Monday, June 6, 2011

Science of the Gaps

In arguing that evolutionary science is empirical and creationism is not, evolutionists have often mocked what they call the "God of the Gaps."  They say that when creationists come to something that they cannot explain - like what could be a reasonable precursor of the biochemical molecular machines in cells - creationists jump to the idea of divine design rather than continue to pursue a naturalistic explanation.

Of course the biochemical machines in question are more complex and elegant than any man made technology - say a cell phone or laptop computer - and they operate according to large volumes of programmed information (DNA) without which they would be meaningless structures - like a cell phone without a network.  Evidently if an evolutionist found a cell phone on the sidewalk, he could imagine that it was NOT the product of design, but somehow fell into place by fortunate accidents.

I was watching a BBC program about modern cosmology.  Starting with the Big Bang they outline the "Standard Model" and the ability of scientists to apply mathematics to the observed universe according to the theory that everything sprang from nothing 14 billion years ago in a huge explosion.  (I won't deal here with the fact that 14 billion years - even if it were all given to biological evolution with a "positive" mutation in every generation - could not begin to be enough time for the complexity of life as it now exists.)

How fascinating!  The Big Bang and the Standard Model explain everything we can observe!

Except that there is a uniformity in the universe - all the same temperature/energy all the way through and across and in every direction.  That doesn't fit the theory.  If there was a Big Bang then things should be as uneven as in any explosive blast.

Solution?  INFLATION.  The Big Bang was not so big after all, but remained relatively small for a billion years until all the energy evened out throughout it.  THEN the universe suddenly inflated (at many times the speed of light) to its enormous size.  How or why this should happen is completely unexplained.  But it is an accepted theory because it allows science to cope with the fact that the Standard Model doesn't explain the uniformity of the energy in the universe.

Wonderful!  The Big Bang and the Standard Model, plus Inflation explain everything we can observe!

Except that the galaxies we observe don't behave like the model predicts they should behave.  Given the known laws of gravity the galaxies are spinning wrong.  The outside elements are moving at the same speed as the inside elements.  That cannot be happening.  But we can see it with our own eyes.

Solution?  The Theory of DARK MATTER.  There must be more matter out there than we can observe.  It must actually be more of the stuff of the universe than the matter we CAN observe.  It must be invisible and it must be completely uninhibited by visible matter.   We cannot see it.  We cannot catch it.  We cannot measure it. (Can you say, "Blind Faith?") But it must be out there because it balances the equations for us.

Tremendous!  The Big Bang and the Standard Model, plus Inflation, plus Dark Matter explain everything we can see in the universe!

Until we discover that unlike the Standard Model predicts, the universe is both expanding and accelerating in its expansion.  The Model predicts that expansion should slow - that the enormous mass of the universe should cause gravity to pull everything back together.  But the acceleration of everything away from everything else means there is still some sort of energy operating on the universe that is greater than the pull of gravity!

Solution?  There must also be DARK ENERGY.  We cannot see it.  We cannot measure it.  We know not where it originates or why.  But it must be out there because otherwise the equations don't work.

Fantastic!  The Big Bang and the Standard Model, plus Inflation, plus Dark Matter, plus Dark Energy explain everything we can see in the universe!

But wait!  There are places in the universe where the objects are behaving in a very peculiar way!  There are places where everything seems to be swept up in a stream and funneled together.  This shouldn't be happening.  How can this be?

Can you guess the solution?  There must be something called DARK FLOW!  (The program suggests that this is not widely accepted yet - but it seems to be the leading candidate to explain the observations.)  Somehow there are unexplained rivers of energy sweeping up hundreds of galaxies.

As far as I know, all of these theoretical fixes to the standard model may someday be proven in some objective way.  That doesn't bother me.  I believe that the God of the Bible created the universe and that He has made it wonderfully complex for His own glory.  (Inflation - the universe moving out to its current size in a few micro-seconds at a speed far exceeding the speed of light - sounds more like the biblical account of creation than like the big bang.)

The more important point from my perspective is that these naturalistic scientists - who cannot admit any "supernatural" elements in their theories - are nevertheless incorporating unobserved, unmeasurable and inexplicable elements of Inflation, Dark Matter, Dark Energy and Dark Flow.  It seems to me to be science of the gaps.  Any explanation will do, as long as it does not lead to God.
(Psalms 19:1–2 NKJV)
1 ¶ The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
2 Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.

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