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DNA and the Cycle of Life, Part One

15 May

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

“Life is specified by genomes. Every organism, including humans, has a genome that contains all of the biological information needed to build and maintain a living example of that organism. The biological information contained in a genome is encoded in its deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/About/primer/genetics_genome.html (2004).

I intend to demonstrate, using only scientifically valid information, that we remain continuously alive over many generations, even hundreds or thousands of years. Mystics and theologians have throughout history claimed to know the truth about Man as a being who lives beyond the boundaries of our lifetimes.  They argue based on philosophy and faith, and make no claims of scientific validity.

Give me a chance to show you the science. You’ll be surprised and convinced as this accepted mainstream scientific analysis unfolds. The answer is not what you think.

Since this is a complicated subject, let me start off with a little birds-and-the-bees story. It will seem long because there are a lot of pictures, yet there’s not too much reading to do. If you need a better understanding of DNA, please look at my older blog entries entitled “DNA and Memory.” If you want the complex science of DNA, look at the link highlighted above.

When I was young, among other things I collected insects, especially butterflies and moths. My favorite insect was the Luna Moth. The story of the Luna Moth will demonstrate how DNA is the active player in the passage of generations. It has been well established by science that the instructions for the development of each stage of life for each organic being are encoded in the memory of DNA. The double-helix strand of living tissue is contained inside each cell of the Luna Moth and every other being, including humans. We need to start with a clearly explainable insect model before moving on to the human experience, which is more complex.

I’m going to describe the complete life-cycle of the Luna Moth, starting with the showiest part of the process. The adult Luna Moth is large and strikingly beautiful, with lime-green yellow-trimmed wings spanning up to four and a half inches (11.4 cm) across, with long trailing green hindwings. Here’s a picture of the beautiful adult moth. You can see why I liked them and still like them.

WP1.luna-moth

So we see the adult moth. Now let’s go through to the next stage in the life-cycle of this elegant creature. Stay with me. Each of these wonderful, yet common, Luna Moths is around only for a very short time. The adults cannot eat, since they have no mouths or other digestive structures. They emerge as adults solely to mate. For this purpose they have only about one week. They tend to hide in the day and move about at night. There is something eerie and ghostlike about their movements. They flit from the gloom into the light, and back into the gloom once more; not unlike humans in their travails.

The male shown above has feathery antennae which sniff out pheromones from female moths. The two come together and mate, as is shown in the X-rated picture below. During mating the living DNA in the sperm from the male is ejected from its phallus into the body of the female.

WP2.Luna Moth Mating

As we shall see, the only time in the life cycle of the moth – or a human being for that matter – when the living DNA crosses an open space outside the body is during mating. For the moth the open space may be only a millimeter or so, yet the sperm in its journey is definitely outside the physical structure of either moth. The sperm quickly enters the genital chamber of the female moth and embeds its living DNA in the living egg sac of the female, which contains her own contribution of DNA for the next generation.

Once they mate, the male moth has no further raison d’etre. He flies off like a leaf falling from a tree in autumn and is never heard from again. The female moth flies around until she finds the right spot and lays her eggs. Then she shrivels within a few days like a tulip in a vase. Due to the lack of a mouth to eat, it may be said with scientific certainty that the beautiful creature that flies through the air is only a transitional stage, no matter how we may love it.

Thus all that remains after the transition of the living DNA across the open space between the two moths are the extremely small eggs shown below. Each is self-contained and a little larger than the head of a pin. Each of these self-contained living eggs contains the entire living DNA from the two mating adult moths. No further instructions are needed to continue the life-cycle of the Luna Moth. Life continues, full and complete, uninterrupted.

WP3.Luna Moth Eggs

The eggs hatch without further ado in about ten days. A wormy little caterpillar crawls out of the egg case and leaves the shell behind:

WP4.HatchingEgg

Its goal is to find food. Unlike the adult moth, the caterpillar has a voracious appetite. Since the eggs are laid by the female only on the leaves of suitable food plants, the little caterpillar can go right to work on the edge of the nearest leaf. The only instructions it needs in order to do its job are completely and unerringly remembered by its DNA. Over a period of about 25 days it eats and grows and sheds its skin five times (not four times or six times), until it becomes a rather majestic mature caterpillar:

WP5.Caterpillar

At some point, the mature caterpillar finds itself overcome by a desire to leave its body and become an entirely different being. Internal changes are already underway to facilitate this transformation. The instructions in the memory of its DNA are very precise as to both the timing and the behavior, and always generate the same outcome.

The caterpillar begins to spin a web of silk to enclose itself. The outward appearance of the caterpillar is sloughed off as if it never existed. What is left is a hard brown pupa, which once again contains all the DNA memory of the caterpillar, albeit in an altered physical form:

WP6.Luna Moth Pupa

After about two weeks a summer pupa, following its own inner instructions from its DNA, breaks open and an adult Luna Moth emerges, full and whole and without blemish, ready to spread its wings and fly away. The brown case of the pupa is discarded. The life-cycle for this one individual insect is now complete:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s easy to see this transition as a commonplace event, since it’s an everyday activity of moths, and there’s no drama in the ordinary. Yet the very precision of both the timing and the physical structures involved in the changes are nothing short of extraordinary.

And these precise changes in the cycle of life are repeated perhaps millions of times over each year by individual moths. And for hundreds or thousands of years these precise and exact changes have been repeated, perhaps modified slightly over time by Darwinian evolution.

Here’s the question: Where in this cycle is death? Is there ever a time when there is absolutely no life present? The living DNA is passed from generation to generation with sufficient vitality to produce exactly the same life-stages in each cycle of the existence of the Luna Moth.

In the next essay we will explore these far from commonplace questions.

Global Warming, Part Two

29 Apr

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

Given the current population, there is really no way to go back to a simpler lifestyle or a local economy. The only way to feed the world we have now is to cultivate giant corporate farms and food processing facilities. The only way for the population to stay on the move is for giant factories to build more cars, trucks, and other vehicles with internal combustion engines.

To provide the normal facilities of life for the current global population, oil and gas and steel and aluminum and copper and bananas and other daily commodities require large facilities. Building factories and warehouses and generation plants and highways and airplanes must be done on a massive scale.

The only way to wrap and package things with minimum weight to distribute to the massive population around the world and from stores to consumers is to use plastic containers, wraps and bags. Giant oil ships and container ships can’t be built or managed locally. And so on.

It’s rather much the same for social issues. With more people crowded together there will be more crime and more need for government which reaches to the local levels. Reducing crime to the levels of the 1920’s and 1930’s is pure fantasy, when you consider that the world population was only two billion back then and people didn’t have to bump into each other nearly as much as they do now.

I know there are a lot of people out there who sincerely and honestly want to eliminate mega-factories and overbuilding and billionaires, and deeply desire to make the world a simpler and greener place. This is a dream which is extremely conservative in nature, and it’s natural for people to want to go back to the way things used to be before we were inundated with the massive structures of modern society which are needed to provide for the whole of the seven billion inhabitants of earth.

The “New Earth” we live in is simply unable to provide for those dreams of simplicity. We are now a crowded planet, and we must have structures designed to provide for the crowd. Turning away from the reality of the crowd is a retreat from reality. It is an attempt, like that of the Amish communities, to claim a world which no longer exists, except in extremely restricted areas which must be maintained with an almost religious fervor against the outside crowd.

