still she permits is in the stillness of the grave." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.180-181) 4/05/2007 "Some scientists, although not, I think, very many, would dissent from this last view. While they do not dispute that the present stars are melting away into radiation, they maintain that, somewhere out in the remote depths of space, this radiation may be reconsolidating itself again into matter. A new heaven and a new earth may, they suggest, be in process of being built, not out of the ashes of the old, but out of the radiation set free by the combustion of the old. In this way they advocate what may be described as a cyclic universe; while it dies in one place the products of its death are busy producing new life in others. This concept of a cyclic universe is entirely at variance with the well-established principle of the second law of thermodynamics, which teaches that entropy must for ever increase, and that cyclic u in the same way, and for much the same reason, as perpetual motion machines are impossible. That this law may fail under astronomical conditions of which we have no knowledge is certainly conceivable, although I imagine the majority of serious scientists consider it very improbable. There is of course no denying that the concept of a cyclic universe is far the more popular of the two. Most men find the final dissolution of the universe as distasteful a thought as the dissolution of their own personality, and man's strivings after personal immortality have their macroscopic counterpart in these more sophisticated strivings after an imperishable universe." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.181-182) 4/05/2007 "The more orthodox scientific view is that the entropy of the universe must for ever increase to its final maximum value. It has not yet reached this: we should not be thinking about it if it had. It is still increasing rapidly, and so must have had a beginning; there must have been what we may describe as a `creation' at a time not infinitely remote. If the universe is a universe of thought, then its creation must have been an act of thought. Indeed the finiteness of time and space almost compel us, of themselves, to picture the creation as an act of thought; the determination of the constants such as the radius of the universe and the number of electrons it contained imply thought, whose richness is measured by the immensity of these quantities. Time and space, which form the setting for the thought, must have come into being as part of this act. Primitive cosmologies pictured a creator working in space and time, forging sun, moon and stars out of already existent raw material. Modern scientific theory compels us to think of the creator as working outside time and space, which are part of his creation, just as the artist is outside his canvas. It accords with the conjecture of Augustine: `Non in ternpore, sed cum tempore, finxit Deus mundum.' Indeed, the doctrine dates back as far as Plato: `Time and the heavens came into being at the same instant, in order that, if they were ever to dissolve, they might be dissolved together. Such was the mind and thought of God in the creation of time.' And yet, so little do we understand time that perhaps we ought to compare the whole of time to the act of creation, the materialisation of the thought." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.182-183) 4/05/2007 "It is too often overlooked that we can only discuss these questions in terms of probabilities. The man of science is accustomed to the reproach that he changes his views all the time, with the accompanying implication that what he says need not be taken too seriously. It is no true reproach that in exploring the river of knowledge he occasionally goes down a backwater instead of continuing along the main stream; no explorer can be sure that a backwater is such, and nothing more, until he has been down it. What is more serious, and beyond the control of the explorer, is that the river is a winding one, flowing now east, now west. At one moment the explorer says: `I am going downstream, and, as I am going towards the west, the ocean which is reality seems most likely to lie in the westerly direction.' And later, when the river has turned east, he says: `It now looks as though reality is in the east.' No scientist who has lived through the last thirty years is likely to be too dogmatic either as to the future course of the stream or as to the direction in which reality lies: he knows from his own experience how the river not only for ever broadens but also repeatedly winds, and, after many disappointments, he has given up thinking at every turn that he is at last in the presence of the murmurs and scents of the infinite sea." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.184-185. Emphasis original) 4/05/2007 "Thirty years ago, we thought, or assumed, that we were heading towards an ultimate reality of a mechanical kind. It seemed to consist of a fortuitous jumble of atoms, which was destined to perform meaningless dances for a time under the action of blind purposeless forces, and then fall back to form a dead world. Into this wholly mechanical world, through the play of the same blind forces, life had stumbled by accident. One tiny corner at least, and possibly several tiny corners, of this universe of atoms had chanced to become conscious for a time, but was destined in the end, still under the action of blind mechanical forces, to be frozen out and again leave a lifeless world. To-day there is a wide measure of agreement, which on the physical side of science approaches almost to unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.186-187) 4/05/2007 "Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter-not of course our individual minds, but the minds in which the atoms out of which our individual minds have grown exist as thoughts. The new knowledge compels us to revise our hasty first impressions that we had stumbled into a universe which either did not concern itself with life or was actively hostile to life. The old dualism of mind and matter, which was mainly responsible for the supposed hostility, seems likely to disappear, not through matter becoming in any way more shadowy or insubstantial than heretofore, or through mind becoming resolved into a function of the working of matter, but through substantial matter resolving itself into a creation and manifestation of mind. We discover that the universe shews evidence of a designing or controlling power that has something in common with our own individual minds-not, so far as we have discovered, emotion, morality, or aesthetic appreciation, but the tendency to think in the way which, for want of a better word, we describe as mathematical. And while much in it may be hostile to the material appendages of life, much also is akin to the fundamental activities of life; we are not so much strangers or intruders in the universe as we at first thought. Those inert atoms in the primaeval slime which first began to foreshadow the attributes of life were putting themselves more, and not less, in accord with the fundamental nature of the universe." