Friday, June 20, 2008

EVOLUTION


"Another rare voice of reason has entered the evolution debate. Matt Chait presents a very cogent explanation of a third option, that needs to be considered by anyone who is interested in the entire science vs. religion question. 
Chait's Blog, Beyond Evolution: Is There God After Dawkins? suggests an answer to the question that neither of the warring sides are likely to find appealing. Which means he's probably closer to the truth than either. Some of his posts are lengthy and involved, but it is a 'must read' for anyone who has given some thought to this issue."   Michael H., The Daily Grail   
If you are bewildered by "evolution" and can't quite grasp how our once lifeless planet is now teeming with conscious, intelligent, living beings, and you share that bewilderment with an evolutionist, they will often say that you just don't have an appreciation for the amount of time involved. "How much time?" you may ask. "Millions of years," they reply. When you still look skeptical they will say, "Hundreds of millions, even billions of years." And if you still seem unconvinced they will say, "Endless time," thereby throwing you a concept that you cannot possibly imagine or appreciate and ending the conversation.

Yet, is it possible to accept without question the 'fossil record', including the basic accuracy of all the calculations regarding time, and still be completely skeptical of evolution, at least the way it is currently viewed by modern science? Absolutely! In this post I will show you how an examination of the fossil record as it is currently understood, can lead one to a completely different conclusion then the one commonly accepted by Darwinists and neo-Darwinists. And by evolution I mean the supposed explanation for how one species changes into another, how we evolve in complexity from 'simple' one celled creatures to human beings. I am not taking issue with the obvious adaptive variations of traits that happen within a species. I am not taking issue with the genetic mingling that happens with sexual reproduction and how the resulting varieties of genes within a species allows that species to withstand threats that may be fatal to some, but not all, of its members. And I am not taking issue with the obvious fact that we are all trying to survive and that in order to survive we must make constant adaptations to our environment. These things obviously happen. What I am taking issue with is the idea that life began as merely an evolution of chemicals and the idea, which has never been observed, that random, accidental mutations can lead, and have led, and are the only path to lead, from one species to another, from one phyla to another and even from one kingdom to another.


Let's look at the 'time- line.' Your understanding of the 'time-line' may depend on how long ago you studied evolution in school. When I studied it the impression we had was that very slowly, inexorably, over many, many millions of years, in primeval tide pools, organic matter would float unmolested by predators and with the help of energy provided by fortuitous lightning strikes (many thousands of them and each lasting one week or longer) this organic matter would naturally congeal and combine until, by an incredible piece of luck, it managed to coalesce into a replicating molecule with a genetic code. Then, after many, many more millions of years, this replicating molecule would 'learn' to grow a body, to digest and eliminate food, to discern what it needed from what was harmful in its surroundings, to metabolize energy, to grow, to be born and to die, in other words, it would learn to become a cell. And the way that this was done and continued to be done as the cell changed into more advanced forms of life, was by the random and very, very occasional process of mutation, or an accident in the reproductive copying of the genes, that would produce a creature better able to survive than it's predecessors. This genetically 'improved' creature would then flourish until another fortuitous accident would happen, which could be many millions of years later, creating a newer and even more adaptable and sophisticated creature which would lead the evolutionary way until the next fortuitous accident. And this would continue, mutation to mutation, as we moved slowly from single-celled creatures, to more complex microscopic creatures, to molds, to worms, to fish, to reptiles, to mammals and finally to humans.


The current understanding, however, does not give any support to the notion of an endless time line punctuated at regular intervals by these mutational advances. In addition to becoming more sophisticated in their calculations of the age of fossils, scientists have learned much more about the geological and astronomical formation and history of the earth. Most of the information that I will be using in this post comes from a book, "Rare Earth," written by a geologist, Peter D. Ward, and an astronomer, Donald Brownlee, both of the University of Washington. I will not be discussing their main hypothesis, that many, many geological and astronomical events conspired to make advanced life on this planet possible, and therefore advanced life on other planets is probably extremely rare since so many unique events including our distance from the sun, the radio-active core of the earth, plate tectonics, the shape of our orbit around the sun, the sun's distance from the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, long periods of intense glacial cold, etc., etc.; all these conditions were absolutely necessary for the development of complex and advanced life. In making their argument they have put together a wonderful compendium of the latest thinking concerning the history of the development of life and the latest evolutionary theories and conjectures. It is this compendium that I will be borrowing from. Anything in quotation marks from here on out will be from their book, "Rare Earth" unless otherwise noted.


How Old Is Life?


"The Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago from the accretion of variously sized 'planetesimals,' or small bodies of rock and frozen gases. For the first several hundred million years of its existence, a heavy bombardment of meteors pelted the planet with lashing violence. Both the lava-like temperatures of Earth's forming surface and the energy released by the barrage of the incoming meteors during this heavy bombardment phase would surely have created conditions inhospitable to life....Clearly, there would have been no chance for life to form or survive on the planet's surface. It was hell on Earth."


"Most scientists are confident that life had already arisen 3.8 to 3.9 billion years ago, at about the time when the heavy bombardment was coming to an end....As soon as the rain of asteroids ceased and surface temperatures on Earth permanently fell below the boiling point of water, life seems to have appeared."


Wow! Now that's a very different idea than what we learned in school, isn't it? What happened to those organic molecules brewing in a primeval soup for hundreds of millions of years? And those were hundreds of millions of years to assemble a 'replicating molecule'. This 'replicator' still had to 'learn' how to build a body, how to grow, how to be born, how to keep its shape together, how to accumulate materials for future replications, how to digest, how to eliminate, and how to be able to discern what is harmful from what is beneficial in its environment. Oh, yes, and the evidence indicates that these first creatures were photosynthetic. So they needed time to discover how to metabolize energy from carbon dioxide, as well. These are all 'discoveries,' by the way, that almost four billion years later, none of our most brilliant researchers have been able to discover for themselves. Not one of them can produce anything from scratch that either metabolizes, grows, replicates, digests, or any of it. The reason that has been given as to why lifeless molecules can accomplish what our most brilliant human minds cannot has always been 'endless time'. Yet, what has been discovered and now commonly accepted among scientists is that as soon as environmental conditions were established that made life possible, life was there. The time excuse no longer holds. So how did it happen?



I should also mention that there is very strong evidence that there was life deep below the surface of the earth that even predates these ancient photosynthesizers. Chemoautotrophic life that metabolized energy not from the sun but from chemical reactions, and specifically from the mixing of highly reduced fluids from volcanic activity spewing up through hydrothermal vents in the ocean floor reacting with cooler and less reduced ocean water. Today there are vast colonies of these extremophilic (heat loving) and chemoautotrophic microbes that live adjacent to hydrothermal vents whose genetic make-up, if current ways of estimating these things are accurate, make them the most ancient of all bacteria. So it seems that even when the surface of the earth was still way too toxic and violent for any life to survive and especially for the fragile formation of life from organic material, there was life with a completely different metabolism and a whole different tolerance for heat, thriving way below the surface in the relatively stable (as compared with the surface at that time) environment of hydrothermal vents.


Both of these discoveries, of photosynthetic life on the surface of the earth and chemoautotrophic life at the thermal vents, completely puts the kibosh on any nonsense about a primeval soup of organic molecules floating 'unmolested' (Dawkins, 'The Selfish Gene') in Edenic tide pools on this earth for hundreds of millions of years prior to the arrival, thanks to thousands of week long, perfectly timed lightning strikes, of an assembled molecule that just started replicating by itself. Any bonding of organic material would not stay in tact for five minutes in the roiling, boiling atmosphere of earth before 3.8 billion years.


So, how to explain this sudden appearance of life below the surface, as soon as the environment was in any way habitable, and on the surface as soon as that environment was even marginally habitable. The response in the scientific community has been to drastically shrink the estimated time for both pre-biotic evolution (the creation and assemblage of organic materials leading up to a replicating molecule) and for the evolution from replicating molecules to bacteria, from several hundreds of millions of years to perhaps ten million, a time that, given the limits of our abilities to date things that ancient with any precision, could be within the margin of error of phenomena that we would call 'simultaneous'. Let's look at this assumption in the light of what is known of extremophiles, and, in particular, of hyperthermophiles, bacteria that thrive at temperatures at and above the boiling point of water.


Hyperthermophiles


Biochemist Mike Adams of the University of Georgia writes, "It now seems clear that conventional life forms didn't give rise to these hyperthermophilic bacteria; rather all conventional life forms evolved from high temperature organisms. In other words, you and I are adaptations to much colder (below boiling point) environments."


Adams writes further, "....enzymes produced by conventional organisms, and the protein material that comprises them, are very sensitive to high temperatures. Consider how an egg white--almost pure protein--instantly turns solid when dropped into boiling water. The high temperature destroys the protein structure, and when the proteins fall apart and precipitate out, they no longer function."


So how are hyperthermophiles able to exist and function, even thrive, in such deadly temperatures? Adams writes, "Studies, including chemical analyses, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy and crystallography, have revealed that hyperthermophilic enzymes and proteins are made with the same building blocks as conventional proteins and enzymes. The hyperthermophilic proteins simply have more chemical bonds inside of them. The result is a "super glue" that maintains the structure of protein even at high temperatures."


Please understand clearly the full implications of these discoveries. Hyperthermophilic microbes thrive in an environment where none of their individual organic chemical components could exist even for a minute. They exist because of the multiple bonds that hold them together. Any scenario of organic building blocks gradually coming together over any period of time at all, is flat out impossible in this environment, or in any environment that existed on this planet prior to 3.8billion years ago. So whether they arrived here from other planets embedded in asteroids or directly from the mind of God, hyperthermophilic bacteria arrived here ready made, complete, as whole functioning organisms. There was no such thing, at least on this planet, as pre-biotic evolution.


Basic Survival: Indivisible and Unlearnable


Now this idea of a life form arriving here whole, without any build up from simple to complex, may be hard to accept by people who have been indoctrinated in the idea that all things begin with simplicity and become more and more complex over time as more things are learned. Yet there are some things that, if you really think about it, are impossible to imagine 'learning'. First of all, if we went, as evolutionist Richard Dawkins would have it, directly from a lifeless molecule to a replicating living molecule, how did that molecule 'learn' to replicate? If there is any learning at all, there must be a learner. In the case of the molecule, who is it that is doing this learning? Also, how does a molecule, or a cell for that matter, learn to survive? How long could it survive before it learned how to survive? How much time would it have to learn how to metabolize? How much time would it have to learn to respirate? To learn synthesis and regulation and reproduction? What about growing? How long would it take that most simple creature, whatever it was, to learn how to grow? Come to think of it, how do we grow anyway? Has any creature, including ourselves, ever really learned such a thing?