The real way forward is to join the crowd which makes up the “New Earth.” Accept the inevitable and seek ways of living with that which we cannot change. It’s likely there are a lot of solutions out there which are just waiting for discovery, ways to live with the new conditions which actually exist on our planet.

Let me advance one speculative idea, as a way of demonstrating the possibility of solutions which are actually in line with the problems. I don’t claim to have answers, yet I am good at speculating.

Most climate scientists say that we could have a world-wide rise in sea level of as much as three feet (1m) over the next fifty years. This means that any areas where there are cities or other houses or buildings which will be underwater in the event of a three-foot rise in sea level must be identified right now.

Officials must declare a complete moratorium on new buildings or settlements in the affected areas. There is no need to worry too much about existing structures, since in fifty years most of them will be near the end of their life cycles. Then new building and settlements could be encouraged on nearby areas which are on land located above the fifty-year estimated three-foot new high water mark. These would be extensions of the current cities, only on higher ground.

For example, the recent activities of Typhoon Ondoy in Manila and of Hurricane Sandy in New York City have shown that these cities among others are vulnerable to even small increases in the mean water level brought about by global warming. So in New York I speculate about stopping new construction in the five boroughs. Extend New York City by way of new construction on the higher ground on the other side of the Hudson River. People could commute for the next fifty years from the old city to the new city and back by means of overhead trams into Manhattan and the other present boroughs.

Actually, I rather like the idea of using overhead trams to replace the subway system in New York City, or any other city. It was not until Hurricane Sandy that we began to see the huge vulnerability of the underground systems of the Big Apple. As sea levels rise, the vulnerability will only increase.

Going airborne with trams suspended from tall towers may sound science fiction right now, yet it could be best way to get around in any city by the sea anywhere on the “New Earth,” or even on any city anywhere. Subways are really twentieth-century technology, much too difficult to dig and always needing huge air exchange systems to make it possible for the massive number of riders to be able to breathe.

Meanwhile, you probably have ideas of your own which are better than mine, so let your imagination run free and look for ways for all of us to live together in peace on the “New Earth.”

Both my daughter Michelle Kathryn McGee, www.healinggeneration.com, and Bengt Skarstam‏ of Malmo, Sweden, www.reshape.se, take issue with my analysis by pointing out that correlation is not the same as evidence. To them I say that I am a commentator, not a scientist. There is a correlation between population and global warming. I’ve offered some scant evidence, yet probably not enough. The absolute need to feed, clothe and house the new five billion souls on the planet is evidence, as are the facts I’ve stated up to now. I firmly believe in all the positions I’m taking on my blog, yet I may not have all the details. I welcome any new information, and I give my thanks to my daughter and to Bengt Skarstam for weighing in with significant points.

Finally, poetic language can often convey the emotions associated with new conditions such as the absolute qualities of the emerging destiny of the “New Earth.” I offer you this quote from the 2008 historical thriller novel Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith:

“The railroad tracks opened out into a clearing – sprawled before them was a vast assembly plant, tall chimneys, interconnected warehouselike buildings suddenly appearing in the middle of a wilderness. It was as though a god had sat on the Ural Mountains, smashed his fist down on the landscape before him, sending trees flying, and demanded that this newly created space be filled with chimneys and steel presses. This was the first glimpse of their new home.”

I invited Dr. Bengt Skarstam of Malmo, Sweden, to make formal comments as a part of my discussion of the “New Earth.” He has a PhD in Solid State Physics, a long corporate career, and is now Senior Adviser and Facilitator, Reshape AB, www.reshape.se . He’s also the father of two children; is married to Ann-Marie, a mother of one child; “and is a fan of life, understanding, Formula 1, and interactions between people.”

Thank you for the very profound perspective you have articulated on global warming, Dr. Skarstam, and for your unique celebration of the earth we actually have, as opposed to the usual wishful thinking of wanting a different world than the one we now have. Here’s what he has to say:

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“I agree with your description of the consequences of a warmer globe and my point is that we need not so much focus on the ‘human element’ since I am convinced that a more pluralistic approach will guarantee a better solution to the fluctuation in the states of our globe. According to system theory we might do things worse since we have focus only on the human factor so we might solve the wrong problem….? Compare reducing pollution from cars instead of finding new ways of designing engines (fuel cells?).

“If we spent the money we are now spending on wind and solar power, on finding more efficient energy storage ‘media’ (better batteries or some new source of storage) we would be better off. Currently wind and solar power need continuous back up sources of traditional electrical generation OR a highly developed battery storage capacity, to support a continuous flow of power even when the sun is down or the wind is not blowing.

“This need for constant backup is the great weakness inherent in the now popular ‘new energy sources.’ The wind and solar supporters are engaging in short term “popular action,” and solving the wrong problem. If we as individuals took a ‘stakeholder’ and long term perspective on what we are doing, we could be very much better off!

“I ask a question to people who say that they cannot take a long term perspective: do you have children? Your children and grandchildren are a long term project which will last for the rest of your life!!!!

“The greenhouse effect is a natural good thing. It’s not a ‘side effect.’ It’s a basic expression of the vastness of the new human life on our planet. Before the greenhouse effect we were non-existing. The fluctuations were measured in the time scale of hundreds to thousands of generations, and over these time scales we had no consistent way of describing such phenomena. Since science has evolved, technology is refined and our mindsets are thereby changed.

“Changing mindsets: what would happen if every car manufacturer had to take the used car back and dismantle the car and be heavily taxed for the difference between cars produced and used cars received: do you think that a car would be designed as it is today?

“My final point is about personal responsibility: this is the most crucial concept that individuals, politicians, business leaders and parents can start applying (consider the stakeholders involved and the time span of your actions), and acting from this perspective can change the world

“My definition of personal responsibility: ‘An individual’s open, wise and ethical engagement with the world for the sustainable good of all.’ – from Hopkins and Skarstam (2012).

“I have also attached some lines from the novel CANNERY ROW by John Steinbeck, a conversation between ‘Doc’ and ‘Richard Frost’ which points to the severity of our challenges:”

“It has always seemed strange to me,” said Doc. “The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

“Who wants to be good if he has to be hungry too?” said Richard Frost.

==================

So, in order to fully comprehend the “New Earth” we must look on the natural increase in population to seven billion souls as being a good thing for humanity. Further, we must look on the increase in greenhouse gases and global warming, whether due to mankind or to other natural phenomena, as an acceptable thing. Accept that the increase in global population is a natural phenomenon, and that this population increase is exactly the same as any other natural process.

This is part two in a four-part series.

Charles Darwin and Geological Time, Part Three

19 Feb

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

In 1905 the British Physician Lord Ernest Rutherford introduced radiometric dating as the new and “entirely scientific” method of determining geological time periods. It was as if after that year all that had been speculated upon became as real and tangible as a kitchen table; and is still accepted as real and tangible today by geologists, paleontologists, and other scientists. I will demonstrate that this new method of dating the rocks of the earth is just as mythological as what came before.