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, pp.187-188) 4/05/2007 "So at least we are tempted to conjecture to-day, and yet who knows how many more times the stream of knowledge may turn on itself? And with this reflection before us, we may well conclude by adding, what might well have been interlined into every paragraph, that everything that has been said, and every conclusion that has been tentatively put forward, is quite frankly speculative and uncertain. We have tried to discuss whether present-day science has anything to say on certain difficult questions, which are perhaps set for ever beyond the reach of human understanding. We cannot claim to have discerned more than a very faint glimmer of light at the best; perhaps it was wholly illusory, for certainly we had to strain our eyes very hard to see anything at all. So that our main contention can hardly be that the science of to-day has a pronouncement to make, perhaps it ought rather to be that science should leave off making pronouncements: the river of knowledge has too often turned back on itself." (Jeans, J., "The Mysterious Universe," , Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, Second edition, 1931, Reprinted, 1937, p.188) 4/05/2007 "So why are insects so diverse? Many answers have been offered, and the solution will be some complex combination of the good arguments. Small size, great ecological variety, rapid geographic dispersal have all been mentioned, and are probably valid as partial explanations, but one other factor always stands out in the conventional list of reasons: coevolution with flowering plants. The angiosperms, or flowering plants, are by far the most diverse group in their kingdom. Many species are fertilized by insects in a mutually beneficial arrangement that supplies food to the insects while transporting pollen from flower to flower. So intricate, and so mutually adapted, are the features of both flower and insect in many cases-special colors and odors to attract the insects, exquisitely fashioned mouthparts to extract the nectar, for example that this pairing has become our classical example of coevolution, or promotion of adaptation and diversity by evolved interaction among organisms. (Darwin wrote an entire book on the subject, using the classic case of intricately coadapted orchids and their insect pollinators.) Thus a received truth of evolutionary biology has proclaimed that insects are so diverse, in no small part, because flowering plants are so varied-and each plant evolves its pollinator (and vice versa). Sounds good, but is it true? The fossil record suggests an obvious test, but, curiously, no one had ever carried out the protocol until my colleagues Conrad Labandeira and Jack Sepkoski published a paper in July 1993 [Labandeira, C.C., & J.J. Sepkoski, "Insect Diversity in the Fossil Record," Science, Vol. 261, 16 July 1993, p.310, pp.310-315]. Insects arose in the Devonian period, but began a major radiation in diversity during subsequent Carboniferous times, some 325 million years ago. Angiosperms, by contrast, arose much later. Their first fossils are found in early Cretaceous strata, some 140 million years ago. (If they arose earlier, as some scientists speculate, they could not have been very abundant.) But angiosperms didn't really flower (pardon the irresistible, if unoriginal, pun) until the Albian and Cenomanian stages of the middle Cretaceous, some 100 million years ago, where their explosive evolutionary radiation stands out as one of the great events of our fossil record. If insect diversity is tied to the radiation of flowering plants, as traditional views proclaim, then this burst of angiosperms should be matched by a similar explosion of insects in the fossil record. Why has such an obvious test of an important evolutionary hypothesis not been made before?" (Gould, S.J., "In the Mind of the Beholder," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," Harmony Books: New York NY, 1995, pp.98-99. Emphasis original) 17/05/2007 "Yet, as Teggart reminds us, Darwin actually admitted that the known facts of the geological record spoke out against his major prediction: that evolution on the whole must be slow, steady gradual and progressive. To understand why Darwin was so adamant and to shed some light on the persistence of this conflict between what we've been expecting to see and what we have actually been seeing all along, we must consider Mr. Darwin's theory in a bit more detail. ... Darwin came back from his five-year tour of duty on the H.M.S. Beagle in 1836. And he came back on the brink of conviction of the fact of evolution-that all creatures past and present are linked up in one grand, intricate genealogical array. It was `descent with modification' (Darwin actually never used the word `evolution' in his first edition of the Origin). The concept was simplicity itself: all life has descended from a single common ancestor, and along the way of his interminable process of ancestry and descent, creatures become modified. As lines of descent split, life has diversified; descendants within these disparate lines have inherited ancestral characteristics, duly passing them along in sometimes still-further-modified form to still later descendants. It was an idea, Darwin saw, that so clearly explained why there is a complexly layered pattern of similarity that unites all organisms. Dogs, wolves and jackals share a goodly array of anatomical and behavioral features. But they also share with bears and cats a more general similarity that seems to link them all into a larger group-a group mammalogists call the Order Carnivora. And these carnivores-these bears, dogs, cats, weasels, civets, hyenas, racoons and seals-are clearly all mammals. They have hair, mammary glands, four-chambered hearts, three little bones in the middle ear and placental development in the uterus. Darwin saw such ever-widening circles of group membership as clearly implying, the