Those are just some of the amazing biological processes that all creatures need for their survival. What of the non-physical processes that are equally necessary but never discussed or even acknowledged? For instance, what about the amazing way that we want and desire exactly what we need? If we need water, then we become thirsty for water. The more we need water, the more delicious water seems. The more we need nutrition, the more we desire the food that will bring us this nutrition. When we need sleep, we crave it, and the more exhausted we are the more appealing a good night's sleep becomes. Now did we learn this? Did we pass through millions of years wanting things other than what would deliver our survival? When that first microbe's body first needed water, did that microbe have to learn what water is? where to find it? how to drink it? How long would that microbe survive if it had to learn how to satisfy its thirst. Come to think of it, how long would that microbe survive if it had to learn 'thirst'. If this is a truly random universe, were there countless generations of microbes or even simpler creatures that tried to eat sand when they needed water, that got more active when they needed sleep, that sought out poisons instead of nutritious food? How many generations did it take to discern what was nutritious from what was poisonous? How many generations did it take to learn to want the very things they needed? How many generations did it take to learn to want anything?


Of course, all of this is absolutely impossible. No species, no matter how 'simple', could last until the next generation if it did not arrive on this planet already knowing how to metabolize energy, how to digest, how to eliminate, how to discern what it needed in the environment from what is harmful, how to grow, how to break down the materials it took in to a form that it could use for energy and new growth, how to replicate, and, of course it already had to want to survive, and want the food, water, and whatever else was necessary from its environment that it needed for its survival. It could learn HOW to get better at finding what it needed, but it could never survive for more than a moment if it had to first learn WHAT it needed and if it even had to learn to WANT what it needed. The exquisitely balanced system whereby a living creature wants exactly what it needs, and in satisfying those desires insures its survival, is a system that is so basic to our understanding of life that we never even question it and we are never even aware of its existence. But if we postulate a completely lifeless, purposeless universe, how in the world did life begin without this exquisite alignment between wants and needs already in place? And how could we imagine such a subtle, perfect system, which we have not even begun to understand, forming accidentally by the fortuitous collision of atoms and molecules? And who is this 'it' who's desires allow these survival processes to function? Who is this 'it' who wants to breathe, who wants to eat, who wants to drink and rest? So not only did there have to be a complete survival kit from the very beginning, but there also had to be an 'it' that was using this survival kit, that was committed to it's own survival and whose desires were in perfect alignment with its biological needs. Only when you can tell me where this 'it' came from and how this exquisite system was formed, can you convince me that you are really talking about the origin of life.


And this is true whether we are talking about this planet or any planet. There is no partial survival. There is no gradual survival. You will survive until you are able to replicate or you wont. All the mechanisms of this survival, and the complexity of these mechanisms in even the 'simplest' life forms, far surpasses anything else in the inanimate universe; and these mechanisms must already be complete and perfectly coordinated from the very beginning, and they must be driven by a being that wants to survive, that wants to somehow extract from its environment the things that it needs to survive, or it and all the mechanisms that support it, will fail. It is as simple as that.


Simple To Complex


Another scientific justification for this shockingly early appearance of life has been to explain that life at first must have been very 'simple'. It then becomes more understandable that it would appear in almost 'no time' geologically, like ten million years, ( but not understandable in actual 'no time', as I mentioned above, which would be less time than it would take to boil an egg!) and that the really complex creatures, like ourselves, would take another four billion years of evolution. Brownlee and Ward write,"The gulf between the complexity of a bacterium and the complexity of even the simplest multicellular animal.......is immense. The number of genes in a bacterium can be measured in the thousands, whereas the genes in a large animal number in the millions."


Is that really a gulf? When you think about it, the basic structure, not in terms of skeletons, organs or shapes, but the basic structure in terms of functions was already in place. Bacteria grew, were born, died, replicated, had a form of metabolism, used the energy from that metabolism to digest food, to replicate, to produce needed enzymes, and to grow. Bacteria were and are also able to discern what they need from their environment and have a way of taking these materials into the interior of their bodies, breaking them down and digesting them in a way that they can be used for new building materials and energy; and they have a way of discerning what is potentially harmful to them in their environment and avoiding or destroying or protecting themselves from this threat. When you think of what our basic human survival functions are now, exactly the same in their essence as the bacteria, then this development does not seem like a gulf at all. It seems like a big change in complexity and form but not in basic function.




The real gulf, the gulf that dwarfs any separation between one life form and another, is the gulf between non-living molecules and a living being, even if that living being happens to be microscopic. I am astounded that whole cadres of otherwise highly intelligent research scientists don't see this. Are you so inculcated in the materialist notions of our society that you cannot see a difference between a living body and a lifeless collection of molecules? Scientists argue that it is actually very hard to 'see' a difference. Of course it's very hard to see it, because you are looking for it through a microscope. LIFE IS INVISIBLE! Is that shocking? Well, get used to it, because it is not only true, but it is painfully obvious, once you get it. Of course you can see how a living being enlivens the body that it occupies. You can see how that body is filled with consciousness, will and intelligence, but you cannot see consciousness, will and intelligence directly. You can measure all the biological processes that serve that being, but once that living being leaves that body, the body returns to being just a collection of molecules, mainly protein, and all the quadrillions of electrical and chemical processes that those proteins conducted disappear too, because the being that those processes served and whose needs and desires initiated those processes, is gone. Yet every visible part of that body remains.



When biochemists base origin of life theories on the assumption that once, by chance, all the chemicals of a replicating molecule were assembled, it would just start replicating, they are coming from the point of view that they have been indoctrinated in for years, that life is merely chemicals. Life is not merely chemicals. And it is not merely electrons. Life is how we EXPERIENCE those chemicals and electrons. A chemist friend of mine once told me that he understood sex. "Great" I replied, anxious to finally get some clarity about a topic that had completely bewildered me since puberty, decades earlier. "So, what's the answer?" "Testosterone" he replied. Wow! So does he think that if I put a pot of testosterone on a barstool next to a pot of estrogen, that the pot of testosterone will start buying the pot of estrogen drinks? Folks, it's not the chemicals. It's how we experience the chemicals. We are the non-visible, non-physical ground of our experience. Whatever you point to, we are not that. We are that which experiences that. We are not chemicals. We are that which experiences chemicals.



To fully appreciate the enormity of this gulf between the non-living and the living world, let's look at it from the perspective of modern science (not mine). Supposedly in this world prior to that first replicating molecule there was no life, no consciousness, no awareness, no ambition, no plan, not even anything that had an ambition, a plan or a desire for anything. There was nothing that wanted to survive, only atoms and molecules colliding at random, passively being pushed and pulled by gravity, electro-magnetism and the other forces of physics. And there was no such thing as a machine, since a machine is something that gathers energy and uses it for a purpose; but there was no purpose, just atoms joining with other atoms and separating, colliding, amassing, exploding, expanding and contracting with perfect randomness. That's it!



Now comes 'simple' life. And this is life that supposedly, from Dawkins' and modern biologists perspective, began with a molecule. This would be, again according to modern science, not only the first molecule to ever do anything in the history of the world in terms of a self initiated action (to quote Dawkins, "a molecule that makes copies of itself") but it is the first time anything, molecule or otherwise, had initiated anything in the entire universe. The first time that a molecule didn't just passively react to outside forces, but actually did something. And what does it do? It replicates! Now I have two children. And these children, by the way, arrived here, according to the script, after four billion years of fortuitous mutations and accumulated knowledge and complexity. They are supposed to be, even mine, the pinnacle of evolution. And I know, because I saw them, some of the very first self initiated activities that they did upon their arrival here on this planet. One of them discovered to his great delight, that he could press down on his food and splatter it over our dining room table. My daughter discovered that she could hit a low hanging mobile and cause it, also to her great delight, to swing back at her. Here we have, not a human being, but a lifeless molecule doing as the first initiated activity in the history of the universe not squishing food, not playing peekaboo or patty cake, but replicating itself; the most intricate, confounding, baffling process in all of biology.



And please don't believe any nonsense you hear about replication now being 'understood'. If it is understood so well, then why don't those people that understand it, do it? Start from scratch, from carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorous, and build something that replicates. The same holds true with all the other functions of this 'simple' bacterial life. If it's so simple and understandable then build something, starting from scratch, that grows, that digests, that senses its environment, that metabolizes, that eliminates, etc. Scientists think they understand these processes because they understand the chemicals involved. What is not understood is that a life form, and by that I mean life that takes a physical form, is an expression of intention, and intentions divine or human cannot be seen. An assembled DNA molecule does not replicate because there is nothing in it that wants to replicate. If DNA from one cell is transplanted into the nucleus of another cell, then it might replicate because a cell is a living being that wants to replicate. But the chances of a DNA molecule replicating when it is separated from a cell, even when it is surrounded by all the chemical materials it would need for replication, are no greater than the chances of a corpse making itself breakfast.

Life did not begin when a collection of chemicals suddenly sprouted an intention (to survive and replicate). It began when intention or purpose formed a living body that could survive in the environment as it existed on this planet in that first moment four billion years ago. There are no biological processes in organic material assembled in a laboratory, because there is no self, no being there whose needs and desires are served by these processes. Organic material, even the most complex protein molecules, have no interest in anything by themselves. They have no selves. Biological processes happen because a being wants or needs them to happen.


Let's get back to the time line.

The Next Two Billion Years



Two billion years is an enormous amount of time. We are talking about fully half the time from the first appearance of life to the present day. So what did the inexorable march of evolution accomplish during those two billion years? Absolutely nothing! Nothing, that is in terms of how we conventionally think of evolution accomplishing things, as one life form gradually, mutation by mutation, changing into another and more complex life form. None of this happened. We began four billion years ago with microbes and we ended two billion years later with microbes. In the show business community ,when people are casting projects, and they look at an actor or director's resume in which there is a five or ten year gap between one show or one film and another, they often use the phrase, "That's a long time between drinks." What it means is that if you really call yourself an actor or a director, how can you explain these five or ten years of no professional activity? If you really had a career, wouldn't we see evidence on your resume of shows that you had directed or played in every year? Now I know that evolutionary processes are supposed to move slowly, but two billion years seems an awfully long time for there to be no movement from one species to the next, from one grade of organization to the next, from one phyla, or basic body type to the next. It does seem, no matter how you look at it, especially for a thing that is supposed to be marching rhythmically and inexorably, like an awfully long time between drinks!


