Speaking of challenges to Darwinism:
In the 1860s Charles Darwin proposed a theory of the origin of species. He predicted it would be solidly supported by fossils when enough had been found to fill the gaps. But the fossil record is still just about as gap-py now as it was then: new discoveries are leaving as many empty transitional slots as they are filling. And nobody has yet observed a definite instance of speciation, especially one that involves new structures or functions, in all that time, despite up to 40,000 generations (of animals, bugs, plants, etc.) of trying.
– Tom Gilson
Tom’s blog is called Thinking Christian; it’s a site I visit often, as he usually has some interesting things to say. I like Christians who think about things; we need more of them.
You may also want to check out this; it is a short commentary on an article in Nature about the need to look for intermediate evolutionary life forms (a notable quote: Indeed, in their opposition to evolution, the proponents of ‘intelligent design’ have seized on our current ignorance of intermediates.”).
The issue, however, that I want to discuss is the challenge that entropy is to Darwinism. Entropy has often been raised as a challenge to Darwinism, as the 2nd law of thermodynamics essentially says that everything tends toward entropy or disorder, and this is in direct opposition to the claims that through a combination of random events and natural selection, without any “outside” influence, life began and became more complex and ordered. I’ve read where evolutionists summarily dismiss this argument as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics only deals with temperature distribution. Ah… but does it?
Granville Sewell, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas El Paso, writes in A Second Look at the Second Law:
However, it was soon realized that other types of order can be defined which also never increase in a closed system, for example, we can define a “carbon order” associated with the distribution of carbon diffusing in a solid, using the same equations, and through an identical analysis show that this order also continually decreases, in a closed system. With time, the second law came to be interpreted more and more generally, and today most discussions of the second law in physics textbooks offer examples of entropy increases (or order decreases, since we are defining order to be the opposite of entropy) which have nothing to do with heat conduction or diffusion, such as the shattering of a wine glass or the demolition of a building.
Sewell, being a mathematician, points out that “The second law is all about probability, it uses probability at the microscopic level to predict macroscopic change…” This is then in opposition to non-IDist evolutionary theory, which is “widely accepted in the scientific world as proof that natural selection — alone among all natural forces — can create order out of disorder, and even design human brains, with human consciousness. Only the layman seems to see the problem with this logic.”
So, it seems we are back to a point I made previously, that sometimes thinking too much makes you blind to the basic principle of Occam’s Razor.
Sewell recognizes the common response to this proposition, that the Earth itself is not a closed system, as energy is being received from the sun, etc. The reverse-entropy created by evolution is small in relation to the total entropy of the universe, so it all balances (or unbalances) out. This, however, appears to be mathematical hogwash: “… an extremely improbable event is not rendered less improbable by the occurrence of other events which are more probable.”
Being a mathematician, he is uniquely qualified to comment on the mathematical equations which are the foundation for the theory. As it turns out, the creation of order from disorder is no less improbable in an open system; in fact, the only way for order to increase is for order to be imported into the system! Therefore, he says, “THE EVOLUTIONIST … cannot avoid the question of probability by saying that anything can happen in an open system, he is finally forced to argue that it only seems extremely improbable, but really isn’t …”
The article goes on to point out a number of the other inconsistencies of Darwinism, and how (these are my words, not his) philosophical materialism is a “science of the gaps” approach, and it’s worth reading.
Again, for what it’s worth, a naturalistic approach to evolution has to be doubted in light of Occam’s Razor. That is, unless you presuppose philosophical materialism, because then any simpler, more probable (and some would add obvious) explanation has merely been excluded from consideration.