Copyright 2005 Rick Harrison
The Logical Shambles of Neo-Darwinian Evolution
A Word on Creation Science Versus Intelligent Design Theory
Mainstream science is presently basing their defense of accidental evolution against intelligent design theory upon a lie: the lie that intelligent design theory is the same thing as Creation Science (6-day biblical creation theory and young Earth theory). One of the many books that repeat this error of equating modern intelligent design theory with biblical creationism is Michael Specter’s Denialism. He dismisses both views out of hand as obviously contrary to science and as if they were both precisely the same theory. This, without venturing to address any of the evidence and logic presented here or the many features that blatantly differentiate one theory from the other.
Nearly all neo-Darwinists repeat the same error, including, notably, Richard Dawkins and Douglas Futuyma. Futuyma addresses biblical creationism exclusively in the appendix to Science on Trial as if it were the only objection neo-Darwinian theory need address, and Dawkins repeats the false identification of the two views in his book, A Devil’s Chaplain:
…I am proposing that you might consider uniting with me (no need to involve others) in signing a short letter…explaining publicly why we do not debate creationists (including the ‘Intelligent Design’ euphemism for creationists) and encouraging other evolutionary biologists to follow suit.
Even Dorian Sagan, writing with Eric D. Schneider in their recent offering Into the Cool, makes the same mistaken equivocation of the two quite different theories. Perhaps the most flagrant instance of this occurs in astrophysicist John Gribbin’s new book, In Search of the Multiverse, at page 195, where, in contravention of decades of explicit definitions to the contrary by modern ID authors, he explicitly redefines “intelligent design” as being 6-day creation theory. Gribbin simply proceeds as if modern intelligent design theory had never occurred!
Once again, we see Dr. Faust’s observation that scientists can be weak on abstract logical skills. One would think that scientists of all people would at least do their homework. This is as flagrant an example of the fallacy of “straw man” as one could ever hope to find: setting up an artificial easy to destroy opponent and ignoring the real one. Since 6-day creation is a much easier theory to rebut on scientific grounds than modern intelligent design theory, the tactic of redefining ID to make it an easier opponent is very much suspect. It smacks a bit too much of a Marxist propaganda technique. Though I stop short of accusing any specific author of intentionally contaminating his or her science with political philosophy, overall that contamination is clearly occurring at least as a subconscious bias unwittingly absorbed from the modern materialistic scientific culture.
Whatever the intentions of the specific authors may be in truth, the two theories, Creation Science (CS) and Intelligent Design (ID) Theory, are vastly different. There is no excuse for those informed on the subject of evolution to confuse these two theories. Nonetheless, neo-Darwinists incessantly represent them to the public as being the same thing.
Let’s be clear. ID has only one tenet: that life could only have arisen with the aid of intelligent design. That’s it. ID, like gravity, is a supremely simple theory. Things fall down, not up; ultra-complex machines require intelligent design. ID says nothing about God or the Bible. ID says nothing about a young Earth. ID says or implies nothing outside of science. The source of the intelligence in ID theory does not have to be God or anything supernatural. Thus, ID theory does not imply, contain, or assume religion at all.
Who or what the intelligent designer is is left to be determined by future research, just like the underlying source of gravity was left to further research, gravity which we are still trying to clarify long after the theory was accepted. Neo-Darwinists insist that ID theory must produce the designer first in order to be credible, but science has never demanded such a thing, and neo-Darwinists do not hold themselves to the same standard. They cannot produce a definite event sequence for the imagined macroevolutionary changes between creatures on the tree of life; they cannot show the missing intermediate fossils; and they cannot lay out the biomechanics of the steps involved in transitioning from one creature to the next.
Just as it may be practically impossible to demonstrate a complete macroevolutionary biomechanical event sequence, it may also be practically impossible to identify the intelligent designer. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Neo-Darwinists feel their inference to macroevolution is valid although such events cannot be seen or even demonstrated to be biomechanically possible. ID theorists likewise feel their inference to an intelligence behind the designs of life is valid although they cannot identify the designer. Similar to what gravity theorists of old claimed, and similar to what the neo-Darwinists of today claim, ID theorists merely say that there are times when we can make a legitimate inference to something we cannot yet directly observe.
ID, gravity, string theory, braneworld theory, neo-Darwinian evolution, even nuclear physics and particle physics share this feature, that they were justified in asserting the existence of some of the primary constructs of the theory prior to being able to produce the theoretical entities for direct observation. It should not be surprising that intelligent design and neo-Darwinian theory share this limitation. They purport to be explaining precisely the same thing, the tree of life.
But I digress. My point here is just that ID is a simple theory. The non-religious, god-neutral forms of ID theory (there are religious versions) merely posit intelligence behind the designs of life. The basic theory says nothing more, though individual theorists may say more—e.g., William Dembski proposes the Law of Conservation of Information, which is a fascinating concept, also supremely simple, and one that I think can intuitively be seen to be true. ID theory is not even a full theory of evolution; it is only proposed as a tenet that can be added to basic evolutionary theory; it doesn’t replace the theory of evolution, and it doesn’t deny that evolution occurred. There may be a few ID theorists who deny that evolution occurred, but the greater majority agree that the tree of life was at least partly constructed over millions of years via an evolutionary process.
The theory of Creation Science (CS) is quite different. It claims a great deal more, including the claim that evolution did not occur at all. CS begins with the authority of the Bible—with the book of Genesis—read literally. It then goes on to claim that God is the creator of life on Earth, that the Earth is much younger than mainstream science believes it is, and that living things were created directly in their final forms (the 6-day creation of Genesis). Creation Science denies that the tree of life was created through millions of years of evolution.
