Friday, March 30, 2007

Am I a Christian?

One might think that since I have posted some blog entries slamming the theory of evolution that I must be a Christian -- but I am not. I am a deist. In other words I believe God exists but don't think God interferes with the affairs of mankind or natural laws of the universe. An atheist once said to me that "if God exists she wouldn't want or need to be worshiped" and I agree with that. There are some things I believe about God, but I wouldn't want to try and defend them on an intellectual basis because I think that mankind is about as capable of understanding God as a tree is of understanding us. I don't think God answers prayers but I admit to praying occasionally just in case he does, and usually only in regard to the health and well being of my loved ones.

I was a Christian from the time that I was 14 until my mid thirties when my thinking gradually moved away from Christianity. As a Christian I was very studious and read the entire Bible possibly as many as twenty times. Most Christians have never read the whole Bible and if they did they might have some doubts about how inspired it is. Nevertheless, I still believe God exists in large part because I think the most commonly believed alternative (evolution by natural selection and random mutation) isn't plausible. I could believe in evolution by intelligent design if I thought there was sufficient evidence in the fossil record to prove that evolution ever occurred -- but I don't. Generally I think evolutionists interpret the fossil record according to their world view, and sometimes embellish it. I will admit that since I am a trained mathematician I might require a bit more evidence as proof than the average person.

I can say that I agree with a substantial amount of the moral teachings in the Bible (even if I'm not that good at following them) but that doesn't make me a Christian. Jesus said "do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12) and I agree with that -- but so would a lot of Muslins, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics and atheists. I guess I would also agree with Paul the Apostle when he said the law of God is written on every man's heart (paraphrasing Romans 2:15) and that explains why an atheist, a Christian and a Buddhist might have similar moral perspectives.

My point is that I believe in God, not because I am a Christian, as many suppose, but because it seems to be the most reasonable explanation for our existence. And when I say reasonable I mean "compatible with science". As I have explained in some of my blog enrties, I don’t think that evolution is compatible with hard science (repeatable experimentation). I view it more as the dogma of atheists.

Many people commonly judge people whose world view differs substantially from theirs as idiots and I sometimes have to endure such bigotry. For those who are curious about my educational background, I have a B.S. in Mathematics (1981) from the University of Washington which is considered Public Ivy. I substantially exceeded the requirements for the degree by completing the pure and the numerical analysis math options, two years of physics, and a substantial number of computer science and engineering courses. I also attended graduate school at the University of Washington and earned an M.S. in Applied Mathematics (1982). My application field was Computer Science so I was required to complete graduate level courses in that field for my degree.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fabricated Evidence of Evolution at Balboa Park's Museum of Man

While on vacation in San Diego last week Roxy and I visited Balboa Park and some of the museums inside it including the Museum of Man and the Museum of Natural History. In the Museum of Man on display were several sculptured replicas of fossils, most of which I had read about on Wikipedia or other places. There were also several man-ape-like models on display. Whenever I look at this stuff I wonder how much of this is real and how much is conjecture. Obviously the amount of hair placed on models is in the conjecture catagory and is a little humorous, but how much else is?

One would think that sculptured replicas of fossils would have no fabrication but I didn't find this to be the case. For example, I knew that the Java Man find consisted of a skullcap, three teeth and a femur -- and since the femur was found 50 feet away from the skull its a leap of faith to conclude that these bones belonged to the same animal or species. When I looked at the replica of Java Man's fossilized bones there were more bones shown than were actually found. The reconstruction included six teeth and several bones were added possibly to connect the teeth to the skullcap.

Educational Note: The head has 29 bones; 22 of these bones form the exterior of the head, 6 are small ear bones and the last is the hyoid bone used for speech. A skullcap consists of three of these bones: the frontal bone, the parietal bone, and the occipital bone.

The question running through my mind is why are there six teeth in this sculptued replica instead of three? I know it's a small thing but why did they add more teeth? And why did they add more bones (not such a small thing)? If they want to connect the teeth to the skullcap I think it would have been more informative to have the replicated bones a slightly different color from the fabricated bones and to say so. Instead they present a consideral amount of fabrication as actual.