Below is a chart which summarizes the geological time periods (dates are in millions of years) “confirmed” by radiometric dating to be true and accurate, and tangible:

irks_geologic_time_table

Radiometric dating corroborated almost exactly the nineteenth century visual dating process; and over time added the Proterozoic, Archean and Hadean periods shown in the above chart. The firm dates of the Hadean period were mainly developed indirectly by using radiometric dating on moon rocks and meteorite fragments, then modeling these results as if the dates were earth dates. Nevertheless, the present scientific canon is that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, including the modeled dates for the Hadean period.

One cannot help but ask how all these measurements flowed so exactly into the unimpeachable form of a universally accepted yardstick for describing the age of the earth. My answer is that the supposed science was a means of generating a new creation myth for the earth, to replace the creation myths developed by earlier more primitive societies and their primitive storytelling. So now, instead of primitive storytelling, we have modern storytelling which purports to be based on hard data. This hard data, though, is so flimsy and easy to pull apart that it is evident that what seems to be impersonal science is in fact a myth no different than that of primitive societies.

This time-line dating of periods of earth history was made into a more compelling myth by the discovery of dinosaur bones and the imprints of such fossil creatures as Trilobites. There has always been a lot of public drama associated with the reconstruction of the life-like looks of dinosaurs based on the often incomplete sets of bones unearthed. Each dinosaur was given a personality and assigned a historical period from the developmental time-line of the earth by the “scientific” paleontologists of the time of discovery.

Since dinosaurs were so large and so totally different from what we knew of life on the earth in the nineteenth century, the scientists had to assume that these dinosaurs and other fossil life-forms existed long before our present day, even though there was no physical evidence one way or the other about how old the fossilized bone fragments were. Therefore these creatures were assigned to the Mesozoic period (see the chart above). Thus, after grave scientific consultations, it suddenly became a certainty that dinosaurs had walked the earth from about 200 million years ago to about 66 million years ago.

These dinosaurs were assumed to have taken a long evolutionary time to develop their particular features. It was further assumed that once they evolved into a particular form they stayed in the same form for millions or even tens of millions of years; they were so massive they must have walked the earth unchanging for a very long time, and the scientists of the nineteenth century, as well as the scientists of today, assumed an extensive period for the domination of the whole earth by these herculean dinosaurs. My goodness, that’s a lot of assumptions!

The truth is that worldwide the total number of individual specimens of dinosaur remains which have been unearthed until today are probably only in the tens of thousands, including all the specimens where only a few teeth were found. In the nineteenth century there were probably only a few hundred specimens worldwide, except for one trove in Colorado where a thousand or more specimens were found. This hardly amounts to evidence that huge stomping creatures roamed the whole earth for more than 150 million years.

What is more likely, and which is no more or less provable today than it was in the year 1900, is that at some time in the past, maybe a million or more, or less, years ago, long enough for the fossilizing process to have time to work, a few animals grew to an extremely large size, then died off. Charles Darwin himself describes evolutionary change as taking place over short time periods of tens or hundreds of years. Human evolution has only come to a head over the last 14,000 years or so. It is not untrue to suggest that dinosaurs could have come and gone over a period of only a few thousand years, and that dinosaurs thrived only in limited numbers before they evolved to become too unwieldy for the earth to support them.

In their imaginative speculations these nineteenth century scientists using flawed methods and large doses of creative imagination created dinosaur myths which are not capable of proof or even verification in any form whatsoever, then or now. They were really no different than the scientists five hundred years before them, or the priests of any time. We were required to have “faith” in their scientific pronouncements, and “believe” the conclusions they arrived at, without any tangible evidence whatsoever.

Now let’s return to the year 1905. In that year radiometric dating was invented by Lord Ernest Rutherford as a method by which one might determine the age of the earth. The principle by which it operates is that there is an assumption that a radioactive element decays according to a specific half-life over time. Therefore if you have a rock sample which includes a decayed element, then you can calculate backward over millions or billions of years of half-lives to find when the original radioactive substance must have been present in the rock.

In the century since then the techniques have been greatly improved and expanded. Dating can now be performed on samples as small as a nanogram, using a mass spectrometer. The mass spectrometer began to be used in radiometric dating in the 1950s. The mass spectrometer measures the mass and level of ionization of a rock sample, to determine the rate of impacts and the relative concentrations of different atoms in the beams.

The uranium-lead radiometric dating scheme has been refined to the point that the error margin in dates of rocks can be as low as less than two million years in two-and-a-half billion years. One of its great advantages is that any sample provides two clocks, one based on uranium-235’s decay to lead-207 with a half-life of about 700 million years, and one based on uranium-238’s decay to lead-206 with a half-life of about 4.5 billion years, providing a built-in crosscheck that allows accurate determination of the age of the sample even if some of the lead has been lost.

One problem is that zircon is often used as the mineral to be radiometrically dated in the uranium-lead method. The assumption is that a zircon crystal originally crystallized from a flow of magma billions of years ago, and then remained in a closed system (no loss or gain of uranium or lead) from the time of crystallization to the present. This is an awfully big assumption that a piece of rock would stay in the same place, undisturbed, for four billion years, or even for just ten million years.

Further, the assumption that rocks found on the surface of the earth have stayed in the same place, unchanged for four billion years, creates other absurdities. In order to actually know the age of the earth, we have to know what happed over time all the way to the center of the earth. The contents of the levels of the earth, going down about 12,500 miles to the center, are, after all, a part of the created earth. Examining rocks on the surface, or mantle, of the earth, which according to experts in geological time have stayed in the same place for four billion years, can tell us nothing whatsoever about what has happened all the way to the center of the earth. The creation of the earth includes the creation of the interior, all the way to the center. What do we know about the center of the earth? Nothing much.

Further, a survey of all of the geological sciences leads to the conclusion that the surface of the earth has risen and fallen over time, and that water and wind and earthquakes and eruptions have changed the face of the earth over time. So how is it that these geological time specialists can get away with saying that whatever rock they are measuring was in exactly the same location, totally undisturbed, for a period of, say, two billion years.

In fact, it is nothing more than a modern-day myth that radiometric dating can provide a date of any kind from the distant past.

The truth is that radiometric dating is an entirely mathematical and theoretical method for creating a compelling yet flawed narrative of our past: just another creation myth. For a very excellent description of the theories and mathematical computations necessary to arrive at a radiometric date, see http://www.tulane.edu/~sanelson/eens211/radiometric_dating.htm . Keep in mind though, that a mathematical formula is not the same as an observation of a phenomena based on evidence.

Actually, religious stories of creation are more interesting and come from a greater place of feeling, plus they don’t pretend to be anything more than a myth. Using the impersonal scientific stories of the creation of the earth, which are as carefully calculated as any equilateral triangle, is an attempt by the new priesthood of science to make a personal impact on people. This is taking science too far. It is setting up a dogma which we are required to believe, and which is taught in every school as religiously as Catholic dogma used to be taught. It is time to dismantle the mass delusion represented by the “scientific” creation myth; just as it was necessary for Charles Darwin to dismantle the creationist myth which prevailed up until his time.

To summarize, radiometric dating is no more valid than the visual observations of the nineteenth century “scientists.” It relies almost entirely on two absurd premises. First, that a piece of rock will stay intact and in the same place over millions or billions of years of time, even though the surface and deep structure of the earth are always changing. Second, the process assumes that the half-life decay of a radioactive substance is always the same over millions or billions of years of time, and the presence of a decay product demonstrates the earlier presence of the original radioactive product.