Personally, I do not believe that Creation Science is the correct view. There is a great deal in science that argues against it. However, I should make clear that it is not my intent to insult young earth Creation Science theorists merely by strongly couching my book in the Catholic perspective. I respect the theory of CS; I just don’t happen to believe that it’s true. I allow that future developments could prove me wrong. However, the chance of Creation Science being proved more likely than evolution seems pretty small at this point.
The theory of Creation Science is conceptually coherent and logically consistent, and it has accumulated a body of scientific data and logic for support. It is not nonsense. It has been too much the norm for critics of Creation Science to insult the theory as if it were patently nonsense, with nothing of science about it at all. Even the Vatican has (I feel unfortunately for the ID debate) at times labeled CS as ridiculous. While I hold with the Catholic Church that the CS view of the book of Genesis is incorrect, I do not think Creation Science is nonsense either as science or as theology. It is importantly wrong as theology, yes, but that does not make it nonsense in the sense of intellectual or philosophical thought generally. CS goes against much of mainstream science as well, in rejecting standard scientific dating methods for example, but that does not make it nonsense as such.
The Vatican, of course, criticizes the CS approach for using the Bible as if it were a science book. This is a valid theological criticism, and the Vatican is certainly right as far as I am concerned, but even there, I think ridicule is going too far. At least in the United States, the literal reading of the Bible has always been an enormous force in popular theology. The tradition of the Catholic Church is not to insult popular theology but to properly inform and guide it.
On the other hand Creation Scientists as individuals do tend to heavily criticize the Catholic Church, so they probably had it coming. It is incorrect to view the Bible as literal in all passages, and the creation story in Genesis is not one of the literal sections. Nonetheless, I believe the language the Vatican has used about CS is too strong, at least too strong for the rest of us to mimic since we don’t have the bishop’s teaching authority. Caustic exchanges are harmful to the civilized exchange of free thought that needs to go on around the intelligent design debate since many agnostics are still searching for the truth about our world. Like the ancient Greek philosophers, they presume that the value of a penalty-free arena of free exchange of ideas is self-evident. I agree with them, but I must confess to setting the world’s record for caustic comments in my earlier approaches to this topic. I certainly have been a worse offender in that sense than the popes and bishops will ever be.
And of course the pope and the bishops, as the successors of the apostles of Christ, absolutely have the authority to issue such admonishments. We lay Catholics don’t have that authority. And certainly we have had great popes in modern times, intelligent, prudent, caring, and sensitive men who have been very prudent in their approach to such things in almost all cases.
Church leaders have a reason to be concerned. The errors of CS can do much damage to the credibility of the faith in the eyes of unbelievers who are staunch advocates of science. The bishops (the pope is the Bishop of Rome) are empowered by Christ to authoritatively guide us in how to read the scripture. They can, therefore, legitimately ridicule a given theological approach if they feel the error is sufficiently great to merit such strong measures.
The rest of us, however, the laity who do not have such authority, should not ridicule our fellow devout Christians who affirm CS for having made what is, on the personal level, merely an honest mistake, and a mistake that millions of other men and women of faith have made through history. In the modern world, many of us will struggle to perfect our faith until very late in life. We will, on average, make a plethora of errors along the way. We should not ridicule each other on that journey of the faith, but rather encourage, gently correct, guide and support.
Even though the Vatican has the absolute right to ridicule erroneous interpretations of the Bible, I still wish they had not done so in this case. The animosity such insults generate in response will tend to further divide the larger family of Christian and God-fearing faiths. Those faiths should, in this late hour, be in the process of unification. Ironically, I have no doubt that the pope, in issuing a scathing critique of CS, intended to do the right thing, that is, to facilitate unification. His strategy, to facilitate unification by briskly laying out the single truth around which we should unify (there is only one truth after all), albeit a somewhat painful method, may turn out to be the only method that works. I leave the theological questions lie here, for my concern in this book is with the science.
While a genuine authority under God, on the intellectual and scientific playing fields the Vatican is merely equal to the rest of us. It has to justify its positions with sound arguments and scientific data, as do we. My point here is that, as the reader will see below, CS cannot be said to be ridiculous on the basis of science and logic alone. One can make an argument that CS is almost certainly false on the basis of science, but not that it is ridiculous. On purely scientific grounds, it is certainly no more ridiculous than the theory of accidental evolution. And CS cannot be definitively proved false. It can only be shown to be implausible based upon current scientific data and integrated theory. There is a difference.
The science-based component arguments of CS have not yet had a full and fair hearing within the mainstream of science. To see this we have to first separate in our minds the theology of CS from its scientific arguments, especially the objections to neo-Darwinian evolution.
True, until the theology part is separated out, the total integrated thesis of CS cannot be considered science. This is because CS does not make any provision for refutation of its most general claims, which are grounded in theology. Because CS is grounded in the authority of the Bible, it does not and cannot allow for refutation. But, as we all know, a theory that is not refutable is not scientific. CS, however, does allow for refutation of the individual scientific arguments it uses against neo-Darwinian evolution, and CS proponents do genuinely affirm the value of science as a means to the truth.
Creation Science arguments include all the main points I make in this book about complexity, improbability, the questions of how an accident can make complex machines or configure complex new genetic information, the impotence of natural selection to solve these problems, etc. Therefore, the Creation Science case is as scientifically and intellectually potent taken as a refutation of neo-Darwinian (accidental) evolution as the book you are now reading on intelligent design theory.