natural origination of new features-items such as hair and mammary glands-at some specific point in the genealogical history of a group. Such successful innovations, he imagined, were simply handed down to all later descendants. Sometime after the invention of hair and the other basic, early features that all mammals retain today, a single lineage specializing on the consumption of other animals developed a highly specific shearing dentition-a successful innovation that has been passed on to many descendants (and lost by a few, such as the bamboo eating giant panda). The trait helps define the mammalian Order Carnivora. Indeed, the only competing explanation for the order we all see in the biological world, this pattern of nested similarity that links up absolutely all known forms of life, is the notion of Special Creation: that a supernatural Creator, using a sort of blueprint, simply fashioned life with its intricate skein of resemblances passing through it. And, of course, it was precisely this notion of divine Creation that furnished the explanation for all life-its very existence, its exuberant diversity and its apparent order-in Darwin's day. A naturalistic, materialistic account, one that saw present life as a product of a long history of natural rather than divine processes, was a truly radical and rather heavy notion. By the end of the 1830s, Darwin had already come up with a personally satisfying theory of how evolution occurs." (Eldredge, N., "Time Frames: The Rethinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1985, pp.28-29) 17/05/2007 "Living on the earth today there are countless millions of different species of plants, animals and microorganisms. How has this multitude of species come into existence? Until the 1800s it was widely believed that each species was individually created by God. This is known as special creation and it is still the belief of the members of some present day religious groups ... . The theory of evolution through natural selection was put forward independently by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in 1858. However, it is Charles Darwin's name that is usually associated with this theory because of the massive amount of supporting evidence he collected. Charles Darwin, greatly influenced by his father, first studied medicine, then law, and finally theology. In the first two fields he showed little talent and withdrew, but in the last he found success and gained a degree in divinity. However, the student life was not the one he enjoyed. Darwin was a keen sportsman and amateur naturalist, and he read widely, especially books on the current evolutionary ideas. At the time of his graduation in 1831, when it appeared he was all set for a life as a clergyman, he received an invitation to join a surveying expedition as its naturalist. This invitation came about through friends at Cambridge University, and was destined to change Darwin's life. From December 1831 to October 1836 he voyaged on HMS Beagle, visiting, among other places, the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand and Australia ... . This voyage, and the material he collected, was to be the preparation for all his later work. The Galapagos Islands were especially important for his work. On these islands he was able to observe the differences and similarities in form between geographically separated animals-those living on the mainland of South America, and those on the various islands-and between animals separated by time- animals recently extinct and species then alive. Both these observations led Darwin to question the current ideas on the fixity of the species-that living species had always been exactly the same as they then appeared. He was convinced that species did change and were not fixed by a Creator. But how did the changes take place?" (Newton, T.J. & Joyce, A.P., "Human Perspectives, Book 2," , McGraw-Hill Book Co: Sydney NSW, Australia, Third edition, 1995, Reprinted, 1997, p.48. Emphasis original) 17/05/2007 "Most of the world's religions include the concept of God as the creator of the universe and of life on earth. The Jewish and Christian idea of God as creator is described in the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, where there is a beautiful account of the creation of the earth and its life forms. Christians believe that the Bible is the word of God and for some groups this has led to the belief that the Bible is literally true in every detail. For these groups the account in Genesis is a description of the actual events of creation. Other Christians see the Bible story of creation as symbolic: a story written to explain the origins of life to people lacking the scientific background that we have today. Almost all biological scientists accept the theory of evolution as fact and you can see from the material presented in this book that there is a wealth of evidence to support the theory. There are also many scientists, including many eminent biologists, who have strong religious convictions. Such people do not find the symbolic interpretation of the creation to be incompatible with biological evolution. Nor should the idea that humans evolved from more primitive forms of life diminish the uniqueness of the human species or the achievements of human civilisations. Science does not have the answer to every question; it has limitations as explained in Chapter 1. Questions like `What is life?', `When did life begin?', `How?' and `Where?' are questions that can be investigated scientifically, Questions relating to the meaning of life, ', such as `Why?' or `What for?', are beyond the scope of scientific investigation. It is the task of each of us to ponder and perhaps eventually arrive at our own answers to these questions. The important thing to remember is that acceptance of the theory of evolution does not preclude a belief and faith in God." (Newton, T.J. & Joyce, A.P., "Human Perspectives, Book 2," , McGraw-Hill Book Co: Sydney NSW, Australia, Third edition, 1995, Reprinted, 1997, p.66) 17/05/2007 "According to all four Gospels the sequence of events at the end of the life of Jesus appears to have been as follows in terms of days of the week: Thursday evening, the last supper; Friday, the crucifixion; Saturday, the day of rest; Sunday, the resurrection. According to the Johannine representation, with which we think the Synoptic is reconcilable, the last meal of Jesus and the disciples took place on the evening before the evening of the passover meal as celebrated by official Judaism, and the death of Jesus took place