There is actually no way whatsoever to confirm that radioactive decay is consistent over millions or billions of years. All anyone can ever verify experimentally is that over the time period of an actual experiment, which may be seconds, minutes, or days at most, the radioactive particle decayed by a certain incredibly minute amount. After the experiment, a half-life of half a billion years or so is mathematically calculated by extrapolating from the almost infinitesimal change that took place during the time period of the experiment. No one can ever say for sure that the decay of radioactive particles over millions of years conforms to the mathematical modeling.

For example, Dr. Murray Gell-Mann, 1969 Nobel Laureate in Physics, makes it clear that the laws of physics are not deterministic, but are only probabilities over time. The moment in time of radioactive disintegration in a half-life computation is only probabilistic. There is no way to predict the exact moment of disintegration, only a curve of probabilities. Additionally, the direction of decay is completely unpredictable. “If so much is unknowable in advance about one atomic nucleus, imagine how much is fundamentally unpredictable about the entire universe….” he says.

No less an authority than the Geological Society of America (see their geological time-line at http://www.geosociety.org/science/timescale/ ) accepts right now as established science almost exactly the same time periods which were established in 1841 based on trivial observations of the surface rocks of England. Almost every university in the world teaches these geological time scales as established fact. The radiometric dating method has in fact increased and expanded the same mythical narratives as the visual observations of the nineteenth century.

People will perform amazing feats of mental gymnastics to get what they want. And learned persons then and now will give the people what they want: a dollop of hard science packaged with an unsupported yet unchallenged view of the past, which through inflation has now morphed into seeing billions of years into history. We’re now told, and we want to believe, that the planet Earth is 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years old.

This current age estimate is based on evidence from radiometric age dating as well as mathematical extrapolations from examining moon rocks and meteorites. The very precision of the numbers is presented as proof of their veracity. The same precision provides evidence of an artificial construct. After all, it’s really hard to say how much time it takes to make a good cup of coffee or tea; and the time may vary from day to day. Deterministic precision is highly suspect.

Radiometric dating is the geological New Testament, leaping into being fully formed at the beginning of the twentieth century. Scientists are still using this original method, with only a few minor adjustments, even to the present day. http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/geotime/radiometric.html . With unseemly haste we have all embraced this New Testament as the infallible, unchallengeable source of all stories about the past. We have the correct canonical means to measure past time, so there is no need to look further for a methodology. Any further looking could in fact potentially create the awkward situation of discrediting the current methods of geological time measurement. So we stick with what we know, blinders fully in place.

The twentieth century method of radiometric dating actually didn’t change the imaginative speculations of the nineteenth century. As if by magic, radiometric dating offered a new and utterly infallible way of projecting the imagination backward in time.

This so-called scientific method of dating the age of the earth was and is just as imaginary as the geological timelines developed in the nineteenth century. The “scientifically determined” age of the earth in the twentieth century is almost exactly the same as the speculatively determined age of the earth in the nineteenth century. In a like manner the Biblical New Testament did not wipe away one word of the Old Testament.

Radiometric dating accomplished its purpose: to get all of us to believe there is a physical basis for the creation narratives concerning the age of the earth and the personalities of the great dinosaurs. People want to believe we can see millions, billions of years into the past. They did then, and they still do now. Except now people are convinced that there is a physical basis for their belief.

Even after what I’ve already said, there is still a need to drill down further if I am to convince anyone that geological time is a “creation myth.” Please forgive me if this seems repetitive.

The science of radiometric dating tells us that radioactive materials decay according to a specific timetable. This half-life of such materials means that in x number of years, only half of the radiation will remain in a specified material. In another identical x number of years, only half of the remaining radiation will remain, and so on. (This material is taken from the US Geological Service site cited above.) Using the half-life scale, the parent isotope Uranium-238 will degrade into the daughter isotope Lead-206 in 4.5 billion years. The formula for computing the age of a particular piece of rock is as follows:

Geological Time Formula034

This formula is the Eucharist of the New Testament of geological science. We are asked to believe that these words and numbers on a paper are the same as, or even identical with, the actual passage of billions of years of geological time. In the Eucharist, the substance of bread and wine changes into, and is identical with, the body and the blood of Jesus. No one pretends that this faith-based religious myth of the Eucharist is based on fact. Scientists are, however, through the rigors of education, indoctrinated in the belief that numbers spread on paper in a certain order are identical with the actual, factual, passage of time.

Can we really know that the rate of decay of an isotope is the same throughout all the supposed past time period, or even if there is such a time period? Even if we know the rate of decay of an isotope over a period of a very short time, or even several years, this doesn’t really tell us anything at all about the previous billion years. Nor does it tell us if there is a previous billion years. We really don’t know anything about how long our planet or our universe has existed. We cannot know the past beyond the written historical record, or perhaps for fifty or sixty thousand years past with Carbon-14 dating (which contains very few assumptions). The deep past simply does not exist.

Radiometric dating is a little like asking an accountant to audit a fund consisting of 4.5 billion dollars. The auditor, though, is only allowed to examine five cents of this fund, which is all that’s left at the time of the audit. From this examination the auditor is expected to certify that all of the money was used for the intended purposes of the fund.

Can we say Bernie Madoff? Yet this is the sort of accounting our geological scientists do on a daily basis, and have done since the beginning of the twentieth century.

Once again we are faced with the prevailing myth: The entire history of the planet can be found by examining only the most superficial surface portions of the bulk of the planet, by using a pencil and paper formula. The utter triviality of even our present geological observations as to the history of the earth is stunning.

People want to believe we can see millions, billions of years into the past. Our scientists give people what they want, so they are believed. Thus the myth is perpetuated. And so it goes. The theories of geological time are no more worthy of scientific credence than is Creationism.

Please permit me to quote again from Dr. Murray Gell-Mann’s book, The Quark and the Jaguar. This brilliant Nobel Laureate in Physics took the time to contemplate the nature of superstition and myth in the scientific world:

People are scared by the unpredictability and especially the uncontrollability of what we see around us…. [Much of the] unpredictability comes from the restricted range and capacity of our senses and instruments: we can pick up only a minuscule amount of the information about the universe that is available in principle…. The resulting scarcity of rhyme and reason frightens us and so we impose on the world around us, even on random facts and chance phenomena, artificial order based on false principles of causation. In that way, we comfort ourselves with an illusion of predictability and even of mastery. We fantasize that we can manipulate the world around us by appealing to the imaginary forces we have invented…. People want or need to believe…. Their main characteristic is the dissociation of belief from evidence…. They are alleviating their fear of randomness by identifying regularities that are not there.

In conclusion, please understand that I am not attacking or attempting to embarrass any researcher who has worked in the field of geological dating. The flawed method of looking back in time by examining rocks has been a standard of science for a hundred fifty years. I only ask that these researchers look at the evidence and the proof and re-evaluate what it is they are doing with their time and intellect, and move on to other more realistic and creative endeavors.