Without denying the authority they claim for the literal reading of the Bible, Creation Science proponents are also saying something else, something that is purely scientific. They are saying that mainstream science is in error regarding neo-Darwinian evolution. So, on a stand-alone basis, once the theology is removed, the individual modules of scientific argument CS employs are genuinely scientific and deserve close evaluation by mainstream science.
Should we be so generous as to allow the scientific components of CS to be evaluated separately from the larger religious context within which they have been proposed? Why not, if we are interested in getting at scientific truth as our primary objective? Who would not give Albert Einstein the courtesy of separating his theory of relativity from a larger religious article had it been originally published in American Catholic as “Our Father’s Plan.” There would have been no question about doing it.
Einstein in fact affirmed God in his own way and no one said we should throw out his scientific work because of that affirmation. The reason the materialist community didn’t mob Einstein’s work with malicious criticism and persecution the way they do ID theory, of course, is that Einstein’s view of God has been, properly or improperly, described as a pantheistic view similar to Spinoza’s, where God=the world itself. This allows the materialist, humanist, and physical reductionist metaphysic to rule supreme and leaves traditional theists to drool—that is why no one criticized Einstein. One can spout any kind of intellectual nonsense whatsoever and never be criticized by mainstream science so long as the Christian God is denied and materialism is affirmed.
But, yes we should evaluate the scientific elements of the CS arguments, and the scientific elements of anyone’s arguments, regardless of the larger context they are present in. Of particular merit is the CS objection that neo-Darwinian evolution has no explanation for the creation of the genomes, for the creation of biological information generally, and no demonstration or explanation of abiogenesis (the initial creation of life from nonliving elements and chemical compounds). These are absolutely valid and purely scientific objections, core to the explanation of life. Taken together, they thoroughly decimate the plausibility of the theory of accidental evolution.
Creation Science proponents present a volume of scientific data and argument; and it is all readily accessible to the public—much of it free, and the rest available through nominal or standard subscriptions. There are over 75 articles available free at Creation Research Society Quarterly. See AIG Research Journal and Creationwiki’s Creation Collaborative Encyclopedia (Wiki) as well as AIG Questions & Answers, AIG Articles Archive, AIG In-depth Answers, and AIG Online Resources for additional materials.
In reviewing this literature, the reader will have to remember to mentally separate any theological assertions that may arise in the commentary sections of the introductions and conclusions of a given article from the hard science sections that present the main body of scientific data and analysis. In these discussions we see that the arguments proposed to support the theses that the Earth is young and that life first appeared in its present form (although the theses are almost certainly incorrect in my own view) are clearly scientific arguments and hypotheses despite neo-Darwinists’ loud assertions to the contrary.
From the scientific and philosophical point of view, the scientific modules of CS, once separated from its theological assertions, comprise a rigorously laid out, internally consistent, and cogent system of thought that employ genuinely scientific arguments. Once a full and impartial peer-review by mainstream science is carried out (this has not been done) the claims of CS may or may not turn out to be true. But, most of the individual arguments of CS qualify as science and merit respect and close evaluation.
With a very few exceptions, a full and objective peer-review has been denied such science-based component arguments of CS because mainstream science has a phobia of touching anything that has ever been issued in support of a religious view. In other words, the neo-Darwinists are quite happy to take a quick look at the transparently wrong arguments of CS in order to ballyhoo the presumed genius of their own fully vacuous theory of accidental evolution, while completely ignoring the scientifically meritorious objections in the larger CS inventory of arguments.
The young earth theory of CS does appear much less likely than the current mainstream scientific estimate of roughly 4.5 billion years. So, to encourage further evaluation of the component arguments of CS in the face of the implausibility of its primary thesis may seem to be almost a purely theoretical point about scientific method. But it is that method, after all, that ensures us truth in the final result. And consider: to say the 6-day creation thesis of CS is false is not in the least to say that neo-Darwinian accidental evolution is true. Creation Science is not the converse of neo-Darwinian evolution. Though the two are incompatible, what argues against one does not necessarily corroborate the other.
In contrast, intelligent design theory and accidental evolution are true or at least nearly true converses of each other. What argues against one nearly always corroborates the other and vice versa. Nonetheless, the component arguments of Creation Science also have much to say about the enormous flaws in neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, especially the accidental version. These criticisms are of much use to science.
To date, the scientific modules of CS, separated from its theology, have not had a legitimate peer review in mainstream science; they have only been offered propagandized ridicule. Despite this unfair reception, CS theorists have done science and society a valuable service in very ably highlighting the weaknesses in the neo-Darwinian case. This may go far to explain why mainstream science doesn’t want Creation Science to get a fair hearing.
I suspect many readers will want to take a step back at this point, objecting, “But what is this you say about not being able to absolutely disprove CS? I thought science had already done that!” A given scientist’s estimate of the overall weight of the evidence (including perhaps some of our own popes) will tend to assign CS claims for a young Earth and 6-day creation a probability that is vanishingly small. But, given the theoretical fluctuations in natural law permitted by quantum theory, the new multiverse theory in physics, extradimensional braneworld theory, and other recent hypotheses in physics that posit physical dynamics that, if they don’t actually alter the flow of time, can alter our current estimates of it, the claims of Creation Science cannot be definitively ruled out. They have been disproved to the satisfaction of much of mainstream science, yes; but they have not been disproved. Consensus alone does not make truth.
The multiverse theory alone, which is loudly proclaimed by neo-Darwinists to have obviated the probability argument for ID (since multiverse is untestable, this is not true), opens up an entirely new field of possibilities in cosmological theory. Under multiverse, 6-day creation and evolution could conceivably both be true at the same time!
