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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Big Bang or the Big Fizzle

This item is available on the Apologetics Press web site at: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3393 - it was originally published in Reason & Revelation, issue 6[7]:25R, 28R

AP Content :: Reason & Revelation

The Big Fizzle: Admissions from an Evolutionary Astrophysicist
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


No topic is more fundamental in the creation/evolution debate than the origin of the Universe. The theory advanced by evolutionists for several decades now, which supposedly best explains our existence from a purely naturalistic perspective, is known as the Big Bang. It has circulated via science textbooks all over the world. One of the leading publishers of science curriculum for many years has been Prentice Hall. In their 1992 General Science textbook, titled A Voyage of Discovery, they included the following section on “The Birth and Death of the Universe:”

How was the universe born and how will it end? Most astronomers believe that about 18 to 20 billion years ago all the matter in the universe was concentrated into one very dense, very hot region that may have been much smaller than a period on this page. For some unknown reason, this region exploded. This explosion is called the big bang. One result of the big bang was the formation of galaxies, all racing away from one another. This explains why the universe is still expanding (Hurd, et al., p. 61, emp. in orig.).

Since 1992 the “birth of the Universe” has been shaved substantially (from 18 to 20 billion years ago to 12 to 15 billion years ago—see Biggs, et al., 2003, p. 159), but the theory is more or less the same. Ask an evolutionist how the Universe came to be and you likely will hear that “it all started with a big bang.” (Good luck getting an evolutionist to explain from whence came the dense ball of matter that purportedly exploded and formed the Universe.)

Recent admissions from one astrophysicist in the popular scientific journal New Scientist are very significant in light of how saturated evolutionary science is with the Big Bang model. The cover of the March 3, 2007 issue of New Scientist reads: “What Put the Bang in the Big Bang” (emp. in orig.). The cover story was written by Dr. Peter Coles, who teaches astrophysics at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. One might assume by the heading on the cover that New Scientist would inform readers what actually caused the explosion of the “pinhead” size ball of matter (193[2593]:33), especially since the heading was not a question, but a declaration. Instead, Coles elected to by-pass any explanation of the actual cause of the Big Bang. He wrote: “Inflation puts the ‘bang’ in the big bang” (p. 36, emp. added). Inflation is the “ultra-fast expansion just after the big bang” through which the Universe allegedly went in less than a millisecond, supposedly causing “most of the growth” of the 14-billion-light-year observable Universe (see Coles, pp. 33,36). According to Coles, this expansion puts the “oomph” in the big bang. “[I]nflation is now well established as an essential component of cosmology” (p. 33, emp. added).

Notice, however, the many blatant admissions Dr. Coles made throughout his brief, five-page article that completely invalidate any theory relying upon inflation and the Big Bang:

There is little direct evidence that inflation actually took place. Observations of the cosmic microwave background...are consistent with the idea that inflation took place, but that doesn’t mean it actually happened. What’s more, we still don’t know what would have caused it if it did. So how confident can we be that inflation is really a part of the universe’s history? (p. 33, emp. added).

Alan Guth (the physicist who proposed the inflation theory in 1981—EL) cannot prove that this “inflation” actually happened nor can he suggest a compelling physical reason why it should have (p. 33).

Within just a few years inflation had become an indispensable part of cosmological theory.... The only problem was that there wasn’t a shred of evidence that inflation had actually happened (p. 35, emp. added).

Inflation is undoubtedly a beautiful idea, but the problems it solves are theoretical, not observational.... [T]he fact that the universe appears to be flat doesn’t prove that inflation happened (p. 35).

It is difficult to talk sensibly about scientific proof of phenomena that are so far removed from everyday experience. At what level can we prove anything in astronomy?... [D]o we really know for sure that the Universe is expanding?... I would hesitate to say that it was proven beyond all reasonable doubt. The same goes for inflation. It is a beautiful idea that fits snugly with standard cosmology and binds many parts of it together but that doesn’t necessarily make it true. Many theories are beautiful, but that is not sufficient to prove them right (p. 36, emp. added).