on the same day as the slaying of the passover lambs in official Jerusalem practice, namely on the fourteenth day of Nisan, a calendar date which in that year fell on a Friday. Given these two facts, that the crucifixion was on Nisan 14 and on a Friday, it is possible by astronomical and calendrical calculation to determine the years, within the probable range of years in question, in which the Jewish calendar date of Nisan 14 would fall on the day of the week which we call Friday. The result of this investigation ... is that the two dates which are possible, astronomically and calendrically, for the crucifixion are: Friday Apr 7, A.D. 30, and Friday Apr 3, A.D. 33.... The data summarized in the preceding paragraphs are capable of being incorporated in three different chronological schemes of the life of Jesus ... Of the three the first makes it possible to take Lk 3:23 in the most exact sense of the words `about thirty' and to take Jn 2:20 in what may be the most natural sense of these words as counting forty-six years from the time when Herod began the rebuilding of the Temple in 19/18 B.C. ... All together it appears that some preference may be given to the first chronological scheme of the life of Jesus." (Finegan, J.*, "Handbook of Biblical Chronology: Principles of Time Reckoning in the Ancient World and Problems of Chronology in the Bible," Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1964, pp.299-300. References omitted) 17/05/2007 "After relating these things concerning John, Josephus in the same work, also makes mention of our Saviour in the following manner: `About the same time, there was a certain Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it is proper to call him a man. For he was a performer of extraordinary deeds; a teacher of men, that received his doctrine with delight; and he attached to himself many of the Jews, many also of the Greeks. This was Christ. Pilate having inflicted the punishment of the cross upon him, on the accusation of our principal men, those who had been attached to him before did not, however, afterwards cease to love him: for he appeared to them alive again on the third day, according to the holy prophets, who had declared these and innumerable other wonderful things respecting him. The race of the Christians, who derive their name from him, likewise still continues.'" (Eusebius*, "The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus," Cruse, C.F., transl., , Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1966, Fourth printing, p.42) 22/05/2007 "Evolutionary processes are anamorphic, or complexity-generating. The passage of evolutionary time is accompanied by the emergence of structures having progressively greater morphological and functional complexity. But the essential nature of evolutionary anamorphosis remains enigmatic. It has not been successfully derived from or identified with more fundamental physicochemical laws, particularly those of thermodynamics; nor has it been adequately explained at its own phenomenological level by current evolutionary theory. Neo-Darwinism in particular seems to have enormous difficulty in accounting for this fundamental feature of evolutionary process." (Wicken, J.S., "The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion," Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 77, April 1979, pp.349-365, p.349. Emphasis original) 22/05/2007 "In the traditional neo-Darwinian scheme, evolution is conceived to proceed upward along a kind of `fitness gradient', with ever more viable structures resulting from the competition among different genotypic populations for scarce resources. But this concept of evolutionary fitness has been quite hard to specify in a non-tautologous way. It has been extremely difficult, within the neo-Darwinian conceptual framework, to identify an objective, measurable parameter related to fitness that increases during evolution in the same unambiguous way that entropy increases in ordinary physicochemical process (Waddington, 1969). Although complexity tends to increase during evolution, the relationship between complexity and fitness is highly problematic (Maynard Smith, 1969). It is certainly not clear that complexity contributes to fitness- in any direct way. If anything, one might expect the elaboration of complexity per se to be maladaptive. As a system becomes more complex, its stability becomes progressively more contingent on the occurrence of specific, non-random connections among its parts (Gardner & Ashby, 1970; Saunders & Ho, 1976). The elaboration of complexity requires a supporting growth of functional organization just to maintain a given level of systemic viability. It is therefore difficult to justify anamorphosis purely on the basis of its contribution to fitness. Clearly, another approach must be taken." (Wicken, J.S., "The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion," Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 77, April 1979, pp.349-365, pp.349-350) 22/05/2007 "Saunders & Ho (1976) have argued that complexity tends naturally to increase during evolutionary process, in analogy with entropy in ordinary physicochemical process. Briefly, their argument is as follows: Random mutations can lead to either increases or decreases in complexity. For systems that are already functionally organized with respect to their environment, it is very unlikely that either kind of mutation will enhance viability. Nevertheless, it is possible for the random addition of components to increase the fitness of a given functionally organized system, or at least provide the raw material in which fitness increases can eventually be induced by further modifications. Thus, while anamorphosis is not directly mandated by fitness considerations, it at least provides the structural possibilities for future increases in fitness. On the other hand, random reductions in the complexity of a functionally organized system will almost necessarily lead to immediate reductions in its fitness. In the long run, therefore, random change will favor anamorphosis : this is the only direction in which evolution can proceed. This argument seems essentially correct, as far as it goes. But its scope is nevertheless seriously limited by its adherence to neo- Darwinian principles." (Wicken, J.S., "The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion," Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 77, April 1979, pp.349-365, p.350) 22/05/2007 "According to this argument, anamorphosis depends on the prior existence of systems that are already