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Established scientific laws and principles are inherently non-controversial and can be investigated without rancour and without religious controversy, in a classroom and in a laboratory.
Astronomers have reached something approaching a general consensus regarding the broad picture of the origin of the universe. We may take this as an object lesson in dividing between science and religion.
In short, it is possible to study the universe irrespective of one's personal beliefs as to its origin. The physics of the "big bang" and that which ensued applies irrespective of the physicist's personal beliefs as to the Source of the phenomenon. The same separation of science and personal belief as practised by many astronomers can equally be practised by those dealing with the origin of the species.
Matter exists: "Matter can be neither created nor destroyed": we may successfully study matter separate from our personal opinions as to how it got here -- provided we place enough reliance upon the First Law to assume that the matter we are studying will not suddenly dismaterialize and ruin our experiment.
The species, excluding Man, are nothing more than a visible expression of information married with life. Once a living cell has been placed in the earth information technology is theoretically capable of producing some, if not all, the results we see around us. Storage and transmission of this information may, where necessary, be regarded as having been pre-programmed, thus leaving no contradiction between the observable facts and the biblical narrative. For those who prefer to leave the judeo-christian Scriptures aside, the existence of information is scarcely likely to threaten other creeds; and at the same time, the existence of information has been no barrier to those who claim no intentional design in nature.
The Source of the information need be no more controversial than the question of the Source of the universe.
Information, like matter, exists. How it came to exist we leave to one side, but the storage, transmission and effect of this information we may study within the parameters of the laws of physical chemistry, with descriptive disciplines such as biology and geology as guides.
To suggest that matter can create itself is to depart from the realms of known observable fact and to enter the realm of "philosophical" conjecture. To suggest that information can create itself is to likewise depart from the realms of observable fact and to enter the realm of conjecture. Information is information, whether I remember it or not. Even Einstein thought up nothing new. He described that which exists. Someone, or something, or, if we wish, random events, thought his thoughts before him.
Conjecture has a useful place in science. Problems arise when it is confused with empirical and applicable fact. We are now in an unprecedented position, because technologic advances now enable us to evaluate and update old ideas about origins -- with less conjecture, and more empirical and applicable facts.
The source of information in nature need no more concern nor confuse the capable scientist or educator than the question of the source of the universe need concern or confuse the competent scientist or educator. The teaching and practice of science, as always, can be divided from religious controversy.
The scriptural basis of science and of these lessons: the technical and educational resources of this site are ultimately founded on the Scriptures. For a quick overview of what the Bible says about the age of the earth click here.
The factual basis of these lessons: the earth has a story to tell. For instance the earth tells us that its rock strata, as a whole, were laid down over vast periods of time.
There is currently strong polarisation of opinions in this field. By utilising materials which are available on this site it should be possible to defuse antagonisms and broaden opinions. There is a very real sense in which both sides win as technology opens to us the remarkable story of origins.
These materials are freely available -- we hope you find them helpful.
(suggested for 'breaking the ice' for highschoolers)
The introductory lesson may be used at the teacher's discretion and should provide enough detail to cover a 1-2hr lesson. It may be used as a focus for discussion, and/or as a teaching package with questions to answer.
To evolve is to unroll or to unfold. This is the meaning of the word, evolve. How the unfolding happened will be investigated in these lessons.
A plant evolves as it grows from a seed.
A human likewise evolves by growing up.
A sporting event evolves as the games are played.
This lesson will evolve as you progress through it.
Nature has many lessons to teach us.
The universe in which we live began smaller than a pinhead.
Planet earth probably began as a speck.
The universe and our earth eventually became large, useful, beautiful.
So we too grow and play a part. Each one of us has great possibilities.
The story of life on the earth -- let it be the story of our own life -- is of small, hidden beginnings, finally expanding into something great, as the branches of a majestic tree.
List of Major Species Origin Theories
|AUTHOR||TIME IN HISTORY||THEORY|
Whatever an organism did in response to its needs was eventually inherited by its descendants. E.g. the giraffe, by stretching its neck, caused its descendants to have longer necks.
The earth's inhabitants were destroyed and new life-forms were divinely created in a series of catastrophes and creative events.
Life is based on master-templates and was designed by its Creator to transform into more highly developed species over time. The nature and physical structure of species was pre-ordained, that is, pre-programmed. Something -- Owen couldn't identify the mechanism --would cause species to transform into new species.
|Darwin, Wallace, Huxley & Co.||
mid to late 1800s
Selective breeding, as a result of environmental pressures, changed species sufficiently to convert them into new species. This occurred through genetic modification of species populations over a vast period of time. Some people saw environmental pressure as a tool being employed by a Creator: others such as Huxley asserted that nature, of itself, could 'make leaps'.
|Hoyle, Crick & Co.||mid to late 1900s||
The earth was seeded with life from outer space
As you look through these theories you will notice that some people thought pre-programming was important while others thought outward circumstances could cause species to transform. You will also deduce that modern scientists know full well that species arose on the earth suddenly, as complete units -- as though dropped from space!
You can solve the puzzle of the origin of the species yourself, by thinking about how you grow, and about how a tree grows.
The changes that occur in you (or a tree) as you grow -- do these changes occur because things around you change?
Do these changes also occur because something was programmed into you (and into the tree) before you were born?
If you (or a tree) had not been properly pre-programmed before birth, would you or the tree be able to adjust to the changes?
We change because things around us change, and we change because we are programmed to change. Both of these causes of change are important. Which is the most important? Change because of outward circumstances (environment) or change because of pre-programming?
All the theories we listed may have something to tell us, but which do you think have the most to tell us?
Follow this link for an explanation of DNA and species, useful in this lesson..