So then the question arises: how much of the museum is fabricated and how much is actual? I am not a paleontologist but I noticed quite a bit more fabrication -- like the Peking Man fossil replica which was right next to Java Man. There was no mention of the history of Peking Man fossils. (If you click the link to the Wikipedia artical on Peking Man note that they show a picture of a complete skull fabricated from a skullcap which was allegedly lost at sea). I was beginning to wonder if I would find the fraudulant Piltdown Man on display but it wasn't there.

I find it hypocritical that evolutionists refer the theory of intelligent design as psuedoscience. Maybe it is -- but no more so than the theory of evolution.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Thermodynamics, Entropy and Evolution

I have read several arguments attempting to prove that the tendency for entropy to increase does not contradict the theory of evolution. It seems that in general these arguments are restricted to the second law of themodynamics which is one manifiestation of entropy. The argument goes something like this: Since the sun adds energy to earth, earth is not a thermodynamically closed system. A system consisting of the sun and earth combined is (or approximates) a thermodynamically closed system and its entropy increases, even as the entropy of the earth decreases, thus allowing evolution.

And I want to acknowlege that if you think of entropy only in terms of its thermodynamic properties, the argument seems reasonable. But what I want to make clear is that entropy also applies to the order of a system and information within a system -- such as DNA. And the sun does not add information to the earth's system -- it only adds energy.

One argument that I read suggested that entropy only applies to thermodynamics and that it is not related to order or disorder at all. He then went on to state that there is only one mathematical equation connecting entropy to disorder, namely,

S = k ln W

which is a statistical dynamical description of entropy. Only one mathematical equation -- hmmm. Wait just a minute here -- it's not like we just found a skullcap, a femur, and three teeth and managed through wild conjecture to construct Java man. This is a mathematical equation and you can't discount it because there is only one. Having a Masters degrees in Applied Mathematics I feel a little offended by this attitude (wink).

As a side note S = K ln W is not the only mathematical equation connecting entropy to disorder. Shannon and others have developed several mathematical models to describe entropy in terms of order and information.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Entropy versus Evolution

Probably one of the most annoying laws of science is the fact that entropy tends to increase. I am reminded of this whenever my wireless mouse stops working. When that happens it means that the batteries powering my mouse have reached maximum entropy. Well maybe that's a bad example of how annoying entropy can be because if it wasn't for entropy the mouse wouldn't work at all.

But when I look into the mirror that's when entropy really annoys me. That's when I notice that I don't have as much hair as I used to and that it is turning gray. Basically I notice that I am growing old. Human aging and its associated diseases and conditions can be traced to a gradual increase in cell division errors in tissues throughout the body. This process begins slowly and increases gradually with advancing age. We can do things to slow the increase in cell division errors (or speed it up) but we can't stop it. If not by accident, we all eventually die due to the increasing entropy of our own DNA.

Now what I have just said is based on indisputable scientific fact which is readily observed (unfortunately) by every single one of us. But cell division errors not only affect us as individuals they also affect groups of individuals when these errors are of the type that can be transmitted to offspring. These errors are genetic disorders which vary in severity and there around 4,000 genetic disorders that are currently known. Most disorders are rare and may affect one person in every several thousands or millions. Others, like early onset lactose intolerance, are more prevalent.

Entropy predicts that over time inherited genetic disorders will become more prevelent within a species and will eventually cause extinction. This prediction is confirmed by the fossil record and is contrary to the belief that genetic mutations lead to superior genetic organization, that is, evolution.

Evolutionists argue that genetic mutatution plus natural selection has resulted in evolution. This leads us to the cosmological question: Is natural selection sufficient enough to overcome entropy?

Now since I am a software developer, mutation (development) and selection (testing) of complex systems is an everyday activity for me. So there are similarities between what I do for a living and the concept of evolution. This difference is that DNA is considerably more complex than software. Yet no one develops software by random mutation and testing alone. Instead of random mutation the software development process employs intelligent design. I don't believe that random mutation has any place in the software development process -- so why should I believe in evolution?