Monday, August 26, 2013

Faith Based Science

The debate regarding God’s existence has been raging for centuries but recently the Atheists seem to have seized the initiative as their numbers increase.  Of course the challenge the Atheists present to the Theist is to prove that God exists.  That proof must stand the test of the scientific process in order to be proof.  What has been missing is the challenge to the Atheist to prove God doesn’t exist using the scientific method.  Naturally neither side has been able to show convincing proof so the debate rages on.  But recently this debate has become more strident as the Atheists present scientific findings on Evolution, First Cause, and the Origin of Life.  All of these theories – which is what they are – presented as facts even though the “facts” are actually presumptions, assumptions, opinions, and guesses. .  The era of Faith Based Science is upon us.

 The foundation of the debate on God is the Origin of Life.  Exactly how did life begin?  For the Theist the answer is God – in fact for the Theist God created the Heavens and the Earth and the question is answered.  For the Atheist that is no answer at all because it cannot be demonstrated (or duplicated) by science and to accept God as the answer is to avoid answering the question and represents intellectual laziness if not outright stupidity.  But the scientists are faced with this fundamental problem which fails the scientific test of being demonstrable and repeatable.  The challenge is for the scientist is to demonstrate how life evolved from inorganic matter. 

Essentially the scientific position is that life on Earth began as a random event triggered by some unknown process or combination of events resulting in self replicating molecule.  To date experiments using inorganic components have succeeded in creating organic molecules from inorganic materials but have failed to yield a living organism.  Complicating the matter is the materials used in creating the organic molecules are toxic to life or the resultant molecules are toxic to life.  But there is an even more difficult scientific hurdle to overcome and that is the fact that the probability of DNA being randomly generated is so great as to be impossible.  Recognizing that life being created as a random event or even a series of random events is so improbable the “scientists” have postulated a new theory called “Panspermia”.  Essentially this theory states that life on Earth was introduced via a meteorite that carried life to Earth.  Of course this really doesn’t answer the question because we still don’t know how life began.  The obvious conclusion is that scientists really don’t know how life began but they know God wasn’t involved.

If science can’t really offer any scientific proof about the Origin of Life what about the origin of the universe – the “First Cause” or Big Bang.  Science can trace the universe and everything in it back to the first nanosecond.—the instant of creation.  Of course the problem is what was there before the moment of creation?  For those who believe in God, the answer is God but that isn’t acceptable to the scientist because it cannot be proved via science.  The problem lies with space itself since it was the Big Bang that created space meaning there was not place for that bundle of energy to exist prior to the creation of the space in which it could exist. 

To solve this problem scientifically scientists have postulated various possibilities, none involving God.  Several theories have been postulated but none have been accepted as the probable one. Essentially the scientists agree that none of their theories can be tested or proved but they argue that that’s the best they can do.  The best answer they have come up with so far is that the universe emerged spontaneously from a random quantum fluctuation in some sort of primordial quantum vacuum.  Once you have absorbed this description and examine it critically it does raise some questions.  It assumes that this quantum vacuum that the entire world of quantum particles and interactions already exists.  Please not that the particles have mass and thus must have some space in which to exist.  All of these particles are composed of energy and a zero energy quantum state is impossible.  Scientists like Hawkings and other scientists claim that the universe emerged out of quantum nothingness. They are making a claim that does not meet the scientific test much less a logical one.  But those who deny God but believe in science accept this because they have faith in science.  And brings us to the third problem faced by science – Evolution.

Evolution is a much thornier problem because there is so much fossil evidence supporting it.  Scientists can trace life back millions of years and show the march from sea to land to the air.  They have created charts and diagrams showing how one animal or group of animals has descended from a common ancestor.  Unfortunately many of the examples used are actually simply examples of environmental adaptation and not speciation.  Commonly there are gaps of millions of years and the fossil record does not preserve these speciation events so these connections are assumed.  The major assumption is that these ‘assumed” lineages are that these intermediate fossils exist at the proper point and thus the transitions are plausible. 

The speciation events are virtually impossible to document and even within the Cenozoic these are hard to document.  In fact if the specimens are separated by more than 100,000 years the fossil record cannot show anything about how a species arose.  In effect all of the claims and charts showing the relationships between species during the Precambrian, Paleozoic, and Mesozoic eras are assumptions and not demonstrable facts.  The Cenozoic is more recent but even here where the fossil record is more complete the evolutionary changes are incomplete and the transitions between species are estimated but not fully documented in the fossil record.

This almost total lack of evidence regarding speciation leads to the problem of evolution over long periods versus the problem that some species just suddenly appear in the fossil record with no precursors.  This has led to the theory of “Punctuated Equilibrium” which claims that some speciation events occur over very short periods of 20,000 years but no more than 80,000.  The problem is that there is really very little evidence to separate the adaptation of a species to its environment and the separation of one species into a totally new one.

While the scientists claim they have the answers to the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution, the reality is these are just claims largely unsupported by facts.  In fact the scientific answers to these questions are filled with words like, believed to be, estimated, and probably.  The logical conclusion is that science and scientists rely on faith in science but that faith is really no different than religious faith.