Now during these two billion years, within this gigantic community of microbes, there were adaptations, amazing adaptations, but no changes in basic shape or complexity. It seemed that whatever environmental challenges were faced by these creatures, they were always able to respond with a new enzyme, an antibody, or a new way to organize themselves to counter the effects of this new threat and render it harmless. Here is a list of some of the bacteria that made huge adjustments to very difficult, to otherwise deadly, circumstances:


Acidophiles: Organisms with an optimum pH level at or below pH3.

Alkaphiles: Organisms with an optimum pH level of 9 or above.
Endoliths: Organisms that thrive in microscopic spaces within rocks.
Halophiles: Organisms requiring at least 2M of salt for growth.
Hyperthermophiles: Organisms that thrive at temperatures between 89-121degrees Centigrade.
Hypoliths: Organisms that live inside rocks in cold deserts.
Lithoautotrophs: Organisms whose sole source of carbon is carbon dioxide and who derive energy from chemical, inorganic, reactions.
Metalotolerants: Organisms that thrive in high levels of otherwise toxic amounts of dissolved heavy metals including copper, cadmium, arsenic and zinc.
Oligotrophs: Organisms capable of growth in nutritionally limited environments.
Osmophiles: Organisms capable of growth in environments with a high sugar concentration.
Piezophiles: Organisms that live optimally at very high hydrostatic pressure, in deep terrestrial subsurfaces and in ocean trenches.
Polyextremophiles: Organisms that thrive under more than one of these categories.
Psychrophiles/Cryophiles: Organisms that thrive at 15degrees C or lower, including in permafrost, polar ice, and in or under alpine snowpacks.
Radioresistant: Organisms resistant to high levels of ionizing radiation, including extreme amounts of ultra-violet radiation and nuclear radiation.
Xerophiles: Organisms that grow in extremely dry conditions, like the soil microbes of the Atacama Desert, where the average rainfall is 1mm per year and where, recently, there was no rainfall for 400 years.

No matter what extremities bacteria were exposed to, they invariable managed to come up with a way of not only dealing with those extremities, but a way of thriving within the very conditions that originally threatened them. Now in all these cases we can try to apply the old Darwinian bromides of the accidental mutation that happened very, very rarely, and that resulted in an improvement in adaptability and that ultimately would result in an adaptation that would be able to handle whatever the environmental exigency was. When you think of the rarity of these mutational 'mistakes' and, if things are truly random, the incalculable number of 'mistakes' that would have to occur before there was any 'mistake' that would give an organism any advantage whatsoever (have you, in your life time or in your study of human history, heard of any mutation among humans that became anything other than a horrifying disadvantage to the mutant? Do you know of any X-Men, like in the movies, whose mutations give them extraordinary powers and who have become the rage, in that everyone of the opposite sex wants to immediately mate with them and have their own mutational offspring, and in this way the mutants become the dominant population?) and of those advantages, the almost endless number of possible advantages before there was an advantage that would actually deal with the specific threat that was at hand; how does it happen that in all of the above cases, bacteria managed to find a genetic solution to these deadly problems instead of being wiped out by them? How have bacteria managed to occupy the hottest, coldest, driest, most alkaline, most acidic and most pressured nooks and crannies of this planet, and to not only survive, but to flourish there? And this was not accomplished in 'endless' time. In the case of hypothermophilic bacteria, it was accomplished in no time at all. And if we postulate that each of these other evolutionary processes started with 'normal' bacteria, composed of 'normal' organic material, how much time would they actually have under the pressure of these deadly threats to evolve anything? Was there really that much 'endless time' or were these relatively sudden responses to urgent situations? Also, why does the perfect remedy for each threatening situation occur in the exact location where that specific remedy is needed. If things were truly random, wouldn't we find genes to neutralize the effects of high acidity in normal pH environments, and genetic adaptations to extreme cold in warmer climates? Even if these gene sequences were never used, why wouldn't they appear in the genomes of bacteria from other environments. Surely there is something more at work here than just occasional random replication errors.


Writing in Science Magazine, Portugese biologists Lidia Perfeito and Isabel Gordo report that beneficial mutation rates in Escherichia coli bacteria, not when they are measured in a stable environment as they usually are, but when they are measured adapting to a new environment, are A THOUSAND times higher than one would have predicted by random replication accidents. And these are beneficial mutations. Of all the possible accidents that could happen in gene replication, how many of those possibilities would be beneficial, if these accidents were truly random. Here we have a thousand times the rate of any mutations, and the mutations are beneficial. Whole colonies of bacteria are undergoing the same mutations that are moving them to an adaptive balance with their new surroundings. Not deleterious mutations caused by radiation, but beneficial mutations that deliver the precise survival advantages they need in their new environment. These are not, then, mutations at all, in the sense that we usually think of mutations; as deleterious accidents. These are not accidents. What else could it be but a purposeful attempt to restore needed balances to lives and to the environment by altering, with transcendent specificity and intelligence, the genetic sequences to deliver survival in a harsh new environment? And this is precisely how bacteria have managed to adapt to every extreme environment on this planet.


Gene Swapping


Before we leave this two billion year period, we need to say something about 'gene swapping'. Scientists first suspected that there was such a thing as gene swapping, a lateral transfer of genes from one bacteria to another, even from different species of microorganisms to others, because they were astounded at the great similarity of the genetic composition of microscopic creatures across the entire spectrum. Also, in modern times, when one strain of bacteria develops a resistance to a certain drug, say a certain antibiotic, then that resistance often spreads quickly beyond that particular strain of bacteria, and suddenly whole communities of microorganisms are sharing the same resistance to the same antibiotic.


Scientific investigation has revealed many types of gene swapping. Here are descriptions of two of the most common types from an article by geneticist Robert Miller in the Scientific American,


"(in certain types of bacteria) ....conjugation begins when a donor bacterium attaches an appendage called a pilus to a recipient bacterium that displays a receptor for the pilus; then the pilus retracts, drawing together the donor and the recipient. Generally, many donors extend pili at about the same time, and several donor cells can converge on a recipient at once. Consequently, extension of pili causes bacterial cells to aggregate into clusters. After aggregation occurs, bridges, or pores, form between donor and recipient cells, and plasmids (a part of a bacteria that often carries genes that enhance the chances of survival in hostile circumstances) pass through the bridges from the donors to the recipients."


"(Conjugation in other types of bacteria)....does not involve pili. In advance of conjugation a would-be recipient of new genes secretes substances that prompt potential donors to produce proteins, often called clumping factors, able to bring bacterial cells together. When the cells associate, they form the pores needed for DNA transfer."


Do you see what is going on here? An organism, a 'simple' microorganism, faced with a challenge to it's existence, senses that a neighboring microorganism has genetic material that would enable it to survive this threat. It seeks out that organism and either displays a receptor for a pilus which the donor organism then grows, or secretes substances that will stimulate the donor to produce clumping materials, each process resulting in the two organisms coming together and forming connecting pores, through which flows the very genetic material that will save the donee's life.


Do you grasp the breathtaking beauty and complexity of this process? When does modern science say that altruism evolved? When does modern science say that intelligence evolved? Here we have processes dating back to the first billion years of our existence which are clear examples of sharing in the most fundamental and profound way and a mechanism that requires an awareness on someone's part(if not the bacteria themselves, then on who's awareness does this entire process depend?) that requires an understanding of precisely what is needed genetically in one bacteria, and precisely what needs to be offered in the other and the most transcendentally specific and precise mechanisms to deliver this transfer. As I have said in earlier posts, if intelligence is not the ability to read one's environment and make adaptations to it that allow one's survival needs and desires to be met, then what else could it possibly be? And what reading of an environment could possibly be more intelligent than the ability to recognize what is missing genetically in one body, to discern where it could be found in a neighboring body and, then, to initiate and execute a process that delivers that amazing transfer?


By contrast let's talk for a minute about the discovery of the polio vaccine in the mid-twentieth century in our society. Two scientists were then lauded for a discovery that ended a scourge that attacked thousands of young children in our country and even our president. What did Jonas Salk and Carl Sabin do actually? They both found a way of 'tricking' our body cells into thinking that they were under attack by the polio virus, so that our body cells would start to manufacture the anti-body in sufficient quantities that could destroy the polio virus before it had a chance to get a foothold within our cells. Salk did it with dead viruses and Sabin did it with live but disabled viruses. Now these achievements did end this epidemic and these two men should be justly recognized and honored. But keep in mind, the real genius of the polio vaccine lies within the cell which understands exactly what is needed and exactly how to manufacture this needed antidote. Salk and Sabin both found ways to stimulate the genius defenses of the cell without actually putting the body at risk.


If you don't think that it is the genius of the cell or the genius of the bacteria, to manufacture the exact enzyme it needs to adapt or protect itself at any given moment, then whose genius is it? But please explain to me how Salk and Sabin are geniuses and the cell, which actually produced the antibody, or the force behind the cell that produced the antibody, is not a genius. Please explain to me how such a process could 'evolve' randomly without any intelligence.


In this supposedly 'random' world of evolution, one could not imagine a more purposeful, more specific, more nonrandom activity than gene swapping. If we now recognize this observable truth; if we now know the cell, or a force and intelligence governing the cell, knows precisely what it needs genetically in order to survive, and knows precisely where to get it; then, why can't we also assume that that same force and intelligence knows how to create that genetic combination that would deliver the protection, or the adaptation, in the first place. In other words, we now say that completely randomly a prokaryotic cell just happened to have the exact genetic sequence that would protect it from whatever environmental exigency happened to crop up, but then, completely nonrandomly, through gene swapping, that genetic information is spread laterally through an entire community or species of prokaryotes. If we recognize the specificity and nonrandomness of gene swapping, why can't we also accept that the same force and intelligence that could recognize and spread this sequence, could create the sequence in the first place. God, the Universe, the cosmic consciousness, whatever you choose to call it, shepherding and rescuing a species when it is threatened with annihilation, by altering genes to provide the anti-body or adaptation that would allow it to withstand extreme temperatures, excess alkalinity, excess acidity, extreme atmospheric pressure; doesn't that make so much more sense than saying that all these different defenses and complex adaptations were created randomly by a whole serious of amazingly fortuitous accidental replication errors, only matched in its weirdness and uncanniness by the almost endless series of fortuitous and accidental molecular bondings that supposedly created the first 'replicating molecule?'