functionally organized with respect to interaction with their environment. But where do these systems come from? Bertalanffy (1972) has argued that the very operation of natural selection presupposes the existence of populations of organized systems already behaving competitively with respect to their environment. Although this particular assertion might be contested, the point remains that neo-Darwinism does not address the prebiotic sources of functional organization and complexity. Neo-Darwinian explanations are innately disposed to a kind of `chicken-and-egg/ conundrum regarding the origin and development of these parameters, because they make no real contact with the fundamental laws of physics and chemistry that underlie evolutionary process. To stipulate functional organization as a necessary condition for evolutionary anamorphosis is to profoundly beg the question of `origins'. Any comprehensive evolutionary theory must address the central question that neo-Darwinism avoids: What are the chemical sources of complexity and functional organization, and what principles are involved in its elaboration? In particular, is there an "anamorphic" force operating in nature that underlies the evolutionary generation of complexity and organization, including the transition from chemical to biological systems? In the absence of a reasonable theory for this development, the origin of life must be regarded as an event of miraculous proportions, unlikely to be repeated elsewhere in the universe even under the most salubrious of circumstances. This kind of conclusion goes deeply against science's reductivist grain." (Wicken, J.S., "The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion," Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 77, April 1979, pp.349-365, pp.350-351) 22/05/2007 "Evolution proceeds by elaboration and selection, rather than according to purpose (internal or transcendental). The great accomplishment of neo-Darwinism is in providing a mechanistic explanation for evolution in terms of elaboration and selection by means of a generative principle (random mutation of genotype) and an evaluative principle (natural selection of phenotype). The centrality of these two principles to evolution cannot be denied. Nevertheless, their scope and explanatory power are seriously limited by their lack of clear theoretical connection with more fundamental physicochemical laws. For evolutionary anamorphosis to be understood, these principles must be expanded and reconstituted with physicochemical theory, especially from thermodynamics. As we have seen, the concept of evolutionary fitness remains enigmatic because one cannot say what precisely natural selection selects." (Wicken, J.S., "The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion," Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 77, April 1979, pp.349-365, p.351) 22/05/2007 "In spite of these conceptual problems connected with natural selection as , an evaluative principle, the most serious deficiencies in neo-Darwinism relate to its generative aspect. As a generative principle, providing the raw material for natural selection, random mutation is inadequate both in scope and theoretical grounding. It provides little insight into the creative, anamorphic character of evolution or into the problem of "origins" alluded to previously." (Wicken, J.S., "The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion," Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 77, April 1979, pp.349-365, pp.351-352. Emphasis original) 24/05/2007 "Advocates of the literal-day theory have often pointed to the sanction of Exodus 20:11 for confirmation of the literalness of the days. In confirming the sanctity of the sabbath, Jehovah states: `For in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth...and rested on the seventh day.' But this does not necessarily presuppose literal, twenty-four-hour days, for, the seventh day is explicitly hallowed in terms of the completion of the work of creation. For this purpose of memorial observance, the only possible way in which the seventh age (the age of completion, according to the age-day theory) could be hallowed would be a literal seventh day of a seven-day week. It would certainly be impractical to devote an entire geologic age to the commemoration of a geologic age!" (Archer, G.L.*, "A Survey of Old Testament Introduction," , Moody Press: Chicago IL, 1966, Third printing, p.178) 24/05/2007 "The Sabbath day for man and Sabbath year for the land are analogous to God's work week. God's fourth commandment says that the seventh day of each week is to be honored as holy, `For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth...but he rested on the seventh day' (Exodus 20:10-11). This passage is often cited as proof positive for the twenty-four-hour-day interpretation. Evangelical Hebrew scholar Gleason Archer disagrees: `By no means does this demonstrate that 24-hour intervals were involved in the first six "days," any more than the eight-day celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles proves that the wilderness wanderings under Moses occupied only eight days.' [Archer, G.L., "A Response to the Trustworthiness of Scripture in Areas Relating to Natural Science," in Radmacher, E.D. & Preus, R.D., "Hermeneutics, Inerrancy, and the Bible," Academie Books, Grand Rapids MI, 1986, p.329] Sometimes the Sabbath is a full year (cf. Leviticus 25:4). The biological cycle for human beings dictates a twenty- four-hour rest period, for agricultural land, a twelve-month rest period. Since God is not subject to biological cycles, His rest period is completely flexible. Clearly, the emphasis in Exodus 20 is on the pattern of one out of seven, not the literal duration of the days of creation. Just as the high priests of Israel served `at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven' (Hebrews 8:5), the days demarked by the rotation of the earth are copies and shadows of the days distinguished by God in the Genesis creation record. The human and the temporal always are copies and shadows of the divine and the eternal, not vice versa. The seven days of our calendar week simply follow the pattern established by God. God's `work week' gives us a human-like picture we can grasp. This communication tool is common in the Bible. Scripture frequently speaks of God's hand, His eyes, His arm, even His wings. The context of each of these passages makes it obvious that none of these descriptions is meant to be taken concretely. Rather, each word presents a picture to help us understand spiritual reality about God and His relationship to us." (Ross, H.N.