“This time you’ve gone too far,” I can hear the reader saying. “That is fully impossible!” But, no, no it isn’t; not in multiverse, and not in braneworld theory. Some of these claims are not testable, because multiverse itself is not testable, but they are not impossible, and some braneworld hypotheses appear to be testable. Given the new radical possibilities in modern cosmology and physics, it is possible, just for one example, that our world was in fact created in another universe first, a universe having a few different laws than our universe (no entropy, no aging, and no decay, for example), but otherwise identical to our universe. In that universe mankind and all the rest of what we call “creation” could have been created in six days followed by a day of inactivity of the creator.
Let’s posit further, just for the sake of the example, that that world was Eden, the initial paradise described in the Bible’s book of Genesis. Then, let’s further assume, occurs the fall of man in rebellion against God. Next, man is punished by exile to another, less perfect, world. Let’s assume this place of exile is our present universe. To accomplish this exile in terms of physics, a portion of the design blueprint of Eden is spewed into our universe through the singularity we call the Big Bang, where it is mixed with less perfect design specifications, watered down as it were.
Rephrased in terms of braneworld theory, the “collision” of the brane that largely defines our 4-dimensional physical world with the universe of Eden, degraded paradise into the world we live in, interjected entropy and aging, etc. Put into theological terms, we were cursed for our sins as punishment.
The express purpose of this degradation of paradise is to punish man for his sin. In such a multi-universe/multi-brane world, the Bible’s statement that “the world” was created in six days could then turn out to be literally true—the initial creation was, and the cursed version that followed took on aspects of physical decay and disintegration that can be tracked over long periods of time. Two possibilities derive from this hypothetical scenario, one shows that Creation Science might literally be true, the other shows that enough of its major component beliefs are true that it ceases to be any more ridiculous than any other view of the origins of life.
In the first alternative the curse was a supernatural event and its effect on the Earth and its inhabitants is to make them look to modern science older than they actually are. The other alternative is that this cursed world, this Earth, not the pristine Earth initially created in Eden, is truly 4.5 billion years old, so the CS folks are wrong about that, but they are nonetheless right that the life forms of Earth were created in their final forms without need of evolution, albeit created in the prior world before the curse and transferred here via the Big Bang where for some reason the evidence is confused by the supernatural event or the cursed creatures were actually reconstituted here by an evolutionary process as one of the manifestations of the curse.
I am not saying I believe this is what actually happened (or that it is or is not compatible with Catholic dogma—I am lucky just to get my thoughts developed this far); I am saying that, once we admit multiverse and braneworld theory, we cannot demonstrate that it did not happen on the basis of purely scientific theoretical criteria.
Thus, although the magnitude of probability as currently estimated for a young Earth or 6-day creation (in our universe exclusive of multiverse) may be vanishingly small given our current state of knowledge, the theory of Creation Science as such is not ridiculous in the sense of being transparently impossible.
Although the theory of multiverse is not testable, it will probably hang around because it explains certain important anomalies in physics. Some forms of braneworld theory are apparently testable and could produce much the same result. It is ironic that multiverse theory, which neo-Darwinists rely on to give accidental evolution any chance at all, actually opens the theoretical door to the possibility that an event process corresponding to a literal reading of Genesis might have occurred on the other side of the Big Bang.
The fact that multiverse is not testable does not mean we could never find “Eden” as such. While a theory of an infinite series of radically different universes is not testable, it is not clear that we might not advance to the point of discovering a single sister universe or two having compatible natural laws and physical constants. We might even achieve a means of transit into such a universe (or God might achieve that for us at final judgment).
In scientific theory (but not theology), if the natural laws were similar enough across the two universes, humans might be changed in the process of transiting into that other universe (the degradation reversed, as it were), changed to a state of eternal youth where we would experience no aging or decay. We would have found Eden! The Bible teaches, however, that angels guard the entrances to Eden; so, from a theological point of view we cannot anticipate a successful passage. On the basis of theology, God would have to conduct us there after judgment. However, strictly on the basis of science, the existence of such a sister universe and two-universe creation scenario is theoretically possible.
One of the points I have tried to emphasize throughout this book is humility. We don’t know everything yet. Science has discovered some astounding and quite fundamental things only in the past couple of decades, the most notable example, perhaps, being dark matter. Dark matter was previously unknown throughout the entire confident, if not pompous, history of science, and yet it constitutes from 70% to 95% of everything in the universe! Success at string theory or other hypotheses for grand unification could shake up the accepted paradigms a good little bit further. New discoveries at this level can potentially be the harbinger of paradigm-shattering revelations. If the history of science teaches us anything, it is that today’s truth is tomorrow’s fiction and potentially vice versa.
Justifying a literal reading of Genesis outside of multiverse theory is much more difficult. Radiometric dating techniques have largely supplanted carbon dating and provide the foundation for modern science’s view that the Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old. For Young Earth Theory to be a substantial contender again, serious doubt would have to be introduced into our understanding of atomic decay, which underlies the radiometric/carbon dating methods of age determination. Something similarly radical would have to be introduced into our understanding of age determinations of the universe by “red shift” light spectrum analysis. I am not an expert on the details of the CS arguments along these lines, but Creation Science proponents have challenged the dating methods with what appear to be genuinely scientific objections.
Corresponding adjustments to the way science has traditionally viewed the formation of the geological strata of the surface of the Earth would have to occur. There is currently very substantial cross-corroboration between observations in these three different fields that give science firm confidence in its current estimate of the 4.5 billion year age of the Earth. The overturning of all three of these seemingly well-confirmed and cross-corroborative methods of time measurement is, admittedly, highly unlikely; but it is not scientifically impossible.