In the process of gene swapping we have 'simple' bacteria going so far beyond what modern researchers can do in their laboratories that the only proper response is awe. These bacteria recognize precisely their own genetic deficiency, and are able to locate bacteria that have, genetically, exactly what they need. The donor bacteria knows exactly what, genetically, to donate, and all of this is accomplished with no harm done to the donor or the donee and in this fashion entire communities of microbes are saved from disaster.


Rather than using the discovery of this technique of gene swapping as proof of the awesome intelligence of life right from the very beginning of evolution, it has been used as a reason to eliminate intelligence as a factor in evolution. What would scientists expect to see through their microscopes to prove that intelligence was at work? A microbe with a furrowed brow and tousled hair? A bespectacled bacteria scratching its beard? You cannot see intelligence directly. You can only see the results of intelligence as it manifests on the physical plane. You look at the most transcendently brilliant processes imaginable and then say that there is no intelligence involved based on the fact that you 'saw' those processes. If you saw Einstein writing for the first time E=MC2 on a piece of paper, would you then deduce that there was no intelligence involved because you saw the whole thing and you can explain it in terms of the movement of his hand and wrist muscles across a sheet of paper? Astounding!


Prokaryotes To Eukaryotes


The 'evolution' of life up to this point can be summed up as follows: the arrival of chemoautotrophic life at deep sea thermal vents 3.8 to 4 billion years ago; the arrival of photosynthetic bacteria at surface levels 3.8 to 3.5 billion years ago, and within these two basic structures of cells, the many variations and adaptations that we have mentioned above. The next major structural innovation was the eukaryotic cell which may have arrived over 2.5 billion years ago but did not begin to flourish until 2 billion years ago. The major differences between eukaryotic cells and the earlier prokaryotic cells as Ward and Brownlee write are as follows:


"1. In eukaryotes, DNA is contained within a membrane-bounded organelle, the nucleus.

2. Eukaryotes have other enclosed bodies within the cell-the organelles such as mitochondria (which produce energy) and chloroplasts (tiny inclusions that allow photosynthesis).
3. Eukaryotes can perform sexual reproduction.
4. Eukaryotes have flexible cell walls that enable them to engulf other cells through a process known as phagocytosis.
5. Eukaryotes have an internal scaffolding system composed of tiny protein threads that allow them to control the location of their internal organelles.
6. Eukaryotic cells are nearly always much larger than prokaryotes; they usually have cell volumes at least 10,000 times greater than the average prokaryotic cell.
7. Eukaryotes have much more DNA than prokaryotes--usually 1000 times as much. The DNA in the eukaryotic cell is stored in strands, or chromosomes, and is usually present in multiple copies."

So did the eukaryote cell 'evolve' from the prokaryote cell? Although there are no remnants of any cells that were half way points or stepping stones from one to the other, just as there are no cells that are half way between photosynthetic and oxygen metabolizers, evolutionists believe that eukaryotes came from prokaryotes mainly because of the similarity of their genetic code. Why are such structurally different creatures so similar genetically? The conclusion among evolutionists has been that they must have evolved from a common ancestor. But could this conclusion come not from objective observation but from the materialist biases of these observers? What other similarities do all creatures have on this planet, besides the obvious ones of coexisting on the same planet, with the same basic atmosphere, the same play of gravitational forces, the same amounts of radiation, and the same relationship to the rest of the galaxy and the cosmos? If you don't look at structure, but look at function, then you see that all, and I include plants, animals, bacteria, archaea, molds, the entire panoply of life on this planet, in terms of our basic survival functions, are IDENTICAL! All creatures are born, die and replicate. All creatures must find nutrients. All creatures must metabolize energy. All creatures must be able to discern what is needed from what is harmful in the environment. All creatures must have a way of breaking down those needed ingredients into what they can use for growth and energy and must have a way of eliminating what they don't need. And all creatures must have a way of protecting themselves from what is harmful. Looking past the amazing variety of sizes and shapes, life has an equally amazing unanimity of purpose and function. With this in mind, is it really so surprising that we are more alike than different genetically?


But scientists have labored for years to construct a plausible scenario to explain how, without any intelligence or design, without any planning or purpose, a eukaryotic cell could develop by chance from a prokaryotic cell. Before I explain why these theories make no sense at all, I should mention that although evolutionists say they are theorizing about a random world, a world that was constructed with no purpose at all, but simply by fortuitous accidents, this is by no means the case. Life, as conceived by evolutionists, is purposeful, is imbued at every moment with purpose. The purpose at every juncture, every moment of evolution, is survival. Neither natural selection nor survival of the fittest make any sense unless each organism, and in this case, each prokaryotic bacteria, is trying to survive. How we went from inanimate matter with no interest or caring for survival, and no entity within any atom or molecule that had the capacity to care about it's survival, to this countless armada of microscopic beings each relentlessly intent on its own survival, is never explained. But it is important to note that the difference between evolutionists and people of a spiritual persuasion, is not that evolutionists see nothing beyond the material world, and spiritual people do. It's that the sole purpose of life, as seen by evolutionists, is a selfish struggle for survival within each organism, and spiritual people see a different and higher purpose. The one group thinks of the development of life as purely the development of matter and ignores the whole issue of purpose and why things are trying to survive even though their theory depends on it. The other group is at least as concerned about the purpose of life and its origins as it is about the material equipment of life.


Any evolution from prokaryote to eukaryote would involve not merely the acquisition of the ability to manufacture new enzymes, but it would involve a complete transformation of the structures and organization of the cell. Because biological processes are so integrated and synchronized with each other, any change in structure, for it to be successful and produce any advantage, would have to happen in very small increments over many generations. The organism needs time to adapt to the new adaptation. If a gene is altered, will it be expressed at the same time and in the same sequence as the former gene? We can see or sense the sequences of firing, but the enormously complex pattern of firings, how or where these decisions are made are not observable and are not transferred through the genes (from the same genome we get many different firing patterns at different times and in different cells; think caterpillars and butterflies; or muscle cells and nerve cells). But if the genes are altered or the firing patterns are altered, or both, then the way in which this organism behaves and relates to its environment is also altered, including what it feeds on and where it feeds, how it relates to the species that gave birth to it and how it relates to the species that it is becoming. All of this needs to be adjusted gradually or this genetic 'accident' will fail. If we are still using the neo-Darwinian framework of the rare, but fortuitous mutation, we are talking about hundreds or thousands of sequential mutations in the same organism or descendants of the same organism. How would that work?


Let's take the supposed transition from photosynthesis to oxygen metabolism. An organism metabolizes oxygen or carbon dioxide. It doesn't metabolize both or some combination of the two. That means that for thousands upon thousands of generations, the particular strain of bacteria that was in the process of moving from photosynthetic to oxygen metabolism, was carrying partially constructed equipment for oxygen metabolism that wasn't yet being used. And it was awaiting, although, of course, it did not know it was awaiting, that exact mutation which would be the next step in all the thousands upon thousands of steps that it would take to complete this conversion. How long would that take? Keep in mind that this is supposedly a completely random world. So this cell is not only awaiting a mutation, which in itself is very rare. It is awaiting a fortuitous mutation, which is extraordinarily rare. But it is not awaiting a fortuitous mutation that would help its locomotion, or it's digestion, or it's growth or replication. It is awaiting a fortuitous mutation that would help its metabolism. And it is not awaiting a fortuitous mutation that would help it's photosynthetic metabolism, it is awaiting a fortuitous mutation that would help its yet to be completed oxygen metabolism. And this is not any prokaryote that is awaiting this mutation. This is the one prokaryote that has already been the recipient of a whole series of mutations that got it to this point. And given the precision of the equipment that is already in place, and how each part of such a delicate construction builds on the next, it must be awaiting the precise mutation that will deliver the precise next step in this sequence. The probability of this entire series of mutations happening to the same organism randomly is so vanishingly small that it is virtually impossible. And this is a process that is not taking place in 'endless time,' it is taking place in the urgent context of an atmosphere that is filling with oxygen which is poisonous to this prokaryotic microbe unless it simultaneously develops, through a parallel series of fortuitous mutations, an entire system for dealing with oxidation. Good luck!


Also, it is an essential tenet of Darwinian evolution that more efficient creatures will survive over less efficient ones. Keep in mind that the cell does not know, and no one supposedly knows, that it is evolving into an oxygen metabolizer. So all this time, all these successive generations of prokaryotes are replicating this partially built oxygen metabolizing equipment in various stages of construction, lugging it around, using energy to build and maintain it, but never using it. This would have to make this particular strain of prokaryotes much less efficient than their microbial brethren who are using every part of their cell body to promote their survival. Doesn't this contradict another tenet of Darwinism, that whole species or strains of organisms would disappear fairly quickly if they are much less efficient than their competitors? And then, thousands, millions of generations later, when the oxygen metabolizing equipment is complete, and the photosynthetic equipment is still functional (the prokaryote would have to be metabolizing at every moment, wouldn't it?) when we had an organism with two complete parallel metabolic systems, if you can imagine such a creature; then who throws the switch? Who says, "Okay, now it's time to completely change your system of metabolizing; GO!"


Let's look at the possibility of a sequence of advantageous mutations from a mathematical perspective. Scientists use a figure of one in ten million as the chance of a truly random mutation occurring. It should be kept in mind that this is the figure for any mutation, which are almost always harmful or, at best, neutral, and not for the much, much more rare advantageous mutation. Biologist Gary Parker writes,


"Fortunately, mutations are very rare. They occur on an average of perhaps once in every ten million duplications of a DNA molecule....... That's fairly rare. On the other hand, it's not that rare. Our bodies contain nearly 100 trillion cells....So the odds are quite good that we have a couple of cells with a mutated form of almost any gene. A test tube can hold millions of bacteria, so, again, the odds are quite good that there will be mutant forms among them.


The mathematical problem for evolution comes when you want a series of related mutations. The odds of getting two mutations that are related to one another is the product of the separate probabilities: one to the seventh times one to the seventh, or one to the fourteenth. That's a one followed by fourteen zeroes, a hundred trillion! Any two mutations might produce no more than a fly with a wavy edge on a bent wing. That's a long way from producing a truly new structure, and certainly a long way from changing a fly into some new kind of organism. You need more mutations for that. So, what are the odds of getting three mutations in a row? That's one in a billion trillion, ten to the twenty-first. Suddenly, the ocean isn't big enough to hold enough bacteria to make it likely for you to find a bacterium with three simultaneous or sequential related mutations.