I started with Charles Darwin, so, at the risk of repeating myself, I will end with the wise words of this groundbreaking nineteenth century scientist, who was a cautious observer of reality and spoke of what is, not what might be, in his masterwork, The Origin of Species:

But we continually overrate the perfection of the geological record…. We continually forget how large the world is, compared with the area over which our geological formations have been carefully examined…. It seems to me to be about as rash to dogmatize on the [ancient] succession of organic forms throughout the world, as it would be for a naturalist to land for five minutes on a barren point in Australia, and then to discuss the number and range of its productions…. We should not forget that only a small portion of the world is known with accuracy….. I look on the geological record as a history of the world imperfectly kept…. Of this history we possess the last volume alone, relating only to two or three countries. Of this volume, only here and there a short chapter has been preserved; and of each page, only here and there a few lines.

Charles Darwin and Geological Time, Part Two

14 Feb

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

Now I am going to shift gears and get into how Charles Darwin’s almost totally factual and accurate observations on the Theory of Evolution have themselves “evolved” into a fantasy world of mass delusion and science fiction which does not deserve the name of Evolution.

For this section of the story I will stick to the science of the nineteenth century, ending in 1906. After that date things changed, yet as I will show in later posts, remained the same fantasies as before 1906, with “Evolution” becoming a concept which Charles Darwin would never even recognize were he to come back and look at it now.

In Great Britain and continental Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century, well before Darwin proposed his theory of Evolution, there was already underway a scientific movement to examine the “geological record” and from doing so compute the great age of the earth. Darwin’s colleague and friend Sir Charles Lyell was one of the prime movers of the “scientific” analysis and examination of the rocks on the surface of the earth with the intention of making statements about how old these rocks were.

There were many scientists involved in this effort, creating the academic disciplines of Geology and Paleontology. I will pick on Charles Lyell since he is a good example of the men who created mass delusions about the age of the earth, which were just as un-provable as the competing theological mass delusions including that the earth was created in 4004 BC.

lyell 2 Sir Charles Lyell

The mass delusions created by Sir Charles Lyell and his colleagues and successors persist until today as scientific fact, and they are just as un-provable and inaccurate now as they were then. It is time now to dispel the mass delusions of geological time and paleontologists which are held as gospel by our scientists even now, and are just as inaccurate and fantastic as the mass delusion dispelled by Darwin that all organic beings were created by God at one time in the exact form as they now exist.

I am giving here an historical narrative which I obviously obtained from published sources. In this blog I will not overcome the reader with masses of footnotes, yet I will say that I have the references for each of the facts stated, and I believe that my facts are accurate.

Sir Charles Lyell’s work generated the field of stratigraphy, which judges the age of a rock from its placement within a visible pile of rocks. In exposed areas of rock, the newest rocks are on the top and the oldest are on the bottom. In 1828 and1829, long before Darwin became active, Lyell traveled with Roderick Murchison, another prominent geologist, to the Auvergne volcanic district of France, and to Italy, to examine visually some large rock faces.

In these areas of Europe he concluded that the recent strata (rock layers) could be categorized according to the number and proportion of fossil specimens encased within. Based on this concept, he proposed dividing the Tertiary period into three parts, which he named the Pliocene, Miocene, and Eocene. He also renamed the traditional Primary, Secondary and Tertiary periods (now called eras) to Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic, which nomenclature was gradually accepted worldwide over the next few years.

Sir Charles Lyell and other geologists of the time stated as a scientific fact, based on their observations of visible rock strata, that the combined Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic time periods reached back in time 550 million years, not only in Europe but world-wide. This scientific canon was accepted throughout the nineteenth century, and is still accepted as such today. Yet we are confining ourselves to the nineteenth century.

Now how is it that by observing a few visible rock faces, anyone can say that this or that piece of rock is 550 million years old? How can we even say that it is a million years old, or give any age at all for a common piece of rock; or know whether the rocks in one place on earth are the same or a different age as those in another? Remember, there were absolutely no scientific instruments available which would provide any semblance whatsoever for a rational basis for assigning a particular age to any piece of rock.

Sir Charles Lyell did his own observations, and in addition he reviewed articles written by other geological explorers in different parts of the world, and had conversations with his colleagues who had also gone out and looked at rocks. This is how he came to the conclusion that his aging of the earth was valid worldwide and could be determined with great precision.

Now let’s do a thought experiment to see if the observations of Lyell and his colleagues were detailed enough, and went deep enough, to decide on the age of the planet back to at least 550 million years. You’ll have to trust me on these computations. I researched from at least thirty sources to get these numbers. I have the references on my computer, yet I will not deluge you with footnotes. If anyone disagrees with my numbers, please show me and I’ll revise them. I’m fairly sure they are correct, though.

The total cubic volume of the planet earth is 38.3 septillion cubic feet, from the surface to the center.

The total land surface area of the earth is 57,788,200 square miles. We will reduce that surface area by regions which were in the nineteenth century (and are now today) largely geologically unexplored; which are Antarctica, remote parts of Siberia, the Northwest Territories, and Greenland. With these reductions we find that the total land surface area of the earth which is able to be explored is 48,852,200 square miles.

We can very generously for purposes of argument assume that in nineteenth century half this area had been explored to a depth or height of one-half mile. This comes to 12,213,050 square miles of land surface at one-half a cubic mile of depth, which results in 1.7 quintillion cubic feet of land surface which was capable of being explored in the nineteenth century (and today as well). The 1.7 quintillion cubic feet also works out to 1.7 quintillion linear feet if measured only on the surface of each of those cubic feet.

Now remember that Sir Charles Lyell and his colleagues were observing these areas by sight only and basing their scientific conclusions on the history of the world on what they saw with their eyes. To be generous let’s assume that one man can hold in his vision maybe twenty linear feet of space side to side at any one time. So in order to view the whole linear surface of the earth would require the visual examination of 85 quadrillion separate views with the eyes. Lyell and his colleagues would have had to be very fast men to view even a small portion of the surface of the earth.

Of course what I’m saying is that Lyell’s conclusions, after observing such a beyond-minuscule sample of the rocks of the earth, without any instrument other than the eyes, would not pass any test of scientific reliability as far as I can see. He has no basis whatsoever to form any conclusions whatsoever about the nature of any of the rocks other than those actually seen, or about the age of the earth. The conclusions drawn by Lyell and his colleagues were based entirely on their imagination. There is no other explanation for what these men did with the paltry amount of information they had.

The mass delusions created by such men as Sir Charles Lyell were based on the magnificent intellectual arrogance of the nineteenth century British and European geological and paleontological researchers, who deeply desired to make a scientific discipline out of what was actually pure speculation. Some of these “scientists” may have even been jealous of the truths propounded by Darwin, and were desperate to come up with some “truths” of their own, even if they had to fudge the facts a lot.

How did Sir Charles Lyell and his colleagues in the 1820’s even come up with the concept of geological time in the millions of years arise? Likely we will never know. Yet please allow me to speculate on the subject. Even Sir Isaac Newton was a mystic, as were many of the British thinkers who followed. One mystical idea which was brought back to England by merchants of The British East India Company from the 17th century onward included the principles of Hinduism, including a belief in reincarnation over millions of lifetimes.

