Probability

Can Nature Perform the Same Miracle MultipleTimes? Problems with Convergent Evolution

January, 2017

While I was studying chemistry in graduate school at the University of Texas, I befriended a physics graduate student, who was studying echolocation in bats in the hopes that the research might result in helpful technologies for blind people. One day he invited me to his lab to watch as he fed the bats. We entered a small room where dozens of bats eagerly waited for a dinner of yellow grub worms. Many of the bats were hanging from the ceiling but others were flying around us yet never touching us. I looked at one bat on the ceiling as he looked down at us. His mouth was open and his lips quivered as he rapidly rotated his head round and round. I was fascinated. The bat was using his echolocation capability, akin to sonar, to map out the environment. Bats would drop from the ceiling and fly around us then go for the food. My friend’s research revealed that different parts of the bat’s brain were activated depending on the frequency and direction of sound received.

Materialism and Abiogenesis

March, 2016

By Bdna.gif: Spiffistan derivative work: Jahobr (Bdna.gif) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The TASC newsletter article Fossils examined the fossil record as evidence in support of the theory of evolution.1 The conclusion of that article, as well as of several evolutionists themselves, was that the fossil record did not provide evidence to support the theory of evolution. We might think, "Well, that doesn't matter, since evolution is so strongly supported by the genetic evidence." However, is it really? Let's look and see. We will look primarily at the genetic evidence. 

Is abiogenesis irrelevant?

The idea of life arising from non-life is known as abiogenesis. It might be argued that abiogenesis is not evolution and thus is irrelevant in a discussion of evolution. The line of reasoning is that evolution deals with how life evolves from pre-existing life via natural selection, or how more complex life arises from simpler life, which does not involve the origin of life. This is still life giving rise to more complex life, not life arising from non-life. Therefore, the argument goes, the question of how life arose from non-life is not part of evolution, and is therefore excluded from any discussion of evolution as not being relevant.

Creation Ministries Creation 2015 International Superconference

October, 2015

Dr. Dan Reynolds attended the recent Creation Superconference held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina July 13-17. Dr. Reynolds has provided us a summary of each of the sessions at the conference.

My wife, Cassie, and I recently spent a week in Myrtle Beach where I attended 19 of 20 talks on creation and related topics given at the Creation Ministry International (CMI) Creation 2015 Family Superconference. Cassie, while supporting my interest in creation, only attended one session and spent the rest of her time sewing on her portable sewing machine in our hotel room! The conference was held at the Springmaid Beach Resort located right next to the ocean. The accommodations, food, and staff were excellent. Mornings and evenings were filled with talks while afternoons had options for free time, a tour of a nearby aquarium with Dr. Robert Carter of CMI, or playing chess with Jonathan Sarfati, former chess champion of New Zealand. And as usual, there was an extensive bookstore offering hundreds of books and videos, often at reduced prices. I came home with a couple of bags full!

Evolution - a Proven Fact?

November, 2011

... there is about the fact of evolution no doubt at all. Evolution is a fact, as securely established as any in science, ...1

Is this actually true? You may have read, or heard, such claims about evolution: that it is a fact, that it is proven beyond doubt, and perhaps even that anyone who questions the truth of evolution is either uneducated, ignorant, deluded, or perhaps just not that bright.

Yet, it seems there should be a place in science where it is OK to question accepted beliefs and, while not rejecting them “out-of-hand” with no reason, to subject them to the standard of proof. In other words, there ought not to be any “sacred cows” allowed in science. Facts ought to take precedence over theories. Ideally, this might be the case. In reality, at least in history, it seems to have not always been the case.

Review of the Book Signature in the Cell by Stephen C. Meyer

January, 2010

Stephen C. Meyer Stephen C. Meyer

Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design
1 by Stephen C. Meyer is the latest book from a major proponent for intelligent design (ID).2 Signature is Meyer’s magnum opus. Meyer is the director of the Discovery Institute’s (www.discovery.org) Center for Science and Culture, the flagship organization for the ID movement. He is a trained geologist and has a Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Science from Cambridge. 3 Signature is written at a level accessible to the layman but also informative to the specialist in biochemistry. The book is a history of Meyer’s interest and involvement with ID. The main focus of the book is the origin of the informational code in DNA, especially as it relates to the origin of life. The book discusses several topics including the history of the discovery of the structure of DNA, the cracking of the DNA code, the history and status of origin of life theories (especially the RNA world), basic information theory, various scientific methodologies and modes of thought and why ID is scientific, historical sciences, detecting design, why ID is the best explanation for the origin of the information in DNA, and responses to ID critics. This review will touch upon some of the book’s highlights.

Evolution and Evidence

September, 2005

I once heard a radio show host ask a caller, if it could be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Bible wasn't true and that Jesus wasn't who he claimed he was, if the caller would be willing to accept that information. I remember thinking that I would like to ask the host the same question, turned around, if it could be proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Jesus really was who he claimed to be, would you accept that? Are we willing to believe the evidence? Or do we resist truth or new ideas because of preconceived notions, traditions, or dogma? I see no problem with evidence and the truth. It certainly beats lies.

One area in which claims and counterclaims concerning evidence have been made is the area of origins. Origins deals with evolution and the creation of the universe. Let's look into this area.

One problem with the fossil record is that the many required forms between reptiles and birds predicted by the theory of evolution are missing from the fossil record.

Irreducible Complexity

Let us think about what is necessary for birds to fly. Feathers and wings and hollow bones all work together to help birds fly. Often many parts or systems work together in such a way that the total effect is one that could not exist if any of the pieces or parts was missing. This is known as "Irreducible Complexity".

A Response to Selected Arguments in Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion

June, 2007

Well-known atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins authored the now best selling book The God Delusion which was published last year.1 This is just one of several recent popular science books by atheists to hit bookstores in the last few months. This essay will discuss selected scientific and philosophical arguments made in the Delusion.

Image

Richard Dawkins

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