What about trying for four related mutations? One in ten to the twenty-eighth. Suddenly, the earth isn't big enough to hold enough organisms to make that very likely. And we're talking about only four mutations........Four mutations don't even make a start toward any real evolution. But already at this point some evolutionists have given up the classic idea of evolution, because it just plainly doesn't work."


The most commonly accepted theory for the evolution of prokaryote to eukaryote cells comes from evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis. She contends that organelles, the separate structures within a eukaryotic cell, like the mitochondria, which are involved with energy formation and transformation, plastids, the sites of chlorophyll, and flagella, used for locomotion, were all originally separate smaller prokaryotes, that had been ingested by a larger prokaryotic cell; a cell which had previously, using the fortuitous mutation scenario described above, evolved into a much larger cell with a double cell wall capable of engulfing smaller bacteria, and evolved the organization of its genetic material into chromosomes encased in a nucleus (all of which would take thousands of sequential mutations). Then these smaller prokaryotes, after having been ingested by the larger prokaryote and somehow surviving its processes of digestion, entered into a symbiotic relationship with the larger cell. Over a very long period of time (a billion years, perhaps?) these separate smaller cells all became parts of the one larger cell. How these invaders managed to get themselves replicated into all the successive generations of the larger cell during all the centuries while this process was going on, is never mentioned. But if we begin with a number of separate biological entities (one host and a few invaders) we are then talking about three or four simultaneous and synchronized processes of evolution, of fortuitous mutations, as the invaders gradually take over functions for the host and eventually become one with the host. But for the great part of this process each entity has their own system and rhythm of replication. Why would the replicated host wind up with any symbiants in its system, at all, much less the exact symbiants in the exact same stage of evolution as the last generation? But the real magic happens when these separate cells become parts of one larger entity. What entity? Biologists give no credence to the idea of an overarching entity to begin with. Biologists do not consider a living being to be anything more than the sum of its biological processes. As you read these words you have, in your body, more bacteria living in a symbiotic relationship with you than you have cells in your own body, and you have one hundred trillion of those. Yet these symbiants are not part of you. They have their own commitment to their own survival. They live, die and replicate independently from you.


Now suppose I decided that this symbiotic system was not efficient enough. Sometimes we have enough bacteria in our bodies, and sometimes we have too much, or too little or the wrong kind, depending on our diet and our activity level and metabolic rate. Wouldn't it be a good idea, I think, to have the human body be born with these bacteria permanently attached to the wall of the intestine and be replicated along with our human replication. Then, each bacterium would, instead of serving our survival needs as an indirect result of serving its own survival needs, would serve our human survival needs directly. In fact this bacterium would no longer be an 'it'. There would be only one 'it', which would be me. All those other 'its' would be subsumed by my overarching 'it'. Good idea? Okay, then how would I do such a thing? How would Lynn Margulis do such a thing? How can biologists talk about many entities becoming one entity when they never acknowledge any entity in the first place?


The only way that I can imagine describing a biological entity is that all the processes within that entity serve the survival needs of that entity. But the focal point of those processes, which is the self, although it is obviously there, cannot be observed, so it has no acknowledged existence for biologists. Lynn Margulis' theory is based on the transformation of a number of entities, each with their separate survival interests, their separate focal points of organization, merging into one entity with one survival interest. How else could you explain it? It's a kind of replication in reverse. In replication one becomes two, or in sexual replication two becomes three. In Margulis' theory three or four (separate smaller prokaryotes) become one. Now I am not arguing about whether or not this happened. I am simply wondering how it happened. If we are supposed to relate to this theory with the respect we reserve for hard science and not with the skepticism that we have for magic tricks, then you have to go beyond saying THAT this happened and give us some sort of an explanation about exactly HOW this happened. If walking on water or parting a sea is something to scoff at, how does two, or several, beings transforming into one being become something to respectfully consider? If this is the central event of your theory then, at least, give us some idea of how this could possibly happen. Tell us where the focal point of each prokaryote's organization is, and give us some idea of what it is. If we don't know or even acknowledge that a focal point of all those survival processes exists, if we can not tell what it is or where it is, how can we have a serious theory about 'them', whatever they are, combining? If this is science and not magic, give us some explanation as to how such a thing, as separate beings combining to make one being, could possibly happen.



Genetic Information


How does a life form, in this case a prokaryotic bacteria, 'evolve' into a structurally much more complex form? As I said before, functionally, they are basically the same and equally mysterious, but in terms of level of organization, of form and complexity, the eukaryote is far more complicated than the prokaryote. So how is it done? Natural selection can cull and favor certain traits over others, but it does not 'add' to those traits; and it does not add to the amount of genetic information in an organism. Although mutations are constantly referred to as the path of evolution, mutations, in fact, do not add to the amount of genetic information either. Mutations can alter or rearrange genes, but they do not add genes. Gene swapping, as was mentioned earlier, can add genetic code for the manufacture of a certain enzyme, but we know of no gene swapping that results in a change in structure, shape, or a new organ or a higher level of organization. In all cases of natural gene swapping that have actually been studied, the received genes stay in plasmids separate from the chromosome of the receiving cell. This means that they do not become part of the heritable traits of the cell. The receiving cell is able to produce a new enzyme, but the new genetic material in no way effects the shape or traits or organization of the receiving cell. In fact, if we are talking about the evolution of a new life form, then gene swapping is irrelevant. Gene swapping presupposes that the donor already has what ever is needed in the donee. Gene swapping, if it has anything to do with traits and not just with enzyme manufacture, would be about sharing existing traits, not creating new traits.


Even if there were a known process for adding new genetic information, which there is not, what information are we talking about? The only genetic information known to research scientists is the information, or recipes, for making enzymes. Genes, as far as we know, are not building bodies or traits, and are not giving instructions about how to build bodies or traits. All genes are doing, as far as we have detected, is passively (at the behest of certain enzymes) allowing themselves to be copied, and the information that is copied is simply recipes for making enzymes. The actual enzyme manufacture is done elsewhere in the cell, and these are only the raw materials, the basic ingredients of living bodies. What about the information as to how to shape and mold these enzymes and to imbue them with function and coordinate and synchronize those functions with every other function in an organism? Where is that information? Is that actually genetic information? It is somehow related to the genes, but where is it? And who understands and executes that information, wherever it is? And please don't believe any 'information theory' nonsense about the power of information by itself. Information is only useful when it is understood and acted upon by a conscious being. The way Richard Dawkins talks, it seems like you could just leave written copies of genomes or computer code books laying about and they would automatically sprout, by themselves, into living beings, computers and software! If we don't even know where any of the constructing or synchronizing information is, or who is shaping or executing it, if all we know is a few rudiments about how the raw materials (enzymes) are made, then how do we have the audacity to pretend to know how one life form, whose existence is completely mysterious, can 'evolve' into another life form, whose existence is equally mysterious?


Also, keep this in mind: From the identical set of genes, depending on which parts are being expressed, comes both the caterpillar and the butterfly. From our own identical sets of genes, comes our fetal body, our infant body, our child body and our adult body. From the identical set of genes comes muscle cells, brain cells, skin cells and stomach cells. All of these variations depend on which precise gene sequences are being expressed, or copied, and the execution of unfathomably complex combinations of sequences and timings of sequences. Genes are like the keys of a piano. Adding genetic information, as far as we know, only increases the number of keys of that piano. In moving from single celled creatures to humans, we have moved from one fifty thousand keyed piano to one hundred trillion pianos each with three billion keys. Yet we still have no idea who is playing these pianos, who is conducting this one hundred trillion member orchestra and who is composing this breathtaking symphony, which in the case of humans consists of ten quadrillion notes (biological processes) resounding in perfect harmony at every moment of our existence.


Look again at this amazing discrepancy between what has been actually observed or detected regarding genes and what supernatural powers and intelligence have been attributed to them. All genes actually do, that can be observed, is allow themselves to be copied; and this is done not at their own initiative, but at the behest of enzymes to which they passively respond. That's it! And yet the genes are now considered to be, by modern biologists, the source of creativity that engendered all of life! According to Dawkins, et al., genes 'discovered' how to build bodies, how to digest food, and how to manufacture antibodies to protect themselves; they 'discovered' photosynthesis, oxygen metabolism, intra-cellular communication, and locomotion; and, ultimately, they 'discovered' love, consciousness, the human heart, the human eye and the human brain. For submicroscopic pieces of nucleic acid, of matter, that sit passively in the nucleus of a cell until they occasionally, and only in automatic response to an enzyme, allow themselves to be copied, that is a whole lot of attribution, isn't it?


Codes


Now it is undeniable that genes are coded for traits. Twins with identical genomes look almost exactly alike. They also often share a whole host of personality traits and desires. Long separated identical twins often marvel at the similar paths that both their lives had taken. The important distinction to make here is that genes are CODED for traits, they do not CREATE traits.


What is a code? Let's look at some codes that we already know. Our English language is a code of twenty-six letters. Our mathematics is based on a code of ten numerals. Our computers run by a code of high frequency pulses (1) and low frequency pulses (0). Genetic code is based on four nucleotides (sub-microscopic pieces of nucleic acid) adenine (A), cytosine (C), thymine (T) and guanine (G). Now the first three codes were clearly created by intelligent beings, yes? Letters didn't invent letters, did they? Numbers didn't invent numbers and the high and low frequencies didn't get together and decide to organize themselves into computer code either. Letters don't write novels by themselves, numbers don't form equations by themselves and the high and low frequencies of computer code don't sit around and make software, do they? Also, novels, once written, are not read by the letters in the novel, equations are not applied by the numbers of the equations and computer software is not used and enjoyed by high and low electric frequencies. In all these cases, obviously, intelligent beings invented these codes to communicate information and ideas to be used and enjoyed by other intelligent beings. So why in the world would we think that adenine, cytosine, thymine and guanine formed themselves into codes by themselves, and used those codes to build bodies by themselves, to satisfy the survival desires of adenine, cytosine, thymine and guanine? This is insane!


Genetic code was not formed by four submicroscopic dots of nucleic acid. It was formed by God or, if you prefer, the cosmic consciousness, as a way of creating sentience, consciousness, in a physical form. Life did not begin with simplicity. If it did, why do the functions of single celled creatures still completely baffle us four billion years later? Yes, we have evolved. Body plans have gotten larger and more complex, although the basic structure, the basic system of metabolism, digestion, responsiveness to the environment, birth, growth, adaptation and replication are all brilliant beyond our comprehension, and were just as brilliant from the very beginning of creation. If we have evolved, it is in terms of the richness of experience that our bodies and their amazing sensory equipment allow us to have. Yes, levels of organization between cells to form tissues, between tissues to form organs, between organs to form systems and between systems to deliver the moment to moment survival of the entire organism, have gotten more complex, but who is controlling and coordinating this organization? If this organization was learned, then who learned it? And how was this learning passed from generation to generation? Certainly it was not the genes themselves that learned all this. You cannot seriously consider submicroscopic pieces of acid to be capable of learning, organizing or controlling anything.