Physical organisms are an instruction code (DNA) which constantly exchanges messages with the body. The body only exists because instructions from the DNA caused chemicals to grow into a body. This instruction code is programmable. Presumably, it is re-programmable.
Mr. Owen's ideas have stood the test of time, haven't they? In the Eighteen-Hundreds they didn't know about DNA and they didn't have electric computers, but Mr. Owen seems to have put his finger somewhere near the spot? But does this mean Mr. Darwin's ideas have no value? What if environmental pressure is part of the re-programming process? DNA does receive information from the body of which it is a part. So the conditions in which a body is living could perhaps be a factor in enabling the DNA to receive new information. Environmental conditions cannot write computer programs, but they might enable a new program to be received? There are many things we do not yet understand about life.
Mr. Huxley's suggestion that nature "makes leaps" -- what did he mean? People called Neo-Darwinists have suggested that mutations are the pathway to new species. Mutations are different to the main species population. Was Huxley influenced by the occurrence of rarities and freaks in nature? No doubt we have something to learn from these seemingly chance alterations. A real genetic mutation goes beyond the normal variation found within species populations -- it is, indeed , a departure, the product of alteration of the genetic information.
Could nature somehow "make leaps", and write a new species code?
No natural - that is, non-humanly engineered - mutation has been known to be helpful to life on earth. Mutations happen commonly to germs, and it is disease and pests that are being helped! Amongst higher animals, mutations at best do some good, outweighed by harm. If you wish to confirm this, ask a medical person whether the genetic information carried by humans and the higher animals is getting better over time. Then ask the person whether the genetics of viruses, germs and pests is getting better over time!
The question of whether chance events in nature can either program or re-program species is perhaps something of a personal matter. Should you wish to cast an opinion, you may wish to be guided by the laws of Physics. We know the atom can be split because the nuclear reaction can be observed. If a scientist said he had split the atom, you could believe him. If a scientist said he had set up a chemical reaction to create a being capable of writing computer programs, would you believe him? In the former case, the pathway of the reaction can be shown in minute mathematical detail. In the latter case, there is no mathematical formula to explain the process and no power to run the reaction. No-one has yet been able to write a formula for intelligence, nor go anywhere near calculating the resources required to create intelligence. Organization requires phenomenally more energy than mere crashes, explosions, and common reactions. Indications are that the universe doesn't have enough energy to do it.
So how were species codes written, stored, and transmitted?
As for how they were written, that is for you to decide. How they were stored and transmitted -- this is one of the frontiers of human learning, and a wonderful story is already beginning to unfold (-evolve!).
The enthusiastic student may wish to pursue questions of information storage/transmission and species transformation by consulting with www.creationtheory.com. We know that stars and planets have magnetic fields: we know that stars such as our sun send radio waves and other radiation into these fields. We are beginning to understand that there must be ways to reprogram DNA -- perhaps using things such as magnetism and radio. We are beginning to learn remarkable new things about matter, about the living cell, and about the solar system. However, our understanding in these areas is in its complete infancy.
Q.1 Name the founders of the major origins theories.
Q.2 Has the origin of the species been fully understood?
Q.3 What does pre-programming mean?
Q.4 What is it about life that makes species pre-programmable?
Q.5 What was the title of Charles Darwin's most famous book?
Q.6 When did Sir Richard Owen publish his theory (approximately)?
Q.7 Is it true that some famous scientists believe life came from outer space?
Q.8 Define the word 'evolution'.
Q.9 Has life become more complex or less complex over time?
Q.10 How has Mr. Owen's theory stood the test of time?
A.1 Lamark, Cuvier, Owen, Darwin. Wallace originated the same theory as Darwin at the same time and Huxley helped popularise their theory. Hoyle and Crick are also acceptable answers.
A.2 No. 1. Unlike other accepted scientific theories, darwinistic Evolution remains the subject of intense controversy, indicating that it has difficulties. 2. Scientists freely admit that they have no idea how one species transforms into another.
A.3 It means to program beforehand: to do something now that has an effect later.
A.4 Species are based on a code (like a computer program) and that code can be stored and transmitted after it is created.
A.5 On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (published 1859). Full title not required in answer.
A.6 mid-1800s (1851). Owen was the leading fossil expert of his day. He assisted Darwin in identifying his specimens and he evaluated Darwin's theories and found them wanting.
A.7 Yes. The number of probes exploring for life on bodies in the solar system other than earth demonstrates the interest scientists have in extraterrestrial life. Crick and Hoyle, leading proponents of panspermia, are examples of well-known 20th Century scientists (Crick with a Nobel prize and Hoyle with a knighthood).
A.8 An unfolding or unrolling. This is the dictionary definition.
A.9 As a whole, more complex. However, the basic unit of all living organisms, the cell, remained essentially the same throughout all geologic history.
Q.10 Mr. Owen had the idea that when life was created, something was set in motion that would cause it to expand and flower over time -- that is, he put forward a theory of pre-ordination or pre-programming. For obvious reasons he couldn't explain the mechanism involved, but he insisted that one species could not gradually change to another simply as a result of environmental pressure. His theory agrees with the observable fact that species appeared on the earth fully developed and genetically complete in themselves. His theory now has a mechanism to explain it -- DNA, information technology, quantum theory of matter, etc.
SUGGESTED PROJECT TOPICS
A note to the teacher. A range of topics is provided in the hope that suitable topics will be found for each type of student. Please note the aim of this educational segment is primarily to give the student a broad understanding of and a sympathy for various legitimate opinions.
END OF INTRODUCTORY LESSON
Here at www.creationtheory.com we have up to date materials which may easily be utilised in the classroom as a series of lessons in conjunction with the introductory lesson. From the beginning of space time through to the projected end of Man's tenure - lessons and backup resources. Please note there is almost no part of www.creationtheory.com that cannot be utilised as an education resource or a lesson.