*, "Creation and Time: A Biblical and Scientific Perspective on the Creation-Date Controversy," NavPress: Colorado Springs CO, 1994, pp.59-60. Emphasis original) 24/05/2007 "Challenge 5: Distant clocks run at faster rates. Reply: This challenge seems to have superseded all others in popularity as a rebuttal to the astronomical evidence for an old universe. One reason for its notoriety is that so few understand its complexities. Because of these intricacies, this reply will be lengthier than the others. In 1994 applied physicist and young-universe creationist Russell Humphreys published Starlight and Time, in which he proposed that Earth is located at the geographical center of a bounded universe (a universe with finite spatial limits). He described this bounded universe as a collapsing black hole that became an expanding white hole (the aftermath of a black hole so collapsed that all its trapped energy begins to escape via quantum tunneling). Humphreys used Stephen Hawking's popular-level treatment of general relativity (specifically, his discussion of gravitational time dilation) to infer that with Earth at the hole's center Earth clocks would be static or run very slowly relative to clocks in distant parts of the universe. As Humphreys elaborated, an observer on Earth would see billions of years elapsing on clocks in distant parts of the universe while only 144 hours elapse on Earth or in Earth's vicinity. [Humphreys, D.R., "Starlight and Time," Master Books, Green Forest AR, 1994, pp.27-28] (Later alterations made by Humphreys to his initial models still retain this fundamental feature.) Humphreys' attempts to build cosmic models wherein distant clocks run much more rapidly than Earth clocks seemed promising at first, but it ultimately failed several tests of plausibility. As experts in general relativity have pointed out, Humphreys' cosmic model and its subsequent revisions simply do not yield the required gravitational time dilation. When Humphreys' mathematical errors are corrected, his model becomes a big bang model consistent with a cosmic creation date billions of years ago." (Ross, H.N.*, "A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy," NavPress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, pp.166-167. Emphasis original) 24/05/2007 "Humphreys' cosmic model, in which a black hole becomes a white hole, looks like this: an initial `ball of liquid water ... two light-years in diameter [that contains] ... all the mass of the universe' [Humphreys, D.R., "Starlight and Time," Master Books, Green Forest AR, 1994, p.32] became a black hole, then in a relatively brief period (a few thousand years) `evaporated' to become a white hole, an explosion of energy and particles radiating outward. Such a scenario violates nearly every law of physics God established for the cosmos. First, a ball of liquid water two light-years in diameter is physically impossible. (The gravity at its core would generate so much heat and pressure as to ignite nuclear fusion long before a ball of water that big could be assembled.) Second, the evaporation time of Humphreys' `hole' would be orders of magnitude greater than the 14-billion-year-age astronomers measure for the universe. Even the tiniest black hole that the laws of physics permits (roughly equal to the mass of Mount Everest) would take about 15 billion years to become a white hole. Black holes as small as the smallest ones astronomers actually observe (a few times the mass of the Sun) would require 1066 years (a million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years) to become white holes. A black hole as massive as the observable universe needs orders of magnitude longer than 1066 years to turn into a white hole." (Ross, H.N.*, "A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy," NavPress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, p.167) 24/05/2007 "Another problem for Humphreys' model is that astronomers observe `clocks' all over the universe, both near and far, running at nearly the same rate. For example, the light cycle times of Cepheid variable stars, nova and supernova eruption times, gamma-ray bursts, star formation times, stellar burning rates, and galaxy rotation periods measure nearly the same in our galaxy as in distant galaxies. I say `nearly' the same because astronomers do see the relativistic velocity dilation effect (on time) predicted by big bang cosmology. Specifically, they observe that supernovae located several billion light-years away appear to take about 10 percent more time to proceed through their eruption phases (maximum to minimum light). Astronomers also see relativistic velocity time dilation (stretching) at about the 10 to 30 percent level for distant gamma-ray burst sources. By comparison, Humphreys' models predict a relativistic gravitational time compression that would cause the same supernovae to manifest eruption light curves 100,000,000 percent briefer. Astronomers see no time dilation for Cepheid variables, novae, star histories, or galaxy rotation rates. These clocks are too faint to be seen at the great distances where the velocity time-dilation effect can be detected. (In a big bang universe, only objects at great distances would move away from us at velocities equal to a significant fraction of light's velocity.) If correct about time compression, Humphreys' models predict that astronomers would see Cepheid star variations, novae, galaxy rotations, and stellar burning occurring up to 500,000 percent faster than the rates they actually observe." (Ross, H.N.*, "A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy," NavPress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, pp.167-168. Emphasis original) 24/05/2007 "Humphreys' models also predict that astronomers will measure the solar system to be much younger (only thousands of years old because of slower running clocks) than distant stars and galaxies (billions of years old because of faster running clocks). However, Earth, the Sun, the Moon, and other solar system bodies show evidence of billions of years of natural history. None of the short-lived radiometric elements remain on or in solar system bodies. Most of the Moon's craters reveal 4 billion years' worth of erosion. The asteroid belts show billions of years of dynamic aging. The Sun has all the characteristics of a star that has been burning for 4.5 billion years. Recently, a new solar age determination method based on helioseismic data showed the Sun to be 4.57 ± 0.11 billion years old, an age consistent with all other dating methods. The universe measures hotter the farther away (thus, earlier in time) that astronomers look. The rate at which the universe has cooled is consistent not with clocks throughout the universe running at the rates that Humphreys proposes but rather with a big bang universe nearly 14 billion years old." (Ross, H.N.