How then do we square the fact that genes, although we only observe them providing the recipes for enzyme manufacture, are coded for so much more, including physical traits, shapes, whole body types and temperament? Each cell contains over three billion pairs of nucleotides and among all these there are a little over twenty thousand sequences that code for the basic ingredients, or enzymes, of our bodies. Although there are some one hundred thousand different substances that are found in humans, they are all made from combinations of these twenty thousand basic sequences. Now twenty thousand sequences, even if they are somewhat lengthy, are still a very small portion of over three billion nucleotide pairs. The great majority of these, called base pairs, in a human cell are considered 'junk' DNA. By that is meant that biologists can find no observable use for them. Also, these three billion base pairs are folded over and over within the nucleus of each cell. My contention is that the entire genome, including all three billion nucleotides and the particular shape in which they are enfolded within the nucleus, is a receiver, a kind of cosmic channel changer. When I turn my TV channel changer to number #4 and get NBC, it is not the little numeral on that button, or the plastic that the button is made out of, or the wire that is underneath that button, that is creating the Tonight Show. The Tonight Show is created by the mysterious and unobservable talents of Jay Leno, his writers, his musicians, his guests, and the equally mysterious and unobservable talents of his staff and the NBC administrators. My little button merely allows, at my initiative and not the button's, that particular creation to be transmitted to my television. Our genome is the amazingly complex but still passive receiver for the particular mysterious and unobservable part of the cosmic consciousness or God whose will and intelligence form and maintain at each moment this miraculous equipment that we call our bodies. In an earlier post I said that Watson and Crick, when they discovered the double helix structure of the DNA molecule, thought they had found God. What they really found was God's channel changer.


I have mentioned above and spent a fair amount of time in other posts explaining how life is invisible. Not the equipment that life uses (our bodies), not the biological processes that serve our life, but life itself, our selves, our consciousness, will and intelligence, are invisible. We can see the results of them. It is pretty obvious to everyone who is not looking through a microscope that there is a big difference between a living body and a corpse, between a still born baby and a healthy baby. It's easy to see consciousness, will and intelligence enlivening a body. It's just that we cannot see consciousness, will and intelligence directly. We judge ourselves as more or less intelligent depending on how much of life we understand. In truth, we still understand only a minuscule part of it. But life itself is the source of intelligence. Life is created by unlimited intelligence, by cosmic intelligence, or God. Genetic code was not formed by four submicroscopic dots of nucleic acid. It was formed by cosmic consciousness, by God, as a way of bringing consciousness, sentience, into a physical form. The genetic code, and by that I mean all of it, not just the sequences for enzyme manufacture, but all of the code, all of the spacing and the entire way that the whole genome is folded within the nucleus, all of it, is a receiver for a particular shape, a particular intelligence, a particular will that constructs a particular kind of body and a particular kind of brain. And this will and intelligence will never be detected by biologists because it is not part of the physical, observable, measurable universe.


Now you can have a knee jerk reaction to the idea of invisible forces, will and intelligence, but why don't you stop for a moment and ask yourself what force is visible? Certainly not gravity or electro-magnetism. Certainly not any force that you exert (I am not talking about the force of your arm as it hits a wall. I am talking about the desire that causes you to move your arm to hit the wall). When biologists study the brain they study the neural excitation and chemical releases in different areas, but what is causing these excitations in the brain? One excitation is there because you want to look at something; another because you want to listen to something; another because you want to think about something; and another because you are trying to remember something. So neither you nor your desire is ever detected, only the results of your desires. And exactly the same thing is true when we study genetic activity and cellular processes. All the activity we see is the result of God's or the Universe's or the cosmic conscious' (the name is not important) desire for you to survive and grow and replicate. As I've said numerous times before in this blog, you, your will, your intelligence, your focus and your desires are not visible. They are the foundation of your experience, but neither you, nor anyone else can see them directly. And unbounded (not tied to a particular brain or body) consciousness, will and intelligence, or God, is no more and no less invisible than you are. Now you may scoff at this, but what you have done is to pretend that the 'code,' those submicroscopic pieces of nucleic acid that are merely recipes for enzymes, are doing the entire job of creating and maintaining and organizing your existence, without explaining how or where or why they are doing this. This is actually more absurd than claiming that letters form themselves into novels, that numbers form themselves into equations and that the high and low frequencies of computer code form themselves into software.


Environmental Factors


If brilliance and intelligence were there from the beginning, if genes don't 'learn' or 'discover' anything, if they are merely passive receivers, and God or the cosmic consciousness is doing it all, then why did it take so long? Why, for instance, getting back to the prokaryotes and eukaryotes, did it take two billion years for the eukaryotes to arrive? And why did it take another billion and a half years for complex, multi-cellular life to get here? The answer is very simple. The physical universe was created following a set of very precise and inviolable laws. Life forms must operate within these laws. At the beginning of the post we talked about life forming below the surface of the earth in thermal vents on the ocean floor, when the surface of the earth was way too turbulent to support any life. Then, when things stabilized and the surface of the planet cooled down below the boiling point of water, photosynthetic microbial life appeared. In other words, as soon as the physical conditions allowed for it, these life forms were here. It was another two billion years before eukaryotes began to flourish here. What happened during those two billion years? Were genes 'learning' how to form organelles, how to engulf foreign objects, how to organize themselves into chromosomes, how to metabolize oxygen? No, of course not. How can a submicroscopic piece of acid learn anything? One of the things that was actually happening was that oxygen was slowly making its way into the atmosphere of this planet.


Oxygen is a by product of photosynthesis. At first these ancient prokaryote photosynthesizers were releasing their oxygen into the oceans where they combined with free iron to form iron oxides. Ward and Brownlee write, "Today there still exist at least 600 trillion tons of such iron oxides deposited before 2.5 billion years ago in these banded iron formation." Around that time, 2.5 billion years ago, the supply of free iron in the oceans began to run out. Instead of oxygen combining with iron in the oceans, it began to emerge into our atmosphere. There are no banded iron formations formed after 1.8 billion years ago. Also at roughly the same time, 2.5 billion years ago, the amount of heat coming from radioactive elements in the earth was diminishing and the surface of the planet was cooling. Large continents were forming which created more shallow water habitats for these microbial prokaryotes. As they flourished, the amount of oxygen they were producing also increased; and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was decreasing as it was being used up by these ever multiplying photosynthesizers and the amount of oxygen they were releasing into the atmosphere was increasing, both of which diminished the greenhouse (heat trapping) effect of the earlier atmosphere and the planet continued to cool.


So now we have two major elements, oxygen and temperature. Prior to the appearance of eukaryotes there was not enough oxygen on this planet to support any life form that was based on oxygen metabolism. When there was enough oxygen to support oxygen metabolizing microorganisms, then oxygen metabolizing microorganisms appeared. When the temperature of the surface of the earth cooled to 70-73 degrees Centigrade or 158-163 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the upper tolerable limit for photosynthetic bacteria, then photosynthetic bacteria appeared. When the surface of the earth had cooled to 60 degrees Centigrade or 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the upper tolerable limit for eukaryotic microorganisms, then eukaryotic microorganisms appeared. In each case the arrival of a life form was dependent on the planet reaching a point in terms of heat and atmosphere that was tolerable for the survival of that life form. It didn't take two billion years for prokaryotic bacteria to 'figure out' how to become 'eukaryotes'. It took two billion years for the earth to become cool enough and oxygenated enough for eukaryotes to survive. Oxygen metabolizing eukaryotes, just like photosynthesizing prokaryotes and just like chemoautotrophic extremophiles arrived here whole, formed, as complete systems. And they arrived here as soon as environmental conditions on this planet could support them.


Contrary to neo-Darwinian theory which states that the thrust of evolution is survival; the more advanced and complex life becomes, the more fragile it becomes and the more demanding it is on the environment that it finds itself in. Complex, multi-cellular, macroscopic eukaryans must operate within a much narrower range of temperature and need a much more oxygenated atmosphere than microorganisms. But the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere and the surface temperature are not the only environmental factors that influenced the arrival of more advanced life. Inorganic nutrients including iron, nitrate and phosphorous, are necessary to advanced life. Phosphorous, in particular, is necessary for the development of skeletons and for maintaining complex organs in a stable physical relationship to one another. Increased tectonic activity starting about one billion years ago, caused the upheaval of phosphorite rocks. This spur in the amount of phosphorous in the oceans was necessary for the growth of skeletons which, in turn, is necessary to the structure and support of larger animals. Once again we can wonder why it took a billion years for multi-cellular life to arrive after the appearance of the first single celled eukaryans. Did it take all that time for the genes of single celled organisms to 'learn' to relate to each other, or was multi-cellularity and larger organisms impossible without skeletons and skeletons were impossible without phosphorous, and phosphorous was not available until increased tectonic activity brought phosphorous to the surface of the ocean waters? At the same time that the amount of phosphorous was spiking in the oceans, the planet was continuing to cool and the atmosphere was becoming more oxygenated. The upper temperature limit for animals is 50 degrees Centigrade, or 122 degrees Farenheit. Multi-cellular but still microscopic eukaryotic organisms began to appear about one billion years ago, right at the time that there was enough oxygen, enough phosphorous and a consistent surface temperature of 50 degrees Centigrade or less.


I should mention here the current neo-Darwinian conjectures regarding the evolution of multi-cellularity. Ward and Brownlee write,


"The first step, they (biologists John Gerhart and Marc Kirschner) argue, seems almost paradoxical: It was not some new structure gained that allowed this transition, but an important structure lost. Long ago in our planet's past, some organism of the eukaryotic lineage made a brave (or lucky) morphological change-it shed its external cell wall. Why this occurred is still unclear, but the net effect was far-reaching. A tough outer coating protects most unicellular creatures from their surrounding environment. At the same time, however, it isolates these cells from other members of their own kind. By divesting themselves of this outer wall, individual cells could begin exchanging living material-and information-with one another. The naked cells could adhere to each other, crawl over each other, and communicate. These were the first steps in the formation of a tissue, which is an aggregation of cells united for mutual benefit."


