THE WORLD TODAY SERIES #9

EVOLUTION PART FOUR

Beyond Evolution – the Anthropic Principle

As Dr. Chuck Missler noted in his book Cosmic Codes, scientists involved in the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Program base their optimistic interest on the Green Bank Formula initially proposed by Dr. Frank Drake, a first attempt at estimating the number of habitable planets like Earth that may exist elsewhere among the hundred thousand million stars in our Milky Way galaxy. This formula includes factors such as the rate of formation of new stars, the fraction of stars having planetary systems, the fraction of planetary systems possessing habitable planets, and so on. In the process of evaluating these parameters, however, the scientists have arrived at what is to them the somewhat unwelcome knowledge that many of the physical constants of the universe are so fragile with respect to the precision of their life-supporting numerical values that it is indeed miraculous that there is even one planet in the entire universe that is capable of supporting the life we find here on Earth.

The anthropic principle, briefly stated, is the observation that the specific values of many of the physical constants in our universe, such as the strength of gravitational attraction, must be precisely those values within a very narrow range; otherwise, life wouldn’t exist.

In his contribution “The ‘Just So’ Universe to the book Signs of Intelligence edited by William Dembski and James Kushiner, Dr. Walter Bradley lists the following physical constants whose values are critical to life as we know it, and quite possibly life, period: under the heading of “Universal Constants” are Boltzmann’s constant, Planck’s constant, the speed of light, and the gravitational constant; under the heading of “Mass of Elementary Particles” are the rest mass/energies of pions, neutrons, protons and electrons, the unit charge of an electron and proton, and the mass-to-energy relation; and under the heading of “Fine Structure Constants” are the fine structure constants for gravitation, strong interaction, weak interaction, and electromagnetism.

Dr. Bradley offers the abundance of the carbon atom in nature as an example of the criticality of the value of some essential parameters. This abundance which is so necessary to life, he asserts, results from the precise balancing of the strong force and the electromagnetic force, which gives rise to carbon’s spectacular property of forming the patterns so critical to life processes. Other parameters permit the very existence of some chemicals necessary for life only by virtue of the values that they possess.

As one easily can imagine, evolutionists are not happy with the anthropic principle. Their claims of its invalidity include the assertion that it involves circular reasoning, or using the conclusion as a premise, something that they themselves are guilty of doing in their construction of the “Standard Geologic Column”. Regarding the anthropic presuppositions to which they point, perhaps their favorite is that all life, like ours, must be carbon-based. Of course, there’s a very good reason why life is so dependent on carbon, which is that carbon is unique among the elements as a base for rings and long-chain molecules. Another supposed presupposition is that the universe is singular, whereas, as they point out, there may be multiple alternative universes, maybe even an infinite number of them. That kind of wild and unsupported speculation belongs in the sci-fi genre.

Despite its detractors, many of the physical constants associated with the anthropic principle do give the appearance of having intelligent origins. For example, it has been pointed out that the essential component of life, DNA, couldn’t exist without at least four physical constants possessing the precise values they have, within a few percent. These constants are the speed of light, Planck’s constant, the gravitational constant, and the charge of an electron. Regarding astrophysical parameters, two critical ones whose values are beneficial to life are the cosmic expansion rate and the cosmic density parameter.

What Scripture has to say about Evolution

I attribute the following passage of what Paul had to say in Chapter 6 of his first letter to Timothy specifically to the false science of evolution:

“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called, which some, professing, have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.”

It is notable that major contributors to the “hard” sciences such as chemistry and physics, those fields of intellectual endeavor whose contributions are testable and have paved the way for the technology that we enjoy today, were committed Christians. Galileo was one such; his superior knowledge of the Bible was what got him into trouble with the pope. Another was Sir Isaac Newton, whose exceptionally brilliant mind conceived the calculus and the fundamentals of physics; he also was a committed Christian who devoted much of his life to the investigation of the Bible. James Clerk Maxwell was another. The list of such contributors to real science is large.

In contrast to the “hard” sciences, the “soft” sciences seem to be dominated by those not committed to Christianity. Such intellectual fields, being untestable, are subject to containing falsehoods and misdirection. It is common knowledge that beneficial insights associated with these “sciences” are acquired independently of the fundamental principles associated with these fields. The high-tech search for oil fields, for example, virtually ignores the fundamental principles of geology, which invoke the circular notion of a mythical “standard geologic column” and an equally misleading “fossil record”. Sometimes it actually happens that the fundamental principles misdirect the researchers, tossing intellectual monkey wrenches into their efforts. This happened in biology, whose current fundamental principles embrace evolution. The discovery of DNA and associated advances in the field of molecular biology were accomplished independently of evolutionary principles. But when biological scientists began to investigate specifics of the DNA code and came upon sections unrelated to the genome (protein-manufacturing subroutines), they invoked evolutionary wisdom to claim that such unknown areas represented “junk DNA”, or obsolete DNA left over from the evolutionary process. Fortunately, some researchers chose to ignore this claim and went on to find valid functions currently useful in sections of what was thought, under the false guidance of evolution, to be a vast wasteland. On the other hand, field work involving searches for the elusive “missing link” between man and ape has indeed been guided by the fundamentals of evolutionary theory. Unfortunately, despite the NatGeo hype, all the results of investigations to date in this field have turned out to be outright frauds. This unsavory truth is well-documented. See, for example, the late Dr. Grant Jeffrey’s book Creation for the whole story and his cited references.

Paul is supported by Peter in his forecast of “sciences” that don’t measure up to that label. In Chapter Three of his second general letter, Peter appears to actually pinpoint evolution and its accompanying notion of uniformitarianism as the target of his warning:

“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you, in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance, that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment to us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior; knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, by which the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

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