In fact the Hindu scriptures, which were written over 2,000 years ago, specifically refer to the earth being 4.5 billion years old. Other parts of these ancient scriptures refer to periods of time describing the birth and expansion of the universe equaling 311.04 trillion years. I got these numbers from an uncertain source, and so I’ll give you this source since I have no independent information on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrics_of_time_in_Hinduism

Here once again I’m speculating. Sir Charles Lyell was a practicing lawyer for a few years before turning full-time to geology. He probably met and worked with merchants returning from India who brought with them stories of the Hindus and their concepts of time. He was a very gregarious man so he would have drawn from his clients all the stories of their days in India. So his thinking may have been expanded to include the ancientness of time by hearing of the Hindu concepts of time.

I find no evidence that Lyell himself was a mystic, yet the times he lived in in England were rife with extravagant mystical beliefs, which included spiritualism and past-life regression and words from the departed. He probably believed he had discovered something in the Hindu concepts. All he had to do was to wrap this mystical time line in a flashy packaging, in a way which would ensure its distribution throughout the world. If that’s what he did, it worked.

It bears repeating what Charles Darwin, a fervent and accurate observer of the natural world, said about the age of the earth:

But we continually overrate the perfection of the geological record…. We continually forget how large the world is, compared with the area over which our geological formations have been carefully examined…. It seems to me to be about as rash to dogmatize on the [ancient] succession of organic forms throughout the world, as it would be for a naturalist to land for five minutes on a barren point in Australia, and then to discuss the number and range of its productions…. We should not forget that only a small portion of the world is known with accuracy.

So it is not just me saying that the observations of geological scientists are rash and inaccurate. I am supported in this proposition by one of the greatest natural scientists of the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin.

The conclusions of these eminent nineteenth century geological scientists were accepted in the general culture as well as in the learned community as being valid and accurate. The “scientist” would simply look at a rock and then make a pronouncement as to how many millions of years ago this fossil was alive or this sediment was solidified. People wanted to believe we could see millions or billions of years into the past. They did then, and they still do now, just as people believe they can see their destiny in an astrological chart prepared by a Trained Astrologer.

It was almost inevitable that after 1859 these imaginers of the “geological record” and “paleontological dating” jumped onto the Darwinian bandwagon of evolution with a passion. They took Darwin’s work and twisted it in the latter part of the nineteenth century to mean that evolution proves conclusively that the earth is at least 500 million years old (and at least 4.3 billion years old as is now imagined). Our scientists of today are still riding on the horse stolen from Darwin, and they are still horse thieves, with no use other than to be thrown into a scientific jail.

In spite of the metaphor I just used, I’m not implying that any of these earnest men and women of science are bad people. They were and are doing the best they could with what they had. All around them the scientific establishment had incorporated so much fiction into the scientific canon with which they had been educated. It’s no wonder they had (have) no eyes to see or ears to hear the unrealistic qualities of what they’d (they’ve) been taught; and of what they were (are) passing on as teachers to the next generation.

Human consciousness must have its delusions, superstitions and creation myths. In wiping away a very dysfunctional older set of superstitious delusions, Darwin unintentionally created a hole in the ever-questing human imagination. This hole was filled by others, with the “most extremely modern views” of the nineteenth century, the new mass delusion. These men of science tied the mutability of species, including humans, with the developing myth of “geological time” (which was later morphed by other scientists to include “space-time”).

In so doing, they planted and perpetuated a new set of superstitions and gave them the credibility of Science. These new mass delusions persist until the present day. These mass delusions will continue to exist until someone comes up with a better set of concepts which will move hard scientific progress forward to the next level.

Fortunately, the set of geological and paleontological delusions which raged throughout the nineteenth century, and have continued until now, has generated much progress and done very little actual harm. The time is upon us, though, to consider the idea that progress in science is being impeded by the fantastical amount of time very brilliant scientists are spending on the delusional “evolutionary” thinking of the present day. The best efforts of these highly educated and motivated individuals are needed in other areas if science is to move to the next level.

So, it’s time to create a new description of time and geological age, one which will supplant the superstitions of the present and allow further material progress to move to the next level. The theory I propose is that we cannot know the age or the history of the planet Earth farther back than carbon dating allows, or any of its creatures including man any further back than the written record allows. (Further, we cannot know what is happening outside of our solar system, which is as far as we can see with any reliability. To be described later.) Further, in our lifetimes we will likely never know any of these things, no matter how hard we try.

Let me make it clear that I am not saying that the earth is not 500 million, or 4.5 billion, years old. It may be. The earth is probably at a minimum millions of years old. The point is that we literally don’t know the age of the earth, and we don’t know any timeline of the earth’s development. Those who claim we do know are engaged in delusional mythmaking and cannot claim any scientific accuracy for their claims. There is simply no evidence laying on the surface of the earth which can give any clues as to the actual age of the earth or how it came into being.

The advantage of new thinking is that our scientists can stop with their mystical speculations on the distant origins of man and other species and vastly remote geological time, and focus their energies solely on things which can be known by observation and experiment. With all this scientific energy focused on the material world which we can see, hear, and touch, there will be many scientific breakthroughs which now can only be imagined.

I’m not suggesting a return to the doctrine of logical positivism, which says that what is not verifiable by experiment is meaningless. I’m saying that men and women of genius often think they can understand things that are not understandable. I’m saying we should not spend our scientific time on things we can never know no matter how hard we try. I’m saying that two areas, the age of the earth and the age and structure of the universe, are unknowable at this time. Anyone who says they can scientifically describe these two items or any part thereof is participating in a mass superstitious delusion which impedes clear thinking.

For example, what if all the scientists who now spend their time concocting cosmological and geological fantasies were to focus their time and energy on how to actually feed the exploding population of our globe? What if all the scientists who now spend their time sitting at telescopes or digging and age-testing geological and fossil specimens were to focus their time and energy on how to locate supplies of minerals and ores which are needed in commerce, and increase the supply of fuels from the ground; and eventually meet the actual energy needs of our globe in a sustainable and non-polluting manner?

So while it is true that all these speculating and myth-creating scientists are doing no harm by their fantastic theorizing, there actually may be better ways they could spend their time, which could benefit all of us residents of the third planet from the Sun.

I believe that one of the reasons fewer American students are going into scientific careers is that at some level they can see that they will be binding themselves to careers as the makers of myths and practitioners of cosmological or geological mass delusion. In graduate schools most of these students are force-fed a diet of unreality, and required to buy into it in order to receive the coveted degrees necessary for them to work at the top levels in their fields or to become university professors, researchers, and industrial scientists.

In developing my theory I don’t want to underestimate the power of creative thinking or metaphysical musings, both of which are absolutely essential to the improvement of our knowledge of the world and all that’s in it. What I don’t like is imaginary fantasy stories, and mysticism masquerading as hard scientific truth.

To summarize, in the nineteenth century there was absolutely nothing tangible other than subjective visual location on which the dating of the age of rocks was based. A noble man of science would look at a rock outcropping, stroke his chin in contemplation, and then deliver an unshakable opinion as to the age of the rocks. This opinion would become scientific truth. (Most of these early “scientific truths” are still held to be the scientific truth today, almost without revision.)

To paraphrase the late comedian Fred Allen, “Nineteenth century geologists were people who counted the grains of sand in their bird cage and then tried to tell you how much sand there was on the beach.” All over the world geologists are still doing the same thing today.