Keep in mind that this is the current, best explanation for the evolutionary development of multi-cellular organisms and inter-cellular communication. To paraphrase, individual one celled beings took off their outer coats, rolled around and became one being. I have heard of orgies where the individual participants report experiences of deep bonding, but I never heard of an orgy where the participants emerge as one being! This is more magic of the Lynn Margulis variety, except this time, instead of the individual beings submerging their focus and organization to a larger being and retaining their basic structure, the individual cells become what? A kind of tissue? But who does this tissue belong to? The first cell, the second, or some new combination of both of them? Does this really make sense? Individual cells shedding their outer cell wall would put them in extreme jeopardy. How long could they survive in this unprotected state until this mystic merger took place?


Current evolutionary theory to my mind is centered around a process that can't possibly work: the process of genetic mutations, which works fine with simple, within species, adaptations, but makes no sense regarding evolutionary changes in structure and complexity from one species, one genera, one family or one phyla, to the next; and three, what I call POOF! experiences. The first, and biggest poof experience, of course, was when a randomly accumulated organic molecule suddenly started replicating, using a genetic code, with a relentless commitment to its own integrity, shape and survival, and with the ability to transmit that commitment to its progeny for ever more. Inanimate matter to living molecule.....POOF! Then we have Lynn Margulis' invading symbiants becoming one being with their host cell..... POOF! And, finally, we have Gerhart and Kirshner's moment when individual organisms, stripped of their outer cell wall, roll all over each other and become one multi-cellular being...... POOF!


The Cambrian Explosion


The final event in evolutionary history that I would like to mention is referred to as the Cambrian Explosion. All the organisms I have mentioned thus far have been either microscopic or barely visible. In fact all of the evidence for their existence comes not from fossilized skeletons, but from the fossilized traces, the trackways and feeding patterns, of these ancient organisms, and their effects on their environment (like the oxidation of minerals and the ratio of carbon isotopes). The first actual fossilized skeletons visible to the naked eye did not appear until 540 million years ago, over three billion years from the first arrival of life. So for two billion years we had prokaryotes and for over a billion more they were joined by microscopic eukaryotes. The reason the Cambrian period is referred to as an explosion is that very suddenly, about 540 million years ago, not only did fossils and macroscopic life appear, but in a relatively short period of time ALL the basic body plans, or phyla, of animal life appeared. And since the end of the Cambrian period, about 490 million years ago, there have been no new phyla. All of the animals on the planet today are variations of forty or less body plans, all of which made their appearance in that brief interlude, 540 to 490 million years ago.


So why did all these body plans arise from microscopic organisms in such a relatively brief period? For one thing, oxygen reached a critical threshold. A huge upwelling of mineral nutrients from volcanic emissions, from intense plate tectonic activity which tore apart huge land masses and redirected oceanic flows, and quite possibly from a shift in the magnetic axis of the earth; all of these contributed to the appearance on the ocean's surface of a rich supply of minerals which spiked the growth of photosynthetic prokaryotes, which in turn spiked the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. There was now both a sufficient amount of oxygen for the larger and more efficient oxygen metabolizers and a sufficient amount of phosphorous to support their skeletal structures. And there were many other environmental factors as well. The amount of radiation coming from the earth's core had stabilized. There was a balancing system in place between photosynthesizers and oxygen metabolizers. The first increasing the oxygen supply and decreasing carbon dioxide, the second increasing carbon dioxide and decreasing oxygen, and in that balance, creating a long term stability in the amount of green house gases, and, therefore, a long term moderation in planetary temperature. There was a strong and consistent magnetic field which may be necessary for the internal structure of complex animals and plants. And there was a shifting land mass which effected the distribution of waters and the isolation of bodies of water from each other and the chemical content of these waters, which provided a wide variety of environmental conditions or habitats which would encourage (or command) a wide variety of evolutionary responses.


But for whatever reasons, the Cambrian explosion did happen and it did happen when scientists said it happened. Also, it is undeniable that the building block of all these macroscopic creatures that came out of the Cambrian explosion was the eukaryotic cell. The most debated question of the Cambrian is: were all the creatures that suddenly emerged in the Cambrian, with such diverse body plans, were they separate creations as the intelligent designers would have it; or did they all evolve from one microscopic eukaryan ancestor, as the evolutionists would have it?

That question is, I think, unanswerable; but a more relevant question is this: if all these phyla did descend from one ancestor, how was this accomplished? If the theory of random advantageous mutations does not fit mathematically or logically, in explaining such total transformations in organization, size and complexity, then how was this 'evolution' possible?

Advantageous vs. Evolutionary Change


First, let me pose a question: what is an advantageous mutation? At the level of bacteria, that is a pretty easily answered question. An advantageous mutation would be one that alters the production of an enzyme in such a way that it affords more protection, or facilitates digestion, metabolism or some other biological function. But that is an adaptive not an evolutionary change. An organism, which is producing a whole suite of enzymes, now produces one slightly different enzyme. There is no change in structure, form or complexity that such a mutation engenders. Microbes, bacteria, in spite of the almost endless chemical adaptations they have undergone in terms of the enzymes, and antibodies that they have been able to produce at different times and in reaction to an almost endless variety of environmental threats, have not really changed in terms of complexity or structure since they first arrived here four billion years ago. They have not evolved. They have adapted.


It is among the eukaryans that the real evolution, the increase in size and shape and organization and complexity has taken place. These changes, though, are not adaptive, in that they do not increase the survival capabilities of an organism. In fact they diminish them. Any increase in complexity of organization or shape, at least in the short term, would be nonadaptive. As I said earlier, you cannot imagine any complete rearrangement of a major biological system without many, many genetic changes. If each of these changes really happens randomly by an extraordinarily rare mutation (not just a copying error, but the one and only precise copying error that would further the development of this one particular system to the next precise step in its construction) and since all systems in an organism must be in balance and synchronized with each other then, there would have to be parallel series' of extraordinarily rare mutations in all the other biological systems of an organism so that balance and inter system communication could be maintained during this lengthy, millions of years perhaps, transition. In all these cases we are talking about transitions from one celled creatures to creatures of billions and trillions of cells, all relating and synchronous, all supporting the survival needs of this new entity, all organized into systems to deliver the separate biological needs of this organism. So during this extraordinarily lengthy process, when all these biological systems are in transition, this organism is putting itself at a severe disadvantage to its brethren organisms; organisms which are not undergoing these transitions and are using all of their biological systems to promote their own survival and are in balance with their environment and within themselves. The only reason any lengthy transitions of this nature were possible was that, at that time, there seems to have been little or no predation. These creatures could develop in this weakened state without fear of attack from competitors. If there were competitors, then this long process of evolution could not happen because the organisms undergoing this process would not be able to compete successfully with the organisms who weren't. There are other reasons why there has been no evolution over the last many, many thousands of years, but even if evolution were attempted now, the environmental niches of our planet are too competitive to allow any organism to survive the weakened state that they would have to undergo for many, many generations before any evolutionary change could be accomplished. And even when all of these astounding changes had been achieved, the resulting organism would be LESS hearty, LESS flexible, LESS capable of protecting itself from a wide range of temperatures and environmental threats, in other words LESS of a survivor than its forebear, the one celled microorganism. The thrust of evolution is clearly not survival, and organisms, rather than securing their survival, put themselves in jeopardy when they undertake it.


Now, again, do not get confused between adaptive change and evolutionary change. Evolutionary change is not adaptive change. All the changes that we are aware of in modern times are adaptive changes. Within a certain phyla, a certain body type, within a working, balanced, functioning and responsive organization of biological processes, when the evolutionary work has been completed, or at every stage, or plateau of evolutionary development, an organism adapts to constantly changing environments. This is what we (all living things) do our whole lives. This is what intelligence is. We try to read or judge our environment, to the extent that our biological equipment allows us to make such readings and judgments, and we (all living things) make adjustments, or adaptations, to this environment in order to get our survival needs, or our species' survival needs, or our family's survival needs, or our planet's survival needs met. That is intelligence. When Darwinists say that in evolution adaptation has replaced intelligence, I have two problems with such a statement. The first is that evolution is not adaptive at all, as I have been trying to explain. The second is that adaptation is not a replacement for intelligence. Adaptation IS intelligence. Really, what else could it be? Intelligence, or adaptation, on an intellectual level, we call science; intelligence, or adaptation, on a behavioral level, we call instinct; intelligence, or adaptation, on a level of living bodies we call biology, and intelligence, or adaptation, on a cellular level, we call genetics. But all of these are adaptations not evolution. We are adapting not changing. In the modern world, humans are still humans, apes are still apes, and armadillos are still armadillos.


So what would be an advantageous adaptation that promotes the evolution of structure and complexity? NO ONE KNOWS! And that is because no one has ever seen one. But one thing we can say for sure: it would most assuredly not be caused by a random mutation. As we said earlier, the math simply doesn't work. But also, genes are only a part of the story. I remind you that genes are simply the recipes for the basic ingredients of living bodies. And I also remind you that from the identical set of genes comes the caterpillar and the butterfly. This enormous change is not a genetic change. It is a change in how and when these genetic sequences are expressed and how and when the resultant enzymes and proteins are shaped and imbued with purpose. All of this we know NOTHING about. But evolutionary change clearly involves change at this level of forming and shaping and creating and imbuing as much as it does on the genetic level of changing the amount and quality of the basic ingredients that are being used by all this creativity. So evolution, in addition to requiring the addition of genetic sequences (which is not accomplished by mutation, which is the altering not the accumulation of genes), also requires, and more importantly, more causally, requires the organizing of genetic information, the readjustment of timing sequences and the reshaping of enzymes and proteins.


Whatever this process was, which is completely unknown to us, one thing we can say for sure: it happened over a very long period of time (although not nearly so long as Darwin had predicted) and it happened in very small increments. All this is supposing that there was an evolution. It is entirely possible that every different phyla that we have discovered in Cambrian fossils was a separate creation. But, if they were not separate creations, if they did evolve from one single celled eukaryan ancestor, then the process of that evolution had to happen very gradually. Why? Well, let's look at what happens when we try to change something in life. Let's say, a building.