The red-shift theory for aging the universe only “holds water” if we assume that the universe is expanding. Astronomers and cosmologists occasionally question the standard assumption of an expanding universe, but as far as the overall consensus in science goes, it remains a near certainty. However, there are certain recent observations the theory doesn’t explain and there are optional theoretical models employing the new concepts of branes that can explain our physical observations of our universe without assuming expansion. For example, at a recent (Mar 20210) Dutch Theoretical Cosmology meeting, noted Theoretical Physicist Professor Misao Sasaki (Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics, Kyoto University) presented a paper from which the following abstract is taken:
Speaker: Misao Sasaki (Yukawa Institute, Kyoto)
Title: Observational equivalence of conformally related frames
Abstract: I argue that spacetimes which are conformally related are actually observationally indistinguishable. When applied to cosmology, this allows an extremely unconventional, apparently controversial picture that our universe may not be expanding at all. I show how such a picture of the universe can be observationally consistent.
This constitutes perhaps only the smallest crack in the door, but it does afford the theoretical possibility that at some future time the universe will be demonstrated not to be expanding. If that happens, the red-shift data currently used to age the Universe will be invalidated for that purpose. If the Universe turns out to be young in whatever new cosmological model ultimately prevails, then, of course, Young Earth Creation Science is potentially a contender again. It would really only take a turnover in this one area to put us back to the drawing board; we would have to take a closer look at radiometric dating/carbon dating based upon its incompatible results with new astronomical observations or newly established theories of theoretical physics and the altered cosmological models they drive.
Consider, many of our best theoretical and mathematical physicists now argue for the possibility of such things as multiverses (multiple universes) in addition to extra dimensions and quantum indeterminacy. In these other worlds, different natural laws hold. Quantum indeterminacy, in theory, allows for rare fluctuations in natural law even in our world.
Some physicists (and other scientists including Stuart Kauffman) are now arguing that the natural laws in our world could change, that long-term and stable changes in natural law are possible. Other possibilities arise with the new physics and cosmology such as anomalous fluctuations in the flow of time, cross universe transfer of matter and energy through black holes, etc. These possibilities are often posed by neo-Darwinists as arguments against entrenching ourselves in the traditional view of the origin of the universe, the Big Bang, the view that looks as much like divine creation as one might ever expect to find. They wish to open up these other radical possibilities to weaken our confidence in divine creation. However, in doing this, they have ironically reopened the door to a literal 7-day creation and a young Earth (not as theology, but as science).
This is true because, if the natural laws can change, then science changes along with them, and the results of science. Depending upon the particulars of what the specific changes were, age computations and other historical inferences about our world’s past would always be subject to alteration. In pure theory, at least until all the new speculative concepts in physics are sorted out, we will not have grounds for full confidence in our aging techniques on the purely theoretical side of things.
Perhaps the greatest irony of all is that, given all this new and exceedingly strange physics, minus the assumption that God intentionally created the physical world in a manner that it would be comprehensible to the human mind, there is no reason for us to have confidence in our grasp of the nature our universe whatsoever.
Consider the amount of understanding a ladybug or firefly has of the nature of the universe: not much. Well, I suppose, one can say with the good ol’ boys here in Indiana that “Well, it knows enough not to worry about it.” But, while that is sound wisdom, and serves as proper admonishment to those of us who go in circles writing books trying to figure all of this out, it does raise an interesting point. If the neo-Darwinists believe with the materialists and atheists that humans are only advanced apes descended from germs and bugs, or at least from a common ancestor of germs and bugs, why do they assume our understanding of our world is any closer to the truth than that of the lower creatures?
On the practical side of things, the answer of course is prediction; we can predict things and make things work very well to our advantage, increasing our comfort and security with science, so we trust it. But that is only of definitive value in the practical arena. In the theoretical arena, given the new views of multiverse and changeable natural laws, how far can we now trust our understanding of the ultimate nature of our physical world? Not much.
At this point, we can really only consider our scientific theories heuristic models that match our world well enough to be practically useful. We can no longer assume the ultimate ontological fabric of reality matches the concepts in our scientific theories in a literal way; we can only proceed on the basis that the world behaves as if it did match. We can’t even assume they will continue to work on the practical level forever.
Thus there is no basis for ideological arrogance in science concerning a metaphysical view of our world. We should not insist on the dismissal of any of the possibilities for purely theoretical ontological models, including, believe it or not, 7-Day Creation Science.
You may want to object, “Isn’t that taking it all a bit too far? How could 7-day Creation really be true, given what we think we know about the universe at this point?” In theory (speculative theory, as it may be), some combination of an anomaly in the flow of time, interaction between multiple universes or multidimensional branes, and/or a rare fluctuation in the natural laws of our universe could generate a situation where our world would consistently look to radiometric dating, geophysical strata, and light spectrum analysis much older than it actually is. Our current state of science would be unable to prove a young Earth, but it would be true, nonetheless, that the Earth was younger than it looked to science.
Ironically, once we allow that time might be radically altered, a concept right out of the Bible might explain the discrepancy between our current science and the Creation Science view of the age of our universe. In Isaiah 38, King Hezekiah was granted an additional fifteen years to live and the Sun, apparently miraculously, turned back the equivalent of ten units on the sundial. Joshua was, again apparently miraculously, given an extension of daylight to prosecute battle. If God has elected to do a number of miraculous interventions over the centuries in response to individual prayers, miracles that affect time and alter the physical world in some corresponding way, the physical world might not be showing its true age. Mainstream science does not currently provide for radical time alterations, but the future might prove it wrong. Some modern physicists are currently speculating in that direction.