When I was young I collected rock and fossil specimens of all kinds, and I still have some of them. So I know the feel of a rock in my hand, and the digging into the side of a mountain cliff. I also know that there was nothing written in the side of a cliff, or on a rock in my hand, which would have told me the geological age of the rock, or the fossil specimen, in my hand.

Charles Darwin and Geological Time, Part One

8 Feb

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

In this series of blogs I intend to examine the stories created in the imagination of scientists to explain the creation and development of the world. It’s necessary to take it in parts, starting with the concept of geological time which was developed by eminent scientists in the nineteenth century, then moving to the creation stories developed in the twentieth century and to the present regarding geological time. It’s a long story and in order to see how things really are it’s necessary to start at the beginning. So bear with me. I’ve tried to make the story as entertaining as possible, while adhering closely to scientific fact and the scientific method.

I am not a scientist, yet I’ve studied science all my life, throughout my career as a lawyer and in the last few years since I have given up the practice of law. Even though not a scientist, I am an expert, from thirty years of law practice, in analyzing evidence and developing proof of a disputed principle or point from a given set of facts. I bring this well-developed strength to my analysis.

As a young man I was an avid rock collector and would dig into the sides of cliffs with a rock hammer to find specimens and layers of rocks. So I’m not entirely ignorant of the science of geology.

Here I will develop proof of my thesis that the concept of geological time is a product of the use of flawed methods of science. The geological myth of the creation of the earth 4.5 billion years ago, and the stages through which the earth has passed from then until now, is purely a myth, with no more provable validity than the Biblical creation myth, or the Asian myth of the earth being supported on the back of a giant turtle. Let me show you how this is so.

Charles_Darwin_1854 Charles Darwin in 1856.

I am first going to tell anew the story of Charles Darwin and his masterful Theory of Evolution. I will emphasize some parts of his story which have perhaps fallen out of favor in science. My information comes directly from reading Darwin’s lengthy works from start to finish. I want you to see Darwin as Darwin saw himself, as an angelic apostle of truth who disregarded the superstitions of organized religion in order to set right the boundaries of our earth and its productions.

While bringing forth his theories of evolution, he at the same time set the boundaries for the earth sciences and geological time which are still valid today. Bear with me as over several posts I lay out these standards and limitations for the study of geological time and paleontology. Darwin’s original and quite sound theories have been hijacked and distorted by geologists and paleontologists for their own ends. Darwin’s almost totally factual and accurate observations have themselves “evolved” into a fantasy world of delusion and science fiction which does not deserve the name of Evolution.

Darwin in 1859 dispelled the mass delusion that all organic forms were formed by God exactly as they exist and are not subject to change. Those who were his contemporaries and who followed throughout the nineteenth century and even to the present, though, created another mass delusion: that the age of the earth is 4.5 billion years, and that the age of various portions of the earth can be determined by the visual observation of rocks on the surface of the earth, or, in the twentieth century, by running simple radiometric tests on rocks on the surface of the earth.

It is time for the mass delusion created after 1859 to be uncovered and tossed into the dust bin of history. It is time that we see the mass delusion of geological time for what it is: a structure created solely from the imagination of men who believed in nothing but their own infallibility. These were good men and true; so were the 19th century creationists good men and true. Yet being good and true is not the same thing as being scientifically accurate and wise in the interpretation of data.

The uses to which this good man Darwin’s words have been put in the years from 1859 to the present are unprecedented in their inaccuracy and speculation. These alterations have supported the egotistical self-aggrandizement of many scientists who had less regard for the truth or accuracy of what they “discovered,” than that what they discovered would make them famous and world-renowned. As I said, they were not bad men, only good men who reached too far.

In 1859 when he published “The Origin of Species,” Charles Darwin did a great service to mankind. He wiped away hundreds of years of fantastic speculations on the nature of creation and opened up a magnificent new way of scientific analysis. Many of the actual physical science developments which have given us a better way of life have come about because Darwin wiped away massive and unsupportable superstitions which impeded clear thinking.

In his own words Darwin described the myth he effectively dismissed. “Until recently the great majority of naturalists believed that species were immutable productions, and had been separately created.” He proved beyond doubt that mutability was a primary characteristic of living organisms, including. He also wiped away the insupportable myth that all these immutable organic productions were created at the same time in 4004 BC. He dismissed the notion that “Man” was not an organic being like other plants and animals. He factually undermined the delusion of the time that Man was created whole and faultless in his present form, and has lived as the pinnacle of creation since this miraculous creation separate from the beasts.

In his first prominent popular work, The Voyage of the Beagle, which was made available to the public in about 1845, Charles Darwin demonstrated the characteristics which would propel him to world fame. One of these characteristics was his ability to write prose in a clear and transparent manner, with great emotion and poetic turns of phrase. His writing style was as timeless as that of Charles Dickens, and almost as modern as that of John Grisham.

The Voyage of the Beagle was a travelogue which recounted sights and deeds both daring and spectacular, and excited the imagination of the most common as well as the most educated reader. At the same time as he provided high entertainment, though, he regaled the reader with thousands of cultural and scientific facts and observations. He never pushed any scientific theory, yet it was obvious to the reader that the degrees of variety of plants, animals, rocks and humans were incredibly diverse at different places in the world. He actually had thousands of specimens and thousands of pages of notes to back up the descriptions in this book.

Another rather unique characteristic of Charles Darwin was that he was an extremely effective observer of nature, and would intently drill down to the very smallest point in any matter which caught his attention as a naturalist, seeking the factual evidence wherever it led. This ability to see all of the parts of a work of nature was evident in The Voyage of the Beagle, and was even more pronounced in each of his later works.

Darwin engaged is the finest application of the scientific method, and few scientists before him had maintained sufficient discipline to examine anything other than the larger picture. During the middle of the nineteenth century, Louis Pasteur was one of the few other natural scientists to make observations with the same level of commitment.  Darwin would dissect and pull apart everything down to the smallest blade of grass or the contents of a handful of sand. Thus he and men such as Louis Pasteur created a whole new paradigm for the scientific method, which has served mankind well ever since.

In his 1859 ground-breaking book The Origin of Species, Darwin was quite cautious about offending the prevailing religious opinions of the day. So he confined himself in this work to analyzing all organic living species other than Man. With this decision made, he pushed his arguments forward with an imposing and confident force, using the thousands of observations he’d made and specimens he’d examined, which he described as far too numerous to include in his book. Even so, he probably used in this 700-page work ten times as much data as was necessary to make his point that organic species were mutable; yet it was Darwin’s nature to collect and collate information all the way to the point of exhaustion. He rarely speculated about anything in these early works, letting the facts speak for themselves.

His beautifully poetic and transparent style of prose was also in full force as he plowed through the difficult feat of writing The Origin of Species. Every word is easy to read and understandable and flows with a rhythm much like a song. Throughout the work he never once made a wrong step or wrote a confusing or boring sentence. The style is, as I have said, comparable with the great authors such as Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, and John Grisham.