*, "A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy," NavPress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, p.168) 24/05/2007 "In proposing that the cosmos has expanded in just thousands rather than billions of years, Humphreys also crashes into the observed invariance of galaxy redshifts. Over the past 80 years, astronomers have repeated redshift measurements on thousands of galaxies. These measurements have been made at various intervals, from a few years to several decades. In all cases, the differences between the original redshift measurements and the repeated ones lie below the detection limits of astronomers' instruments. Since these limits are so small, down in the fourth and fifth decimal place, no room exists for Humphreys' hyperaccelerated cosmic expansion. (Eighty years of cosmic expansion would account for 0.08 percent of all cosmic expansion in a 10,000-year-old universe, but only 0.00000006 percent in a 14-billion-year-old universe.) This conclusion stands whether the cosmic expansion is smooth or occurs in discontinuous jumps." (Ross, H.N.*, "A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy," NavPress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, pp.168-169. Emphasis original) 30/05/2007 "Is there anything in the discoveries of science that would suggest the earth to be as young as 10,000 years? It must be remembered that the world-wide Flood would have produced such drastic changes in the earth as to make dating any earlier than this extremely difficult. Nevertheless, there are many indications that the world is not nearly so old as evolutionists claim, and some of them are listed below. ... The earth's magnetic field The earth behaves as though it were a giant magnet, creating a magnetic field around it. It is now known that the strength of this magnetic field is decaying rapidly. By strict uniformitarian thinking, this must mean that the earth as we know it is young, for it means that only 8,000 years ago the earth's magnetic strength would equal that of a magnetic star, a most unlikely occurrence; while a million years ago it would have been impossibly high. Further, if (as some believe) the magnetic field is caused by circulating electric currents in the earth's core, then the heat generated by the stronger currents of only 20,000 years ago would have dissolved the earth." (Baker, S.*, "Bone of Contention," , Evangelical Press: Welwyn UK, 1986, Second edition, p.25. Emphasis original) 30/05/2007 "Meteoritic dust Did you know that your garden is being showered daily with meteoritic dust in sufficient quantities to be measured? Scientists disagree about the exact amount that is falling, but it is accepted that thousands, and possibly millions, of tons of dust settle to the earth each year. Had this been going on for 5,000 million years, large deposits should be found on the earth. Such deposits do not exist. This seems to indicate a very young age for the oceans. Taking the amount of nickel in the oceans and using the rate at which nickel is being added to the water from meteoritic material, the length of time of accumulation turns out to be several thousand years, not millions. N.A.S.A. scientists in America were worried that a lunar ship arriving on the moon would sink into the vast amounts of dust that should have accumulated in the millions of years of the moon's assumed age. In fact, a centimetre or two of dust was found, suggesting a young age for the moon." (Baker, S.*, "Bone of Contention," , Evangelical Press: Welwyn UK, 1986, Second Edition, p.25. Emphasis original) 30/05/2007 "Atmospheric helium Helium is continuously being formed by the disintegration of uranium or thorium in the earth's crust. However, there is not nearly enough helium in the atmosphere to correspond to the supposed age of the earth and the rate of escape of helium from the rocks. It has been calculated that the absolute maximum age of the earth on the basis of helium production would be twenty-six million years. This calculation assumed no helium in the atmosphere to start with, of which there is no proof. Scientists try to get round this problem by assuming that helium is overcoming gravity and escaping from the atmosphere, but there is no evidence that anything of this kind is happening." (Baker, S.*, "Bone of Contention," , Evangelical Press: Welwyn UK, 1986, Second edition, pp.25-26. Emphasis original) 30/05/2007 "Salt in the sea Salt is continually being washed into the sea. It has been calculated that, even allowing for the formation of rock salt by evaporation and making the unlikely assumption that no salt was there in the first place, an absolute maximum of 200 million years would give the amount now found. Again, this is far short of the 1,000 million years required by evolution. The Christian, of course, believes that God would have created the sea with the correct content of salt needed to support the marine life he intended it to contain." (Baker, S.*, "Bone of Contention," , Evangelical Press: Welwyn UK, 1986, Second edition, p.25. Emphasis original) 30/05/2007 "These lines of evidence show that the earth is very much younger than the 4,500 million years claimed by the evolutionist. The fact that the dates they provide still sometimes run into millions of years should not worry the Christian; as we have shown, they all depend on assuming that processes have been constant in the past and on unprovable assumptions concerning the original state of the earth. These processes, however, have not always been constant, and the Flood was a major catastrophe during which substantial physical changes happened very rapidly. Moreover, the earth - created complete and perfect by God - would after six days of existence already have achieved the form that the evolutionist imagines it would have acquired very gradually." (Baker, S.