Although positive responses to prayer would, one would think, tend to go towards healing the Earth and thereby making the Earth seem younger, the positive is not the only thing God has to deal with in human relations. Supernatural punishments issued as miraculous alterations, specifically, releasing Satan into the world, and allowing him to routinely do supernatural evil could increase the aging of the world significantly via the destructive impact of the supernatural malice that has afflicted it.
Once the supernatural enters the picture, all bets are off for precise scientific tracking of physical events—that’s what “miracle” means, and the world has seen plenty of them. Thus, the Bible could be true and science’s readings “accurate” at the same time although they do not agree. This is true because miracles alter the world in a way that science cannot detect.
Once again, to be clear for the ever-present critics out there, I am not arguing that such radically speculative views should be adopted as the currently favored (most probable) scientific view. What I am arguing is that the neo-Darwinist, materialist, atheist camps are caught in a logical check here. They can’t argue against the Big Bang theory (which looks so much like divine creation), and they can’t argue against intelligent design theory’s devastating probability argument, without affirming the radical new speculative theories of science, such as multiverse and braneworld theory. But when they affirm those theories they open up the door to 7-day creation as at least being scientifically coherent and, if only very remotely, scientifically possible.
If the radically experimental, speculative, views of the origin of the universe are plausible, the list of all the radical options they engender must be conceded possible as well, not just the ones the neo-Darwinists find politically palatable. I find it all as startling as you do, but the truth is that one of those options that come back to life with the new speculative physics is 7-day creation! As a consequence, the 7-day creation hypothesis of Creation Science (they may call it 6-day creation because God was resting on the 7th day) cannot be dismissed as having been definitively disproved by modern science—it cannot be dismissed as intellectual nonsense.
It is perhaps more difficult to imagine the possibility of Young Earth theory being true than 6-day creation, even with the radical new theories of science. However, it only takes the smallest adjustment to save the literal reading of Genesis at this point: allow that the genealogies in the Bible are the only exceptions to literalism, not the cosmology, allow that the genealogies are true but not meant to be exhaustive of all the generations of mankind, but only meant to show the highlights.
I am not advocating abandoning the current practical working assumptions of mainstream science here; I am only arguing for a little more humility from those who say such arrogant things as that science has fully disproved 6-day creation or the existence of God. One of the few things we can definitely conclude from the speculative new theories in physics and cosmology so far is that the universe is potentially more awe-inspiring than even Creationists have heretofore ever held it to be! More possibilities are opened up rather than less.
In any case, the possibility for a literal reading of Genesis to be true can easily be preserved by making one of these two adjustments. Catholics still say God didn’t intend Genesis to be read literally, but even they (we) have to allow that it might, as a pure coincidence, turn out that science will ultimately affirm a process of our universe’s origin that could vindicate the 6-day creation hypothesis. That won’t make the Bible a science book, but by the same token, if the Bible is not a science book it does not say that God did not create the world in 6 days either.
Whatever new concepts may lurk in future discoveries that might explain present anomalies concerned with black holes or the singularity at the Big Bang, if such concepts there be, they would, by definition, entail a startling rework of science’s conceptual foundations. One may rebel against admitting such radical changes, but the history of science argues for just such an open mindedness and humility. We must allow ourselves to continue to learn and be prepared to cast aside the old and bring in the new.
The present state of our scientific theoretical base has “humility” written all over it. Our present scientific paradigm has it that it all came from a complete mystery at the Big Bang, and science still does not know how to bridge the apparently random behavior of individual quantum subatomic particles to make it compatible with the known truths of a fully orderly physical world at the visible level of Newtonian mechanics (normal physics). Thus, there is plenty of room for humility, and for future surprises in science.
If the long sought grand unification theory in physics, string theory or something akin to it, is finally confirmed and elucidated, who knows what the implications for metaphysics as a whole will be, let alone the narrow question of intelligent design? We could end up with the multiverse from Hell, as it were, where universes have seamlessly overlaid each other, and we have only had the illusion of living in a single independent world. In such a mess, each person’s path could wander undetectably through a tapestry of segments of intermingled worlds somewhat unique to the individual. This wouldn’t mean individuals were living an isolated existence; the people around us would still be real. But it would mean that the pure objectivity that science requires for 100% theoretical veracity could turn out to be an illusion. I believe in a single objective world, but the new theories of physics offer radically new possibilities for the nature of such a world.
Consider the following brief excerpts from Wikipedia, the Free Dictionary, and Cornell University’s arXiv.org concerning some new developments in modern theoretical physics.
(From Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braneworld, accessed 26 April 2010)
Brane cosmology refers to several theories in particle physics and cosmology motivated by, but not exclusively derived from, superstring theory and M-theory.
The central idea is that the visible, four-dimensional universe is restricted to a brane inside a higher-dimensional space, called the "bulk". The additional dimensions are compact, in which case the observed universe contains the extra dimensions, and then no reference to the bulk is appropriate in this context. In the bulk model, other branes may be moving through this bulk. Interactions with the bulk, and possibly with other branes, can influence our brane and thus introduce effects not seen in more standard cosmological models.
The ekpyrotic universe, or ekpyrotic scenario, is a cosmological model about the origin and shape of the universe. The name comes from a Stoic term for "out of fire". The ekpyrotic model of the universe is an alternative to the standard cosmic inflation paradigm, both of which accept that the standard big bang Lambda-CDM model of our universe is an appropriate description up to very early times. The ekpyrotic model is a precursor to, and part of the cyclic model.
