May 30, 2016
Here’s a re-post of something I posted earlier this year. The content is completely unchanged:
Random Thoughts – Creation 101: Part 15
It was huge news! Back in the ‘80’s (or maybe the ‘90’s), it was hailed as the Frontier of Science. And not only was it the hottest idea, but it was a movement being led by my Alma Mater, Villanova University. Drum roll, please: Introducing, the Newest Field of Science – the Science of Chaos!
What was that? Did I hear a loud thud? What do you mean, you never heard of it! You must just hate the fact that Villanova was leading the way, don’t you! Or maybe you can claim deniability so you can steal the idea! There is cut-throat jealousy among scientists, too – haven’t you watched “The Big Bang Theory”?
OK – you don’t remember the thing about the Chinese Butterfly Hypothesis? That a butterfly in China flaps its wings and, eventually, the disruption of the atmosphere causes a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico? Or, something to that effect? That was all part of the brand, spankin’ new Science of Chaos.
Which, of course, completely flopped. The reason why nobody today has ever heard of it – or, at least, won’t ADMIT that they heard of it, was because it was a giant fizzle. Like one of those weather forecasts of a MASSIVE SNOW STORM that will hit YOUR AREA TOMORROW! Which ends up being a drizzly afternoon and nothing more… Ffffffffffsssssss… The air was let out of the balloon… AND THE BALLOON MOVED WILDLY IN A COMPLETELY RANDOM PATTERN! No, it didn’t. That was the problem – we found out that there was really no chaos. Everything could be predicted, or followed a pattern, if we knew enough information. There is no Science of Chaos because there is really no… chaos,
“What? Of course there is!” I hear several of you rant.
“No, there really isn’t,” I gently reply.
“You mean, with the vast complexity of computers today, that no one can produce a truly random set of numbers?”
“You nailed it. No matter how sophisticated we get in our chase for randomness, true randomness doesn’t really exist. The math may be complex, but, the more the search for true randomness, the less we find it. In fact, we never find it.”
“Never! Well, that’s just so RANDOM!”
“Oh, shut up!”
Anyway… even things like mutations are not really random – they follow patterns, even if we can’t discern them. These ideas came to mind as I – again- prepare to teach a section on evolution in “Environmental Science.” And – once again… wouldn’t you know it? – I will show the class what our textbook says is the driving force of evolution: mutations. Random changes in DNA… obviously, making things better, right?
“Oh, no – that’s right. These mutations are random, but natural selection really selects which genes are carried forward… all the bad ones are – well, usually – weeded out.”
Does anyone really get how really foolish that line of thinking is? Randomness leading to order – not to mention that it also violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics (which is called a “law” for a reason) – is flat-out illogical.
“What – you’re gonna teach from that dumbed-down fundamentalist hocus-pocus Bible-textbook of yours?”
I don’t think Pearson Publishing would appreciate that characterization of their Environmental Science textbook, copyright 2011, as a fundamentalist textbook. I don’t think the author – Jay Withgott (which, providentially, means “with God”) – is known for his creationist views. No, I’m pretty sure he’s an evolutionist.
“You don’t teach from that textbook! You’re a YEC (Young Earth Creationist)… you can’t teach evolution, can you?”
I certainly do teach from that textbook. I’m not afraid to teach evolution from an evolutionist textbook. I know there’s no real evidence that supports “common ancestor/ old earth evolution.” My students learn about Darwin and “descent with modification” – and understand why it’s fallacious. Read my essay on “The Smoking Gun”.
Anyway – to make a long story short – the Lord has given me a good analogy to explain why randomness can never bring useful information. Imagine (if you will, quoting Mr. Evolution, Carl Sagan) that a piece of music represents a gene – music is DNA. And let’s say this particular gene is the well-known piano piece written by Ludwig von Beethoven, “Für Elise.” Do you think random changes to what Beethoven wrote would improve it? Make it sound BETTER? Nonsense! Making random changes to a “perfect” piece of music – representing mutations – is known as “playing it badly.” And, somehow, MORE changes will make it better and better?
I’ll end with this profound thought: “hherteTref ertytertse NfrrefDSES vjkh095 gfreSwdtrewHKLl ;’uytwJRTetM.”
Let that sit around for millions and millions of years – maybe some day it will make sense.