Only in Chapters 10, 11 and 12 did Darwin give any expression to speculation, when he wrote about the relationship of the geological or fossil record to the theory of natural selection. Here he was not speculating himself. He was attempting to engage in an acknowledgment of the speculations of the early nineteenth century geologists and paleontologists, most of whom were his friends. These men had constructed a definite geological history going back millions, even billions of years.

Darwin was too much of a gentleman to want to alienate his colleagues or debunk their theories, but he couldn’t help bringing his clear-thinking scientist’s soul to bear on the subject. In addition, he needed to make the simple point that the world was old and that species had evolved over a long period of time. He just hadn’t observed any facts showing how old the world was, only that it was old.

In damning his colleagues with faint praise, he let the reader know he didn’t think much of their very precisely drawn and fantastically ancient geological time periods. He reminds his reader that one Professor Ramsay claimed to have actually measured the thickness of rock crusts in Great Britain to a depth of almost fourteen miles. The irony in the description is thicker and deeper than the supposed fourteen mile hole in the earth’s crust, which is of course even now impossibility.

Here’s more of Darwin’s faint acknowledgment of the ancient geological periods which were being presented as facts by his colleagues, from The Origin of Species:

But we continually overrate the perfection of the geological record…. We continually forget how large the world is, compared with the area over which our geological formations have been carefully examined…. It seems to me to be about as rash to dogmatize on the [ancient] succession of organic forms throughout the world, as it would be for a naturalist to land for five minutes on a barren point in Australia, and then to discuss the number and range of its productions…. We should not forget that only a small portion of the world is known with accuracy.

And in another place in the same book:

I look on the geological record as a history of the world imperfectly kept…. Of this history we possess the last volume alone, relating only to two or three countries. Of this volume, only here and there a short chapter has been preserved; and of each page, only here and there a few lines.

By readily admitting to the great antiquity of the earth, Darwin successfully refuted the then predominant creationists who spoke of 4004 BC as the beginning of time. Nevertheless, he correctly spoke of this antiquity in general terms. When getting specific he mostly referred to the periods as recent in time as the mastodons, which was about 14,000 years ago and could be confirmed by the presence of frozen animal specimens.

So Darwin was a man of science who proceeded based on observable facts, and he saw very few observable facts in the geological and paleontological speculations on ancient times which were in vogue in his day as proven fact. We will return to the subject of paleontology and the accuracy of the geological record after a few more useful digressions.

First, in his 1859 work, The Origin of Species, he avoided any discussion of the lineage and mutability of mankind. The principle was nevertheless implicit in the text, yet the connection was so subtle that the average Victorian would not make the intellectual leap (or get angry). The proven premise is that all organic beings are subject to change due to natural selection and evolution. Mankind is an organic being. Therefore mankind is subject to the same change as any pigeon or blade of grass. The logic is flawless, yet Darwin couldn’t bring himself to say it out loud.

When he finally found it necessary to publish The Descent of Man twelve years later in 1871, he admitted to having been studying the subject of the mutability of mankind since the 1840’s, yet had felt it was too controversial and uncertain to write about. When he finally did write, his prose was unusually turgid and quite boring, as though he was agitated, or too overly restrained, to reach the poetic high notes of his earlier works. It was difficult for him to assert that man was descended from the apes, even though he had good scientific proof that this was so.

He did, though, in this book, depart from his usual practice. There was a high degree of speculation in his discussions regarding the nature of the influences which may have brought man by natural selection from the stage of a beast to the present condition of humanity. It’s interesting to note that his strict scientific method based solely on observation largely deserted him when discussing the descent of himself and his fellow man.

Nevertheless, he did take pains to point out each instance where he was speculating or imagining as opposed to stating a known fact. And he continued to base most of his arguments on currently observable comparisons between savage societies and civilized man, and current comparisons between the structure and behavior of apes and the structure and behavior of man.

Once again, though, he correctly asserted that the geological record was too thin to make sweeping “genealogical” statements about the prehistoric descent of man in the far distant geological past. Once again, he was firmly in touch with reality, and rather intolerant of those who were not so grounded.

Darwin, as I said, was uncomfortable in his speculations about the origins of mankind, and he should have been, and he was. It was clear to him that mankind evolved from earlier mammalian forms of life, yet he couldn’t explain why mankind was endowed with a spirit and soul so conspicuously absent in the other plants and animals of the earth. We must remember that Darwin was an atheist, and as such was unable to admit that there was a time in the history of earth when mankind was touched with the spirit of God and humanity and self-awareness, and became something more than the other organic productions of the earth.

In part two of this essay I am going to shift gears and get into how Darwin’s almost totally factual and accurate observations have themselves “evolved” into a fantasy world of delusion and science fiction which does not deserve the name of Evolution.

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SIDEBAR COMMENT:

Please allow me to make a few comments which are not a part of the thesis of this series of essays, in the interest of full disclosure of my personal bias. I am a Christian and at the same time I am a great admirer of the original work of Charles Darwin. As a Christian, I believe that God did at some time in the recent history of the earth, perhaps in the last 14,000 years, endow mankind with a spirit which was wholly separate from the forms of the physically remote predecessor bodies described by Darwin. I also, along with most Christians and Jews, have a different interpretation of the Book of Genesis than that held by those creationists who insist that the world was formed in 4004 BC and that Adam was the first man.

The first part of the interpretation is to assume that the Biblical description of the seven days of creation are symbolic, in that they represent the various stages of the evolution of the earth over an unstated period of time up until the creation of mankind. If read with a clear eye, Genesis 1: 26-28 describes the creation of human beings of all kinds on the sixth day of creation: well before Adam was created. These human beings, male and female, were made in the image of God and were given dominion over the other creatures of the earth, and went forth and multiplied throughout the earth.

The seven days of Genesis clearly describe an evolution from fish and birds to plants to animals, all the way to the pinnacle of God’s creation, human beings, who resembled Him. Thus there was a recapitulation of a gradual increase in the species until the recent times when human beings were specifically endowed with the spirit of God. Except for his atheism, Darwin may in his works have been describing the book of Genesis in his Origin of the Species and The Descent of Man. The two are not entirely incompatible.

The creation of Adam and Eve in Chapter 2 of Genesis thus has nothing whatsoever to do with the “creation of human beings, male and female,” which was completed in Chapter 1 on the sixth day of the general creation. What the Bible seems to be doing in Chapter 2 and following was to create in Adam and Eve a special Chosen People, who were intended to put forth and represent the principle of one God all powerful, the Judeo-Christian God who carried through the entire Old Testament.

The connection of the Chosen People within the New Testament is gained by the recitation of the lineage of Jesus directly from Abraham, who was descended from Noah (Genesis 10 and 11), who was descended directly from Adam (Genesis 5). Thus the Judeo-Christian Bible is a description of the lives of the Chosen People. It is not a description of all human beings, who resembled God and peopled the whole earth, after God had animated all human beings with spirit and a soul.

The Bible was never meant to be a description of the progress of all of mankind. The various races and degrees of civilization of human beings were evolving at their own pace throughout the whole of the planet. What we have in the Bible is a record of the evolution of the Chosen People of the Judeo-Christian world, in which I and those around me live.

We know for sure that there were more creations in heaven and earth than the Judeo-Christian people. It is not good to be intentionally blind to the different peoples of the earth, and the differing ways which they picture God or do not picture a deity.