The ekpyrotic model came out of work by Neil Turok and Paul Steinhardt and maintains that the universe did not start in a singularity, but came about from the collision of two branes. This collision released a large amount of energy which would appear very similar to the classic big bang, but avoids the singularity. The universe then expands until it appears almost featureless and flat, and this allows another cycle to take place with the universe being mostly removed of all debris. The ekpyrotic model received recent attention from cosmologists, and has been discussed in a number of articles that suggest it as an alternative to the Big Bang theory after it was published in Physical Review.
(From the Free Dictionary by Farlex, Inc. at http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/Braneworld, accessed 26 April 2010)
(From Cornell University’s arXiv.org at http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/gr-qc/pdf/0301/0301126v1.pdf, accessed 26 April 2010)
Sugumi Kanno,1 Misao Sasaki,2 and Jiro Soda3
1Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
2Department of Earth and Space Science, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University,
Toyonaka 560-0043, Japan
3Department of Fundamental Sciences, FIHS, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
Talk presented at The 12th Workshop on General Relativity and Gravitation, Tokyo, Japan, November, 2002
We propose a cosmological braneworld scenario in which two branes collide and emerge as reborn branes with signs of tensions opposite to the original tensions of respective branes. In this scenario, the branes are assumed to be inflating. However, the whole dynamics is different from the usual inflation due to the non-trivial dynamics of the radion field. Transforming the conformal frame to the Einstein frame, this born-again scenario resembles the pre-big-bang scenario. Thus our scenario has features of both inflation and pre-big-bang scenarios. In particular, the gravitational waves produced from vacuum fluctuations will have a very blue spectrum, while the inflation field will give rise to a standard scale-invariant spectrum.
In this paper, we proposed a scenario in which two branes collide and are reborn as new branes, called the born-again braneworld scenario. Our model has the features of both inflationary and pre-big-bang scenarios….as the collision of branes mimics the pre-big-bang scenario, the primordial background gravitational waves with a very blue spectrum may be produced. This brings up the possibility that we may be able to see the collision epoch by a future gravitational wave detector such as LISA.
[Also see a similar article published in the peer-reviewed science journal, Progress of Theoretical Physics:
Authors: Sugumi Kanno, Misao Sasaki, Jiro Soda
Until we have a grand unification theory that is definite and certain, such scenarios as are resident in the ekpyrotic theory of our world’s origin (which is, again, a cosmological theory legitimately derived from multidimensional string theory and particle physics) remain fully possible. The ekpyrotic (out of fire) theory shows the scientific realism of a cosmological scenario that reflects in general ways the Creation Science view of cosmology.
It has turned out that string theory offers more than one consistent model for explaining our world. As a result, many different speculative theories of cosmology remain explanatory contenders that science cannot now (and perhaps ever) refute. Some of these more or less equally acceptable theoretical models offer very different interpretations of the red shift phenomena that science presently uses to date the age of our universe.
Physicist and author Brian Greene suggests that ‘M’-Theory has unified the primary contenders of string theory into a single theory by showing that a single mathematical formula generates them all. I can’t dispute this at the level of the mathematics (since I am not a mathematician) but, as a philosopher, I can say that it takes more than the commonality of a foundational mathematical formula and comparable predictions to prove multiple theories identical to each other. What happens at the conceptual level counts too. Different conceptual systems can at times be described by the same mathematics.
What are the ontologies of the various theories? Do they posit the existence of the same mass-energy constructs (objects), entities that can be individuated to have a coherent existence over time? What are the process dynamics of the interaction of these “objects”? Are they the same for each theory? It is not clear that ‘M’-Theory has satisfactorily answered these kinds of questions, and it is not even clear if braneworld theory to date passes coherence, consistency and completeness (ontology and event process description) tests all at the same time.
If there is no ontology associated with these different theoretical models, they are not really describing our world at all; they are only laying a foundation for event prediction. We have to be careful not to fall into mathematical physical reductionism here, careful not to give away everything that has meaning for human existence in our present worldview.
With all this weird stuff going on in physics and cosmology it remains possible that science will ultimately choose an extradimensional theoretical model of physics that will end up computing the age of our universe differently. Granted, it would seem to require some radical concept, such as the “born old” idea, where the collision of two or more branes generated an informed state of matter and energy at the Big Bang, that both produced the planetary systems and life on Earth quickly, while also instilling signs of a much greater age than the Earth actually possessed.
Having discovered deeper laws of string theory, or some other new theoretical model of physics, we may at some point in the future rectify this error and reinterpret the signs of the age of our universe correctly and see that the Earth is in fact much younger. What are the odds of this happening? There is really no way to say at present. The new speculative physical and cosmological theories are too new. We know our theoretical model of physics is presently incomplete, but we can’t say precisely which way it will most probably go in advance of having gone there and verified it.
The implications of braneworld theory are much more directly supportive of intelligent design theory in the sense that they give us a perfectly elegant answer to the question, “Where did the design information come from, and how did it enter our system?” One simply ascribes the information as having been engendered by the encounter of two or more branes at the Big Bang or other seminal event. The result was a combination of natural law and the informed state of matter and energy that set the bowling ball of creation rolling irrevocably toward the strike zone: life became inevitable given the rules of the game and the point and manner in which the “ball” (mass and energy) was released.
