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Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Science of God - IV

This would be the 4th entry regarding Dr. Schroeder’s book, The Science of God. Very interesting stuff to me here… of course as I mentioned in the most recent entry, there are many responses to his work and opinions litter the web with ideas contrary and in support of similar ideas. I would encourage a quick google search of those pages if one might be interested.

One of the underlying themes that Dr. Schroeder keeps coming back to is the issue of time – could the complexity of current life forms have arisen by random genetic events in the 70 million years during which all phyla appear based on our fossil record. According to his mathematics, he says the answer is simple – no.

In this way, he discusses one of the most commonly heard supports from the creationist camp as to proof that evolution in the Darwinian sense is false. Dr. Schroeder’s effort has been the only thoughtful argument to that effect I have yet heard – and I am at least willing to concede that he may be partially correct. This argument is based on the fact that there are functionally similar components found in different species within different phyla – specifically the eye/complex visual systems which are present in 5 different body systems. According to Dr. Schroeder’s calculations, the chances of the correct amino acids arranging themselves in the correct pattern 5 different times to produce this similar functionality is 1 in 10127 ^ 5 – this number is really just not conceptual.

Dr. Schroeder does concede however that the chances are greatly enhanced if in fact the functional components were the result of a common ancestor. The problem lies in the fact that they don’t have a common ancestor – at least evidence of one has never been found. He discusses for example the octopus eye vs the vertebrae eye. Though the respective eyes are nearly the same in function, the octopus eye comes from optically sensitive skin cells and the vertebrae eye comes from optically sensitive brain cells. This seemingly small difference actually establishes a whole host of structural and genetic differences – without compromising function. Dr. Schroeder again assimilates the chances of amino acids aligning themselves in such a way in two different genetic lines to produce such complex and efficient function would be similar to the probability of randomly producing a Shakespearian sonnet by random typing.

Moreover, consider the 2nd law of thermodynamics – which states that everything in nature has pressure to move from a state of order to a state of disorder. This is the “chaos theory” (i.e. why a cup of tea cools when sitting on a table by itself or why the same cup when it falls on the floor and breaks does not and will not reassemble). By that reasoning, the progression of life from simple organisms to more complex organisms has been an upstream battle the whole time. Dr. Schroeder states that if biology is governed by the laws of physics – which is certainly is – the process becomes even more unlikely. However, as Schroeder also notes, just like in our daily experience, the transition from disorder to order is not impossible if the system has direction or management. Just like the understanding of the word “day” in the book of Genesis, if one were to go back to Hebrew writing, apparently the transition from “night to day” can actually be translated “order to disorder.” The following website describes how this translation is possible better than I can here:

Since biology is governed by the laws of physics, nearly (if not) everything – and especially evolution by random mutation – can be boiled down to probability. The result of this fact would be that these processes would not have an ultimate goal – they come about by chance, like flipping a coin. I think Dr. Schroeder has a good point when he states that our current level of order w/in human beings and other complex life-form is rather improbable if not impossible when considered with the 70 million year timeline and the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

As always, thanks for reading. J AMDG

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