*, "Bone of Contention," , Evangelical Press: Welwyn UK, 1986, Second edition, pp.25-26. Emphasis original) 31/05/2007 "THERE ARE TWO MAIN THEORIES FOR THE origin of life on Earth: the `pioneer metabolic theory' (a hot, volcanic origin) and the `prebiotic soup theory' (a cold, oceanic origin). In their Report `α-hydroxy and α- amino acids under possible Hadean, volcanic origin-of-life conditions' (27 Oct. 2006, p. 630), C. Huber and G. Wächtershäuser describe prebiotic synthesis experiments that are claimed to `narrow the gap between biochemistry and volcanic geochemistry.' However, no plausible geological environment could maintain the cited conditions of 0.1 to 0.2 M KCN at 100°C. As noted by Schwartz, in the `exceedingly improbable' case that all of Hadean Earth's nitrogen was converted to cyanide and dissolved in the oceans, a 0.2 M cyanide solution could be produced. Such high concentrations of cyanide in volcanic solutions would rapidly hydrolyze at 100°C (t1/2~ 10 hours at pH 12) to formamide, which then quickly hydrolyzes to ammonia and formate. Huber and Wächtershäuser suggest that Ni/Fe-cyanide precipitates would have stabilized the cyanide, but robust sources of cyanide would be needed to produce a steady-state concentration of 0.1 to 0.2 M KCN at 100°C. No such robust sources are known. The proposed 75 bars CO in volcanic solutions is also implausible, based on outgassing models using ordinary chondritic material. Nor are such elevated CO pressures necessary; previous experiments have demonstrated that a rich assortment of prebiotic organic compounds can be synthesized using a variety of energy sources from a modest ~1 bar CO/N2 atmosphere ... The compounds generated by Huber and Wächtershäuser, as well as their relative abundance, are remarkably similar to those generated previously in the `prebiotic broth' experiments they disparage. They claim that the lack of tar formation (from cyanide polymerization) makes their results distinct from earlier experiments, but this difference is easily explained by the reaction of cyanide with formaldehyde, produced by metal-catalyzed reduction reactions of formate (generated in this case by cyanide hydrolysis and the direct hydration of CO). As for their experiment 14, wherein they claim that no products were detected, we suspect that if they had acid hydrolyzed the final solution, several products would have been identified. Finally, the results reported by Huber and Wächtershäuser are easily accommodated within the framework of an updated prebiotic soup heterotrophic theory in which pyrite and other metal sulfides are recognized as an important source of electrons for the reduction of organic compounds. In such a model, mineral surfaces have the potential to select, concentrate, and organize these molecules." (Bada, J.L., et al., "Debating Evidence for the Origin of Life on Earth," Science, Vol. 315, 16 February 2007, p.937. References omitted. Emphasis original) 31/05/2007 "THERE ARE TWO MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE THEORIES on the origin of life. The `pioneer organism theory' claims a momentary, mechanistically definite origin by autocatalytic carbon fixation within a hot, volcanic flow in contact with transition metal catalysts. The `prebiotic soup theory' claims a protracted, mechanistically obscure self-organization in a cold, primitive ocean, in which organic compounds accumulated over thousands or millions of years. The experiments under discussion have been designed to test the pioneer organism theory, and all experimental parameters have been chosen within this framework. The criticism presented by Bada et al. is made from the perspective of the prebiotic soup theory. In agreement with the pioneer organism theory, we used Ni2 or Fe2 for catalytic purposes. These transition metals form extremely stable cyano complexes, which are similar to those found in volcanic field studies. This means that practically all cyanide ions become fixed as cyano ligands, with the effect that the concentration of dissolved free cyanide ions in the water phase is extremely low due to the high stability of the cyano complexes. It is a well-established fact of coordination chemistry that cyanide ions and cyano ligands have fundamentally different chemical properties. Bada et al., however, seem to ignore this difference. They appear to work from the experience of previous prebiotic soup experiments with dissolved free cyanide, which did not yield products unless the cyanide concentration in water was sufficiently high. Therefore, this criticism is pointless. We used 1 bar CO (Table 1, run 1), and we discussed at length that such CO pressure is in agreement with the volcanic setting of the pioneer organism theory. In other runs, we used 10 or 75 bar CO to shorten the reaction time. It is a well-established practice to expedite reactions by increasing a parameter such as pressure. Therefore, the criticism of our use of 75 bar CO is pointless. We note that our use of 1 bar CO was not criticized. Therefore, the above two points of geochemical criticism do not cast a reasonable doubt on the ability of our reactions to have taken place within a volcanic, hydrothermal flow system of early Earth. We note that our critics differ from us as to the fate of reaction products we have found. From the point of view of the pioneer organism theory, we see our reaction products, e.g., α-hydroxy acids or α-amino acids [or peptides arising therefrom], as exhibiting positive autocatalytic feedback in situ by providing transition metal ligands for ligand-accelerated catalysis of carbon fixation pathways, which constitutes evolvable reproduction. Reaction products that spill out into vast expanses of the ocean lose all chemical potential by dilution and are irreversibly lost for the origin of the pioneer organism. From the point of view of the prebiotic soup theory, our critics see our reaction products as entering the primitive ocean to become additional ingredients of the prebiotic soup, wherein after some thousand or million years, and under all manner of diverse influences, the magic of self- organization is believed to have somehow generated an unspecified first form of life. The two theories are categorically different from the perspective of experimental science. The prebiotic soup theory is restricted to the testing of individual aspects of a long, protracted overall process. The pioneer organism, by contrast, is expected to be experimentally realizable in toto." (Wächtershäuser, G. & Huber, C., "Debating Evidence for the Origin of Life on Earth," Science, Vol. 315, 16 February 2007, pp.938-939. References omitted. Emphasis original)
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists. However, lack of an asterisk
does not necessarily mean that an author is an evolutionist.
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Created: 23 December, 2006. Updated: 4 April, 2010.