Cosmology is now a mature and respectable science. Yet there are still many gaps in our knowledge. We don’t know the form of the “dark matter” responsible for unexplained extra gravity. Nor do we have any real understanding of dark energy (p. 37, emp. added). [NOTE: Considering that “dark matter” and “dark energy” supposedly make up 96% of the observable Universe (Thompson, et al., 2003), admitting that astronomers do not have “any real understanding” of them speaks volumes about the speculations and assumptions upon which the Big Bang theory is based—EL.]

If that were not enough, Coles then concluded his article with the following words.

We don’t know for sure if inflation happened, and we are certainly a long way from being able to identify the inflation. In a way we are still as confused as ever about how the universe began. But perhaps now we are confused on a higher level and for better reasons (p. 37, emp. added).

Though man now knows more about the Universe than ever before, evolutionists are “as confused as ever about how the universe began,” albeit “confused on a higher level.” Such confusion should come as no surprise. After all, “[t]he fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). Aside from the fact that an explosion of a period-size ball of matter causing an orderly Universe defies both logic and the law of cause and effect (see Thompson, 2004, pp. 19-138), Coles’ recent admissions testify loudly against the best explanation evolutionists have for the origin of the Universe. Instead of titling New Scientist’s issue “What Put the Bang in the Big Bang,” perhaps a better heading would have been “Confusion Taken to a Whole New Level.”

REFERENCES
Biggs, Alton, et al. (2003), Science (New York: McGraw-Hill).

Coles, Peter (2007), “Boomtime,” New Scientist, 193[2593]:33-37, March 3.

Hurd, Dean, George Mathias, and Susan Johnson, eds. (1992), General Science: A Voyage of Discovery (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).

Thompson, Bert (2004), The Scientific Case for Creation (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Part II],” Reason & Revelation, 23[6]:49-63, June, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/30.





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Copyright © 2007 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Small could be better!




This item is available on the Apologetics Press web site at: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3384 - it was originally published in Reason & Revelation, issue 27[7]:49-52AP Content :: Reason & RevelationDesign Rulesby Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by one of A.P.’s auxiliary staff scientists. Dr. Fausz holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and serves as liaison to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. (All images in Dr. Fausz’ article are Courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories, SUMMiTTM Technologies, www.mems.sandia.gov.)]


One of the most fascinating areas of modern engineering research is the development of what has become known as MicroElectroMechanical Systems, or MEMS. Imagine a closed-cycle steam engine no bigger than a pinhead that operates on a single drop of water (e.g., Frechette, et al., 2003, pp. 335-344), or mirror mechanisms for micro-optical systems with structures that can be obscured by a single dust mite (McWhorter, 2001; McWhorter, 2006). These devices are so miniscule that their operational performance has to be verified through a microscope. MEMS devices are used to actuate airbags in automobiles, precisely control optics in digital projectors and video cameras, and perform a variety of other functions (see “SAMPLES Program,” 2005; “MEMS Technology,” 2006). Yet, we have barely scratched the surface of possible applications for MEMS.

Spider mite on mirror assemblyThe fabrication process for MEMS devices is the epitome of exacting, painstaking effort, requiring the highest levels of intricacy and precision. Built on technology developed to fabricate integrated circuits, the procedures for building MEMS must follow methodical rules and be carried out in a tightly controlled environment. This requires very expensive, high fidelity robotic assembly lines operating in clean rooms with extremely low contaminant concentrations (one speck of dust could be the proverbial monkey wrench for these mechanisms). As in the case of micro-chips, MEMS fabrication controls must be followed strictly for the devices to have any chance of carrying out their design functions once their fabrication is complete (“SAMPLES Program,” 2005).

