Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Frame 7

The next string of posts are unavoidably text heavy. I skipped Frame 6 because it was just boring, as you can see for yourself.

The creationist claims there are "six kinds of evolution," and the "professor" kindly outlines them;

1. Cosmic Evolution - Big Bang makes hydrogen
2. Chemical Evolution - higher elements evolve
3. Planetary Evolution, i.e. evolution of stars and planets from gas
4. Organic Evolution - life from rocks
5. Macroevolution - changes between kinds of plants and animals
6. Microevolution - changes within kinds

Big Daddy's big lie, "Only the last one has been observed and can be called science. The first five are believed by faith." Of course, none of the ways these "kinds" are characterized by Jack Chick make much sense scientifically.

Creationists like to exploit the different meanings of the word “evolution” as seen in this “list of kinds of evolution.” And to be fair, there are scientists who use the word “evolution” to mean any process of transformation. Recently, Harvard University has used this same over extended sense of “evolution” to organize a brief science curriculum covering topics from the origin of the universe, to the origin of new biological species today. I find it amusing that they are unknowingly following a pattern laid down first by creationists. But, it does make it much easier to debunk the main lie told about these “kinds of evolution,” in Frame 7. Of course this is that there is a lack of evidence for these events to have occurred, and be still occurring today.

1. Cosmic Evolution - Big Bang makes hydrogen

The first of the creationist “kinds” of evolution was “Cosmic Evolution." This is properly known as Cosmology. The Belgian priest, Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, was an accomplished astronomer and professor of physics. He proposed in 1927 that the Universe was expanding based on Einstein’s General Relativity, and then four years later that the Universe had had a discrete beginning. The phrase "Big Bang" was coined by English astronomer and physicist Fred Hoyle who was a critic of the idea. The direct observations by Edwin Hubble at the Mt. Wilson observatory lead to the discovery in 1929 that that Lemaître was in fact correct. So, the expanding universe and Big Bang origin of the universe has had direct observational support for over 80 years.

The data do not stop there. One implication of the Big Bang theory was that there must be a fading background “glow” which should be everywhere in the universe. Calculations by Ralph Alpher, Robert Herman, and George Gamow in 1948 indicated that this radiation should be in the microwave frequencies generated from an energy of about 3 degrees Kelvin. This was detected accidentally in 1965 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson of Bell Labs. A team of researchers at nearby Princeton University led by Robert Dicke realized what Penzias and Wilson had detected. The NASA Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) (launched in 2001) has completed a map of tiny temperature variations in this cosmic background which corresponds with the formation of the first galaxies in the universe. The project also refined the age of the universe to 13.7 ± 0.13 billion years.

The European Space Agency and NASA collaborated on the Planck CMB mission. They have just released their first results. The improved sensitivity of the Planck satellite adjusted the age of the Universe to 13.8 billion years.

The third test of the Big Bang origin of the universe is the distribution, and abundances of atoms of different elements. I’ll leave this to a later post on Big Daddy's "kinds of evolution" 2 and 3. The trigger of the Big Bang is still under study. Two recent books summarizing our current understanding are;

Krauss, Lawrence
2012 “A Universe From Nothing” New York: Free Press

Susskind, Leonard
2005 "The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design" New York: Little and Brown Publishers

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