Wobbles and path deviations are permitted so long as the built-in information, the natural laws, and the precise physical posture assumed by matter and energy at the beginning of the formation of our world make the result of biological life inevitable within the expected life of our universe. If we posit a cyclical pattern to cosmology, even that much is not required. All that is required for the intelligent design to come to fruition is that life be hit upon within one of the available cycles.
The bottom line with the new physics and cosmology is that room remains within those theories for compatible formulations of both intelligent design theory and Creation Science. Intelligent design theory, divested of all religious elements seems by far the more probable theory, even within the new physics and cosmology context, but does mainstream science in fact have all the critical component data it needs to dismiss out of hand all Creation Science claims as they have heretofore done? No.
Are mainstream scientists receptive to authentic evidence and logic that might argue against neo-Darwinism or for a young earth? No. The neo-Darwinian writings are available in the public record, and the prejudice is plain for all to see. I leave the reader to judge.
It is safe to say that mainstream science has not always been as receptive as the standards of objective science require. Certainly, mainstream science is clearly not spending any time or money in research areas that might argue against the currently favored theory of accidental evolution.
Again, for those new to the subject, contrary to neo-Darwinist claims, intelligent design theory and young earth Creation Science are two absolutely different theories. Intelligent design theorists are not “neo-creationists” as many Darwinists assert. Intelligent design theorists assert a creator only in the sense of an intelligent designer of life as a scientific hypothesis. ID theory does not assert who that designer is. They allow that it might or might not be God.
ID theory is therefore not biblical creationism, and it is not tied to the young earth view of biblical Creation Science. It is important to keep this distinction in mind because Darwinists will try to dismiss intelligent design theory by offering a rebuttal of selected biblical Creation Science claims while ignoring the entirely distinct set of arguments of intelligent design theory. (They also ignore the remaining Creation Science arguments for which they have no rebuttal). They then claim a resounding victory over both, while having addressed the truly cogent portion of neither.
Intelligent design theory is not biblical, neither is it anti-biblical. Nor should the reader assume from my comments that I hold that any or all biblical Creation Science arguments have been fully and properly rebutted by the neo-Darwinists. I do not so hold. Nor do I hold that any or all of them prevail; I only assert that much of the content of Creation Science arguments, once divested from the theology of the presenter, is genuine science and has not yet received a fair and impartial hearing in mainstream scientific venues.
Creation Scientists make a variety of separate scientific objections to neo-Darwinian evolution. Each of these must stand or fall on its own individual merits and the success or failure of one implies nothing whatsoever about the merits of the others. It only takes one successful line of objection to refute a theory. Therefore, when posed as a single integrated theory of the origin of life, Creation Science may itself stand refuted by a refutation of only one of its own tenets. The same should hold true of any integrated theory, including neo-Darwinian evolution—it must be refutable to be scientific. Yet neo-Darwinists have added, modified, and removed various tenets of their theory through history quite freely, revealing that there is no unchangeable core of scientific content in neo-Darwinian theory at all.
When neo-Darwinists attempt to refute the modern scientific assertions of Creation Science by arguing only against the ancient naïve finalism espoused by some Christian fundamentalists a century ago they are not doing science but political propaganda. By definition scientific theories must be amenable to modification based upon new data. On the same logic the neo-Darwinists use to reject Creation Science, that is, eternally tying a theory to a past error, you and I could reject all of modern evolutionary theory for having once integrated a belief in protoplasm and God! Darwin himself held those beliefs.
Neo-Darwinists reserve the option to modify to themselves alone however, denying it to those who oppose them. Nothing could be more transparently ridiculous or unscientific! This is the quality of the argument posed by neo-Darwinists against Creation Science.
Mainstream science and its prestigious organizations have for decades scandalously endorsed this fallacious and propagandized approach to evolutionary science. And now even the federal courts are signing off on it! Having abandoned all pretense of objectivity, those endorsing this prejudice have taken the additional step of erroneously identifying intelligent design theory and Creation Science as the same theory. This is done so that ID theory can be tossed out prior to evaluation, falsely condemned as being religion and not science.
[Note: To complicate the terminology after having just clarified the distinction between intelligent design theory and Creation Science, in at least one book of collected writings, the term “intelligent design creationism” has been applied to intelligent design theory, apparently with the permission of ID theorists. I assume that this is understood by all parties to preserve the distinction between biblical 6-day/young Earth creationism and intelligent design theory because the ID writings in that collection are from authors who do not include biblical creationism as a component of their version of intelligent design theory. In this academic use, ID is apparently deemed a form of “creationism” simply because it affirms in general terms a creator, a designer of life (not necessarily the biblical one.]
 Michael Specter, Denialism (London: Penguin Press, 2009), 17.
 Richard Dawkins, A Devil’s Chaplain (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003), 219.
 Eric D. Schneider, and Dorion Sagan, Into the Cool: Energy Flow Thermodynamics and Life (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005), 135.
 John Gribbin, In Search of the Multiverse (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2009), 195.
 Quoted from the Dutch Theoretical Cosmology Website at http://www.cosmology.nl/, visited 2 May 2010. Prof. Sasaki’s Website is at http://www2.yukawa.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~misao/ and includes a current CV at http://www2.yukawa.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~misao/cv_ms09.pdf.
 See, Adam Frank, “Who Wrote the Book of Physics,” Discover, April 2010, 32-37; John D. Barrow, The Origin of the Universe (New York: Basic Books, 1994); Alan Guth, The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins (New York: Basic Books, 1998).
 Brian Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality (New York: Knopf Double Day Pub., 2004), chap. 13. This book is an excellent and very readable introduction to the new physics, but does not exhaust all the avenues for fruitful logical analysis (no single book does).