Thus, in the design, fabrication, and operation of MEMS devices, it is clear that “small” is not synonymous with “simple” or “easy to understand or fabricate.” As seen through the microscope, MEMS parts are easily as complex as their counterparts on the larger scale, if not more so. Furthermore, due to the strict requirements imposed by the meticulous fabrication process, the MEMS designer must exercise much more care in laying out the configuration of his design than would a designer working on a larger scale.

The incredible MEMS clutch mechanism. The miniscule gears are 50 microns across. Keep in mind that there are 25,400 microns to an inch.To aid the designer in accounting for the tight constraints of a particular MEMS fabrication process, the developers of that process typically provide him a set of design rules to follow in laying out the design. In turn, these rules usually are incorporated within the fabrication process itself through software that checks designs against these rules, and will not admit a design that violates them (“SAMPLES Program,” 2005). So, we see that the design rules and the fabrication process work together to produce devices that ideally will fulfill the desire of the designer throughout its operational life. The design rules characterize fundamental aspects of the fabrication process and, thus, leave an indelible imprint of those process characteristics on each and every new design. These design rules, then, represent a bridge between the mind of the designer and the finished product, in a sense “guiding” the design through the fabrication process.
It is amazing that many of the engineers and scientists who have worked to make MEMS technology a reality believe that the vast, intricate, mechanical workings of the Universe, a Universe that appears to conform to immutable natural laws, came about through mostly random processes. They have witnessed the microscopic complexity of MEMS, yet they admit reasoning that suggests the galaxies, solar systems, planets, and stars evolved from “simpler” particles of matter that somehow came into existence at the beginning of time. They hold these beliefs in spite of their understanding of the painstaking process that is required to design and fabricate a single MEMS mechanism.

Fully-functioning MEMS transmissionScientists continue to discover with increasing clarity that the elementary particles of matter that make up everything in the observable Universe, though extremely small, are far from “simple.” In his book, A Brief History of Time, well-known physicist Stephen Hawking states:
Up to about twenty years ago, it was thought that protons and neutrons were “elementary” particles, but experiments in which protons were collided with other protons or electrons at high speeds indicated that they were in fact made up of smaller particles. These particles were named quarks by the Caltech physicist Murray Gell-Mann, who won the Nobel prize in 1969 for his work on them.... So the question is: What are the truly elementary particles, the basic building blocks from which everything is made? (1988, p. 65).
Since science so far has been incapable of even identifying the most elementary components of the Universe, it is unreasonable to conclude that “small” means simple or easy. Given this unexpected complexity at the sub-microscopic (quantum) level, it is incredible that otherwise reasoned thinkers would conclude that everything we observe resulted from random processes.

Close-up view of one vernier; the teeth are two microns wide and the spaces between them measure four microns.
Likewise, small structures in biological study exhibit extremely high levels of order, complexity, and information content. Now that scientists actually are able to observe single-cellular life, accounts of the immense complexity in these “simple” life forms are becoming increasingly abundant. Consider Dean Overman’s summary of the research of Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe in his monograph, A Case Against Accident and Self-Organization:

Sitting atop some MEMS gears, this spider mite is the size of the period at the end of this sentence.Because there are thousands of different enzymes with different functions, to produce the simplest living cell, Hoyle calculated that about 2,000 enzymes were needed with each one performing a specific task to form a single bacterium like E. coli. Computing the probability of all these different enzymes forming in one place at one time to produce a single bacterium, Hoyle and his colleague, Chandra Wickramasinghe, calculated the odds at 1 in 1040,000. This number is so vast that any mathematician would agree that it amounts to total impossibility.... [T]he total atoms in the observable universe are estimated to be only approximately 1080 (1997, pp. 58-59, emp. added).
The performance observed in such a system (a bacterium) is so intricate and complex on such a small scale, that so far humans are incapable of duplicating it—MEMS is about as close as science has come to doing so. Yet, in stark contradistinction, many scientists seem to accept that a “simple” life form must have organized by accident and, in turn, given rise to all of the life that we observe on Earth.

