“Science Meets Religion”: Well-Organized Information on Evolution and Creation

There are many excellent resources available on the interest which address controversial issues in the creation/evolution dialogue. One I just ran across is the “Science Meets Religion” site, which is the creation of David H. Bailey of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (recently retired) and the University of California, Davis. The site is very well-organized and accessible. Bailey sees no grounds for disagreement between science and religion.

The  Science Meets Religion  home page has links to an active blog, lists of essays and further resources, and also to “Q&A” pages that deal with questions in specific areas, such as “Theology”, “Physics and Cosmology”, and “Evolution, Creationism and Intelligent “.

The Q&A: Evolution, Creationism and Intelligent Design  page lists 26 questions that are germane to current discussions in this area. I will show a snapshot of the first 18 of these questions, to give their flavor:

DBailey Sci Meets Relig QA

Each question has a link to the short essay answering that question. Bailey is familiar with young earth creationist literature, and provides clear, relevant responses. Because Bailey has worked in probability and computational biology, he is able to expertly treat issues of information and evolution.

In his answer to the question, “ Can evolution generate truly novel biological features?” he lists 13 clear examples of new features or capabilities which evolved within a few thousand years (e.g. human adaptations), a few decades, or in just a few years (e.g. Trinidad guppies), showing that the pace of evolution is not impossibly slow.

Advertisements

About ScottBuchanan

Ph D chemical engineer, interested in intersection of science with my evangelical Christian faith. This intersection includes creation(ism) and miracles. I also write on random topics of interest, such as economics, folding scooters, and composting toilets. Background: B.A. in Near Eastern Studies, a year at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a year working as a plumber and a lab technician. Then a B.S.E. and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. Since then, conducted research in an industrial laboratory. Published a number of papers on heterogeneous catalysis, and an inventor on over 100 U.S. patents in diverse technical areas.
This entry was posted in Age of Earth, Evolution and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to “Science Meets Religion”: Well-Organized Information on Evolution and Creation

  1. JimV says:

    The reference seems well-written and well-organized. Thanks for the link.

  2. Pingback: Evolution and creationism; a valuable new resource | Primate's Progress

  3. This is interesting because I have recently been exposed to Perry Marshall’s new book Evolution 2.0. Perry is an expert in information science, and he believes that DNA is a code. Not in a metaphorical sense, but in a real sense.

    I haven’t read the book, but I’ve been following him for a few years now and he had a video series on it a few years back on YouTube where he fleshed out some of these ideas.

    Sounded compelling at the time, and a part of.me would like it to be true. To have some solid tangible evidence of a wholly spiritual and invisible Creator of all. But I’m pretty much convinced this is impossible and that belief in a Creator requires exactly what the Bible says it does: faith.

    Not many Christians like only having faith to go on.

  4. Terry Higham says:

    The Bible of course speaks of faith as necessary to receive the word of God through his son Jesus, but it also affirms that by conremplating his works of creation human reason alone can bring us to belief in God. The best examples are:
    But even so, they have no excuse: if they are capable of acquiring enough knowledge to be able to investigate the world, how have they been so slow to find its Master? (Wisdom 13:8-9)
    For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them, since God made it plain to them: ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting word have been clearly seen by the mind’s understanding of created things. And so these people have no excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)

  5. Terry Higham says:

    The Bible of course speaks of faith as necessary to receive the word of God through his son Jesus, but it also affirms that by contemplating his works of creation human reason alone can bring us to belief in God. The best examples are:
    But even so, they have no excuse: if they are capable of acquiring enough knowledge to be able to investigate the world, how have they been so slow to find its Master? (Wisdom 13:8-9)
    For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them, since God made it plain to them: ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting word have been clearly seen by the mind’s understanding of created things. And so these people have no excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)

  6. larry says:

    IN the section on the Big Bang, where is the answer to the “Horizon problem”, and also in information section the problem of “Genetic Entropy”?

    • I will share a few thoughts on these issues, but if you find something lacking in Dr. Bailey’s discussion, you should probably bring it up with him, not me. He obviously cannot cover every topic on his site.

      It happens that I am familiar with John Sanford’s “Genetic Entropy” book. Since it was touted at the time as the most compelling refutation of evolution, I spent considerable time examining its arguments and comparing it with the facts in the scientific literature. This was at a time, some ten years ago, when I was trying to decide if evolution is true or not.
      What I found was that Sanford systematically ignored or suppressed the mass of evidence which completely refutes his claims. I wrote up my review of his book here: https://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/stan-4/

      (I’ll add that the evidence shows that, for large populations where natural selection is allowed to operate, genomes in general do not decay like Sanford claims: Microbes have existed for untold millions of generations, and even small mammals like mice and rabbits which reproduce one or more times a year have existed with humans for thousands of generations in historic times, and many more thousands of generations in prehistoric times. If genomes of these rodents were declining by say 0.1% per year, then in 3000 years since 1000 BC, they should be down to 5% of their original fitness (0.999 raised to 3000 power = 0.05) So where is the evidence of super-rabbits in 1000 BC or even 1000 AD ? Laboratory experiments with Drosophila fruitflies have been going on for a hundred years. At about two weeks per generation, that represents some 2600 generations. To my knowledge, there has not been a systemic decline in viability of the laboratory populations in this timeframe. In modern times in the West, we have small families and do medical intervention to keep people alive, so normal natural selection is not so much in play, and hence modern human genomes may well be deteriorating, but that would be the exception, not the rule).
      ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^^ ^ ^ ^^ ^ ^ ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^^
      The “Horizon problem” is only a problem if you assume a constant rate of expansion of the universe since the Big Bang; multiple lines of evidence now show that this simplistic assumption is not valid. This “problem” stems from the observation that all the widely separated regions of space have the same background temperature. In the simplest version of Big Bang cosmology, these regions would have not have been in sufficient contact to thermally equilibrate. The theory of “cosmic inflation” resolves this problem. In this view, shortly after the Big Bang, there was a brief epoch of very fast expansion of the universe, after which the rate of the expansion of space declined to something like the value measured today. The rate of expansion has been measured to be increasing slightly over the past several billion years.

      Not only does cosmic inflation resolve the issues of thermal homogeneity, it also accounts for the observed flatness of the universe and for the absence of magnetic monopoles. Thus, cosmic inflation theory is robust and broadly useful and is endorsed by the majority of physicists. A minority of physicists are less enthusiastic, but their objections to inflation are largely on aesthetic (e.g. inflation theory seeming ad hoc or requiring special initial conditions), not substantive grounds. No underlying mechanism for cosmic inflation is known, but that is not a reason to reject it; no definitive mechanism is known, either, for the current gradual acceleration of the expansion of the universe which can be readily deduced from observations.

      Clearly there is much we don’t yet understand about what happened in the first seconds of the lifetime of the universe. But after that, the general features of development of the universe are reasonably well understood, and correspond to a very old universe, not a 6000 year old universe. As Dr. Bailey puts it on his site,

      “The results of recent satellite measurements and large-scale particle physics experiments have enabled scientists to confidently extrapolate the history of our universe back to an inconceivably early epoch after the big bang, and have been able to date the big bang as an event approximately 13.8 billion years ago. Certainly there are significant puzzles remaining in the theory, not the least of which are questions about the inflation process, as mentioned above. But even some of the alternate theories to inflation, such as the “big bounce” scenario, still involve a universe that arose approximately 13.8 billion years ago, and then expanded and elaborated into today’s universe: all available data requires this conclusion.
      In other words, the overall outline of the big-bang evolution of the universe, as summarized above, is on very solid ground, both theoretically and empirically.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s