Friday, July 27, 2007

How Quickly Did Life Develop?


[E. coli, a common bacteria]

The earth formed 4.5 billion years ago. It was then bombarded with huge meteorites for 600 million years. Bacteria appeared about 4 billion years ago, or approximately just as the bombardment was ending. According to Discover magazine July, 2007 page 62, life appeared about 50 million years after the point when the earth stabilized. Discover magazine, absurdly, takes this as evidence that life could “easily develop anywhere, anytime that the conditions are right”.

In fact, bacteria, although the simplest form of life, are incredibly complex. Scientists cannot begin to create a bacterium from simple chemicals and even creating a computer simulation of one E. coli has not yet been completed and will be extremely challenging. Yet scientists believe that bacteria formed on earth spontaneously from simple chemicals in a matter of tens of millions of years at most. I cannot imagine any clearer proof that bacteria didn’t develop spontaneously at all; they were CREATED.

Something gradually developing is called “evolution”. Something appearing suddenly is called “creation”. What does the evidence actually show us?

Nick Bostrom, a respected young philosophy professor at Oxford, has proposed that our universe may in fact be a computer simulation created by an alien civilization.

Academics seemingly will do anything to avoid the concept of a Judge and a judgment. Does something make them uncomfortable?

16 comments:

Geoff said...

Yet scientists believe that bacteria formed on earth spontaneously from simple chemicals in a matter of tens of millions of years at most. I cannot image [sic] any clearer proof that bacteria didn’t develop spontaneously at all; they were CREATED.

This is generally termed the Argument From Personal Incredulity. I'm puzzled why someone who describes himself as a philosopher could possibly suggest that one's inability to imagine X constitutes a proof against X. Could you explain?

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

You did it again, you failed to mention that the talmud has the true answer. Lice are spontaneously generated within nature many times over and over again.

So of course only the unwise ask such practical questions involving statistical probabilities, and complexity.

badrabbi said...

As this blog entries demonstrate, in order to believe in the God of JP, it is necessary to:

1. Deny the validity of the theory of evolution!

2. Deny the age of the universe and the age of the earth!

3. Defend slavery!

4. Hold that the Jews killed in the Holocaust were in fact killed by god!

5. Hold that innocent children murdered throughout the millennia have been killed by some grand yet benevolent scheme of God's!

4. Postulate that a book, chuck full of contradictions, with different literary tones, resembling the language of various era, was written by one man, Moses.

All this just to hold on to a quaint idea that some man-like being, grandfatherly kind but short of temper, is sitting on top of somewhere, judging us. All the while, it is said that we who balk at these absurd ideas, we who require at least a modicum of evidence to believe in a grandiose claim such as this, are somehow delusional and hedonistic. If nothing else, JP’s blogs demonstrate just how hollow theist claims in general and orthodox Jewish claims in particular are.

Keep them coming.

jewish philosopher said...

Geoff, would it help if I said "it's obviously false" rather than "I can't imagine"?

Dave, I think the Talmud also has a few comments about God creating life and giving the Torah. Do you accept that as well and if not why?

Bad, I have already written at length about evolution and the documentary hypothesis. I think basically our disagreement is that I am open-minded to the concept of a cosmic judge and final judgment and you aren't. Why is that?

jewish philosopher said...

Bad, here's a little challenge for you: explain how we got here and how Judaism got here without mentioning God.

Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

Although I don't agree that evolution and Torah are intrinsically contradictory, I do agree that the theory is a lot less well-established than the majority of its practitioners seem willing to admit.

Geoff said...

Geoff, would it help if I said "it's obviously false" rather than "I can't imagine"?

Not really: they amount to the same thing. You are relying on your intuition for what is "obviously" true. And yet your intuition is an extraordinarily unreliable guide to such things. Suppose you were to study the internal workings of the computer system that you are using to read this message, the characteristics of the materials of which it is constructed, and the subatomic and quantum properties which chip designers rely upon. There are many phenomena that you would reject out of hand on a common-sense, intuitive interpretation; yet they are demonstrably true.

But don't stop there. Consider this: the science which led to the understanding of those phenomena is the same science that demonstrates the age of the earth, the solar system, and the universe. The understanding of the radioisotopes of the rare earths that are used to make the chips in your computer is what allows us to calculate the age of rock formations, trees, and fossils. Science is seamless. We decode the genetic information that provides overwhelming evidence of evolution with the same tools that we use to diagnose the diseases that affect our children.