Complex MEMS ratchet mechanismThe complexity inherent in MEMS, especially in comparison to larger scale systems, suggests a more natural conclusion regarding the existence of the Universe. If one were looking through a microscope in a science class, or working in a laboratory, and unexpectedly saw tiny gears turning or pistons moving, what would he conclude? This scenario actually has been used as a story line in multiple science fiction shows, and the conclusion reached was not that the microscopic machines had evolved naturally through random processes. Besides the fact that such a conclusion might make for a rather boring story, it is simply an unsound conclusion under the circumstances. Complexity on such a small scale, as we have noted, is not easy to design, so why would we ever conclude that it came about by accident? As in the science fiction scenario depicted, the intricate complexity that we observe on such a small scale is not only evidence of a designer, but also evidence of an incredibly advanced design capability—not of undirected random processes.

The world’s smallest functioning triple-piston steam engine. One piston is five microns across or 1/5080 of an inch.The fact that the Universe operates under seemingly immutable natural laws is further evidence of a designer. We have noted that MEMS designers utilize design rules to ensure the viability of their designs. While science has not fully characterized the rules that govern the Universe, or even proved their existence, scientists firmly believe in them. Countless observations and experiments have demonstrated that the Universe appears to behave in repeatable and predictable ways, indicating that there is an inherent yet unobservable constraint being enforced on that behavior. Similar to MEMS design rules, the natural laws of the Universe determine what structures can viably exist in the system (Conservation of Matter and Energy), how they will behave (Causality, Laws of Motion, Relativity, etc.), and how long they will last (Thermodynamics). It simply is no more reasonable to assume that random processes gave rise to the behavior of the Universe than to assume that random fabrication processes could give rise to operational MEMS devices.

Drive gear chain and linkages, with a grain of pollen (top right) and coagulated red blood cells (top left, lower right) to demonstrate scale.Indeed, experience with MEMS illustrates that the ordered complexity we observe at every level within the Universe, but especially on the small scale, is indisputable evidence of a Designer whose capability far exceeds human accomplishment. MEMS research is impressive and fascinating, but pales in comparison to what we observe at the microscopic level, and what we theorize at the sub-atomic level. The science and engineering of mankind has not come anywhere close to duplicating the intricate functional complexity that exists in the realm of nature’s small scale. The Designer responsible for these micro- mechanisms fully understands the fabrication process parameters that are required to bring them into existence and sustain their operation, and has used that process to its utmost effectiveness in the creation of everything we observe. Furthermore, the “design rules” that have been employed to accomplish this are nothing less than the natural laws that, in turn, continue to constrain and direct the ongoing operation of His design.



REFERENCES
Frechette, L.G., C. Lee, S. Arslan, and Y.C. Liu (2003), “Design of a Microfabricated Rankine Cycle Steam Turbine for Power Generation,” American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Mechanical Engineering Congress, International Meeting on Energy Conversion Engineering, pp. 335-344, November.
Hawking, Stephen (1988), A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York: Bantam).
McWhorter, Paul (2001), “Intelligent Multipurpose Micromachines Made at Sandia,” Sandia National Laboratories, [On-line], URL: http://www.sandia.gov/media/micro.htm.
McWhorter, Paul (2006), MEMS Image Gallery, [On-line], URL: http://www.memx.com/image_gallery.htm.
“MEMS Technology” (2006), [On-line], URL: http://www.memx.com/technology.htm.
Overman, Dean (1997), A Case Against Accident and Self-Organization (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield).
“SAMPLES Program” (2005), Sandia National Laboratories, [On-line], URL: http://mems.sandia.gov/samples.
Copyright © 2007 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.
For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:
Apologetics Press 230 Landmark Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117 U.S.A. Phone (334) 272-8558 http://www.apologeticspress.org