If we are not tearing down a building and erecting a completely new one, but if we are renovating an existing building, we have to proceed with caution. If we want to put on a second floor, we have to first re-enforce the basement. Now many of us have endured major renovations in our homes. Sometimes it gets intolerable and we have to move out for a week or two until the job is completed. But in evolution, God or the cosmic consciousness does not have that luxury. We can't ask the being living inside that ancient body to move into a primordial hotel for a million years until we have finished evolving its body. No! During all these major renovations, as the entire structure of the organism is being redone, the organism is still living within its body. If the organism moves out (we call that death) then the whole project fails and we have to start all over. As I said earlier, the process of evolution puts the organism in a compromised state, and in a very competitive environment, like what exists today, this process would be impossible. But even then, the organism had to continue to survive at every moment of the process, had to still have a functional system of metabolism, of digestion, of procuring nutrition, etc. And this is not just adding a new wing to a house. This is transforming a one room cabin into a multi-billion room luxury complex, and during the entire time of the renovation, this home remains occupied.


Also, we know that the more complicated the structure, the more difficult it is to change, the more things have to be considered. For instance, in this house, at all times, there is wiring (the nervous system), and the electricity is ON. We cannot shut down the main breaker, add a new circuit, and then turn the juice back on. The juice has to always be on, even though we are going from one simple circuit to billions and trillions of connecting circuits. And, needless to say, the same holds true for the plumbing. No shut downs allowed. The occupant can't leave the house to borrow the neighbor's facilities. The plumbing has to work constantly, through all the changes.


One more thing. We know from our own human lives, that whenever there is an important change, we need a period of adjustment, a time to regain the balance of our lives. Biologically this is certainly true. All infants have some experience of colic and spitting up at first as they adjust to the change from pre-digested intravenous food, to food that they have to digest themselves. Adolescents, that experience a rapid spurt of growth, go through a period of awkwardness and 'growing pains' until they adjust to their new height. People who suffer the loss of a limb or some other incapacitation, must take some time to adjust and find balance within the framework of their new limitations. So the same must be true for evolution. Any change must be small enough, and incremental enough, so that the organism is capable of adjusting and making balance with it. And not just the organism itself, because any change in this organism will have an effect on its behavior and therefore on its fellow creatures and its environment. Only when a balance, an adjustment to the last incremental evolutionary change has been achieved within and without this organism, which may take many generations, is it ready, and is the whole system ready, to withstand yet another evolutionary adjustment.


My point is, that even when we act with a purpose, with a design, if we are trying to build on existing structures, and improve rather than destroy, we must move slowly and incrementally. And I am not talking just about structures within an organism, but the entire environment that that organism finds itself in. So, for instance, it is silly to talk about the evolution of oxygen metabolizers apart from an environment with a sufficient amount of oxygen. Oxygen metabolizers had to follow long after prokaryotic photosynthesizers, because, for one thing, they created, and still create, the oxygen that we oxygen breathers need. But we are dependent on the microbial world in a host of other ways to, just as we are dependent on the world of plants, just as we are dependent on the increasing levels of organization that we have inherited from generations and generation of other animals in our evolutionary ascent.


You may wonder why God took four billion years to evolve humans, if humans are, indeed, the purpose of evolution. But God does not operate in time, and if you understand your true spiritual nature, neither do you. God is not a guy who's been tapping His foot and looking at His watch for four billion years. And evolution is not the story of life. Evolution is the story of the equipment that life uses. It is the story of life as it manifests on the physical plane. Life in unmanifest form, as unlimited consciousness, love and intelligence, as oneness, has been here forever.


The question of why evolution began and why, in terms of new body types, and in terms of any species beyond humans, it seems to have ended, I will try to tackle in another post. For now, let me leave you with this: Life begins in consciousness and ends in consciousness. When biologists limit themselves to the actual observations that they make, there is no problem. But when biologists begin to conjecture about origin and purpose, that's when things get goofy, because biologists never begin at the beginning and they never end at the end. In looking at biological processes, biologists may locate an enzyme that initiates a process. They may even be able to detect the electrical charge that stimulates the manufacture of that enzyme. But what they will never observe is the desire that creates the polarity that creates the electrical charge that stimulates that enzyme. And they will never observe the self, that is the source of that desire. Likewise, brain researchers will locate excitation in the optical center of the brain, or the aural center, or the olfactory center, or the center for memory. But they will never see you, whose desire to look at something, to hear, smell or remember something, is what caused that excitation in the first place. And certainly, they will never see your experience, the sunset you were looking at, the concert you were listening to, the flower you were smelling or the episode you were remembering. So the desires that begin these processes and the experiences that these processes result in are not included or even acknowledged. Biology, which is supposedly the study of life, is really the study of the intermediate physical processes of life that lie between desire and experience.


To conclude that God, the cosmic consciousness, has not only engendered life, but has evolved life and is maintaining life at every moment may seem a strange point of view in the present day. But it is a point of view that includes all the latest scientific findings and aligns itself perfectly with the eternal, omnipresent God, the God that is closer than your breath, of the Old Testament, with the Divine Ocean of the Vedas and the Upanishads, the unlimited consciousness of the teachings of Buddha, and the transcendence of the Tao. I thank God for evolving this body that allows me to learn, to experience the world and to contemplate the world beyond. I thank God for breathing me, for growing me, for circulating my blood, for giving me the equipment that enables me to understand as much of the world as I can, and for allowing me to write this blog. And I thank you for listening.



I sincerely welcome your comments.



8 comments:

Martin said...

Very thought-provoking and beautifully expressed. Three small caveats:

1. You mention gene-swapping in bacteria, but also say that :

“If things were truly random, wouldn't we find genes to neutralize the effects of high acidity in normal pH environments, and genetic adaptations to extreme cold in warmer climates? Even if these gene sequences were never used, why wouldn't they appear in the genomes of bacteria from other environments.”

Surely all kinds of “old” genetic adaptations and unknown sequences *are * found in the genome? I don’t think this destroys your essential point, but it’s the sort of thing a biologist would jump on.

2. What about copying errors? When there are mutations (eg deformities), couldn’t this be interpreted as a sign that the process is mechanistic, not guided by “intention” or “will to survive”?

3. You say that humans are the pinnacle of evolution. Evolutionary biologists don’t claim that. They say we just happen to be a current adaptation. If your point is that intelligence is paramount, then that is just a human perspective.

Matt Chait said...

Martin,
Sorry for taking so long to publish your comment. I didn't want to put it out there until I had a response and the response only came to me last night. (My 'scientific method' is that I think about a certain issue for a few hours before I go to sleep. Then I wake up about four in the morning with an answer.)
To your first concern: Is junk DNA made of vestigial genetic sequences that are no longer needed? That is not my understanding of it. Genes don't wear down or age. If they are in tact sequences they would function just as well if they were frequently expressed or if they hadn't been expressed for centuries. What you would be talking about, then, would be a kind of uber-bacteria that could survive in any environment. Put an acidophile in a high alkaline environment, those unused sequences would now be triggered and the acidophile would become an alkaphile. Psychrophiles in hot environments would become thermophiles and vice versa. It doesn't work like that. If you know something that I don't know about this please tell me, but my understanding of 'junk' DNA is precisely that, that scientists call it junk because they can observe no use for it. My belief is that they will never observe a use for it, but that the entire genome including the spacing between genes, the way that it is enfolded in the nucleosome or the spatial relationships of the genetic material in the cytoplasm of prokaryotes, all of it, functions as a receiver. It is receiving the particular mixtures of energy (of yin and yang) that shape the body and the particular will and intelligence that uses this genome in a particular way to grow this body and imbue it with function.
Your second objection is about replication 'errors.' I never said they were errors. They are referred to in evolutionary theory as errors. This is a very tricky topic and can be easily misunderstood. I plan to talk much more about this in other posts,but for now let me say this:
It was never God's intention to create 'perfect' beings who would float through a 'perfect' world in 'perfect' bubbles. We chose life to mix it up, to get our hands dirty. If something is 'perfect' then any change from that would be 'imperfect.' A perfect world would have identical parts and would be experienced by each 'perfect' being in identical ways. Does that still sound 'perfect' to you? To me it sounds stultifyingly boring. All this is to say that there are no mistakes. Now that may seem cruel to someone who got dealt a genetically difficult hand. But we are looking at it from too narrow a perspective. This life is an experience that we choose that in some way prepares us for the next experience. The problem is not with the universe but with our society that forgets that each of us is a piece of Divinity with traits. We think that we are our traits instead of thinking of ourselves as a piece of Divinity that happens to have certain traits, and we brutalize each other because we think that our better traits make us better than other beings; and we brutalize ourselves because we think of our selves in terms of these competitive traits and not in terms of the Divinity that enlivens these traits. What would make this world a joy for all of us is the realization that we are all different aspects of One Being. For people to realize that they have to learn how to look past their own traits and the traits of others to the Divinity beneath.

To the third point: My reference to humans as the 'pinnacle' was always sarcastic. In the common understanding of evolution, as an increase in complexity, we are probably the most genetically complex creature on the planet, with the exception of a grain of rice, which actually has a more complicated genome than we do. But rice grains are much too humble to ever refer to themselves as the pinnacle of anything.

Rudy Davis said...

Hey Matt,

I just had to say that I love your writings. You have been a true inspiration to me and given me new ways to think. I refer to your links on my own website. I loved your thoughts about "will" and "desire" in regards to the evolutionary process.

God Bless You and below are some of my websites.

http://www.rudyaarondavis.com/

http://www.rudyaarondavis.com/Intelligent_Design.html

http://www.youtube.com/user/LoneStar1776

Anonymous said...

Hi-ya i am new on here. I came accross this chat board I have found It exceedingly accommodating & it has helped me tons. I hope to give something back & support others like it has helped me.

Thank You, See Ya Around

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my bad english. Thank you so much for your good post. Your post helped me in my college assignment, If you can provide me more details please email me.

Barzin said...

You believe that Hyperthermophiles are called Hypothermophiles for some unknown reason.

Please note the differences:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hypo-
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hyper-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperthermophiles

Furthremore you should be aware that Mike Adams does not call Hyperthermophiles "Hypo"thermophiles.

http://www.bmb.uga.edu/home/people/people.php?fname=michael&lname=adams
Quote:
"The research projects in our laboratory concern hyperthermophiles, which are microorganisms that grow near and even above 100°C. The main focus is the archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus (Pf), which grows optimally at the boiling point."

Lastly, Hyperthermophiles do not all thrive "at and above the boiling point of water" - only exceptional subsets of such bacteria do so, which is what makes them stand out and become interesting subjects for scientific study.

Matt Chait said...

Barzin,
There was no reason. Just a simple spelling error which I have corrected. I assume you are a scientist, so what do you think, besides these two quibbles, of the larger ideas expressed in this post?
Matt Chait

Anonymous said...

Greetings! I've been reading your weblog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the great work!
my webpage :: treadmill reviews