Science doesn't care about what may or may not be obvious to you. It deals in evidence. Your intuition is not evidence. And if you don't accept that, I suggest that you give up your use of computers, and forswear all modern medicine, and resolve never to fly anywhere.

jewish philosopher said...

Darwinian evolution has no relationship to real science whatsoever. It's simply a piece of atheistic propaganda.

You may as well say that racism is science.

Geoff said...

?Darwinian evolution has no relationship to real science whatsoever. It's simply a piece of atheistic propaganda.

What a curious assertion. I presume that you have evidence for this.

At its core, evolution is simply the result of three things:
- reproduction with variation
- resource scarcity
- differential success

Which bit do you dispute?

Evolution has been demonstrated in full view (not merely in historical records) in so many ways, with "species" ranging from bacteria to moths to finches to software automata(!) that it is hard to believe you would dispute it.

badrabbi said...

Geof,

JP and his ilk will dispute the existence of the moon should the latter contradict their belief in God.

You see, for them, all these discussions are not open and honest exchanges of opinion. They are not interested in presenting evidence or consider your evidence with an open mind. No, they are simply interested in perpetuating an antiquated idea and they will do so come hell or high water.

They will defend atrocious ideas such as slavery if necessary. They will tell you that most established scientific principles, ones that unify our understanding of biology, are nothing but propaganda. They will do so because they need to hang on to their faith.

I ask once more: What sort of evidence does a theist require to be convinced that there is no benevolent God?

Just for the record, I am willing to state what I require in order to be convinced that there is a god…

jewish philosopher said...

As I point out in this post, and in many other places, evolution has never been demonstrated in the one place where it matters - the fossil record. On the contrary, serial special creation is seen in the fossils.

Unless one wants to count eugenics, Darwinian evolution has never produced any practical technology, and with good reason. It's purely bogus.

Really convincing fossil evidence of evolution would, in my humble opinion, discredit Judaism and perhaps theism in general.

Geoff said...

As I point out in this post, and in many other places, evolution has never been demonstrated in the one place where it matters - the fossil record.

What would you accept as fossil evidence of evolution? Please be precise, particularly about the chronological aspects of your criteria. (It's amazing how many people reject evolution when their real objection is to geology. If the earth were only a few thousand years old, we'd all have to give up on evolution. But it isn't. So we don't.)

jewish philosopher said...

Well, Geoff, I don't think I'm really asking for that much. After all, we know from everyday experience that like begets like. If I see a squirrel, I know it's parents were squirrels not goldfish. Darwinism challenges this and makes an extraordinary claim - that gradually, over a long time, like begets not like. The goldfish will have squirrels as descendants.

My response is, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. Show me the proof.

I think seeing dozens of examples of gradual, step by step, change from let's say worm to fish or fish to reptile, with beautifully clear chains of thousands of intermediary fossilized steps would do it for me. Considering that billions of species have appeared throughout history and billions of fossils have been discovered in the past 200 years, finding let's say 10 well documented cases like that should not be a big deal. But in fact, there are no such chains of fossils anywhere. The closest thing may be the horse, which is no where near that clear.

Geoff said...

I hope you don't make up silly numbers like that when you're doing your day job writing software. You do realize, I hope, that your "billions" make no sense whatsoever?

And what, exactly, does "like begets like" mean? We know that like begets slightly different - that's how we've turned wolves into creatures that are as unlike as dachshunds and great danes in just a few thousand years. And citing "everyday experience" (yet again) isn't going to be adequate for understanding what happens when we bump up that kind of time scale by three or four orders ofd magnitude.

I guess you really don't understand the effects of continuous small changes over geological time. I recommend that you read Dawkins' "The Ancestors Tale", and concentrate on the mathematics. Meanwhile, I'm out of here: this is getting tedious, and I have software to write - using sensible numbers...

jewish philosopher said...

Geoff, I stand corrected. In fact it is estimated that only tens of millions of species have ever existed. However finding ten really clear fossil examples of evolution should still be a reasonable goal, if evolution actually happened.

Like begets like means dogs will only have puppies, not elephants or eagles as Darwin proposed. If you want me to believe otherwise, show me the fossils.