April 25, 2013

Advanced Life is Very Rare

Given Occam’s Razor, I believe it can be shown logically that highly-intelligent life most likely is rare in the universe. The reasons have nothing to do with how many planets can sustain life. All we need to do is look at Earth and the history of life on this planet to see that life is rare in this universe—or, in fact, any conceivable universe(s). I shall only summarize the arguments, since the full reasoning is incredibly tedious. I will be starting with the faulty assumption that life evolved apart from God’s design, since if God designed life we can have no idea how common advanced life is elsewhere. (From now on in this post, I shall be using “advanced life” to refer only to beings with human-like intelligence.)

The basis for the argument is two simple facts: (1) human life evolved on Earth almost as soon as is conceivable, and the evolutionary path was replete with fortuitous circumstances and advancements, as many evolutionists will candidly admit[1]; and (2) Darwinian evolution by definition is not optimal and life evolves without purpose or desire for increases in complexity.

Because advanced life (humans) evolved so rapidly on Earth, relative to the full spectrum of conceivable time frames, Occam’s Razor suggests that advanced life had to evolve quickly or it would never have evolved at all. (One possible reason would be that the conditions for life may rarely last more than about 5 billion years before all life is destroyed by some extinction event.) We see, then, that the simplest answer is that almost wherever advanced life exists it will have evolved quickly. Lower forms of life may be abundant in the universe, but the vast majority of these planets would undergo complete extinction before advanced life could evolve.

Now, even if you allow for an infinite number of universes, Occam’s Razor would also strongly suggest that advanced life is not common in any of these alternate universes—or else the odds tell us that we should have been living in such a universe.

Under the faulty assumption of us being a cosmic accident, this means that one way or another it looks like we won the cosmic lottery where the odds were majorly stacked against us. Either (1) against the odds, we randomly ended up in a universe where advanced life is very rare, even though there are other universes where advanced life is common; or, (2) somehow the fundamental properties of the universe/multiverse allowed for the unlikely existence of advanced life forms—but just barely. Likely, if the fundamental properties of reality were altered even slightly then advanced life could not exist in any universe.

Bottom line: taking God out of the picture invariably makes the odds of our existence to be highly unlikely. It leads to the conclusion that life is probably rare in the universe(s). Finally, it leads to the conclusion that there probably is a God who designed life on Earth.

NEWS: Living Fossil Fish Has Genes for Wrists, Ankles, Fingers and Toes

A fish, called a coelacanth, thought to be extinct was found living and well in the seas (or at least a fish very similar to the extinct species). The fish is found in the fossil record as far back as 300 Ma, which places it at a point in Earth’s history when land creatures had just begun to form. So, scientists got curious and decided to investigate the genome of this living fossil to see if it could help explain the evolutionary process of bygone ages. What they found can—in my opinion—only support the idea of a designed evolutionary process. Darwinian evolution fails to explain the findings, as does young-earth creationism.

The scientists made an educated guess: the living-fossil fish should have some adaptations that are related to walking on land, since it existed around the time that land creatures were first evolving. Most fish do not have genetic code for hands and feet and toes and fingers. I’m not surprised. They don’t have those. However, this ancient fish species did indeed have some genetic code related to limbs:
“The authors located a fragment of DNA within the coelacanth's genome that is also found in land vertebrates but not in fish without lobed fins, such as tuna, tilapia, and sharks. Because researchers cannot study live coelacanths in the laboratory, they inserted the fragment into a mouse embryo in order to learn what it does. The fragment activated a network of genes that forms bones in wrists, ankles, fingers and toes. … [I]t's not yet clear what the DNA fragment's function is within [living] coelacanths …”
This is rather shocking! The genes in this fish are “upstream” genetic switches that would typically activate an array of genes that would result in the production of hands and feet, etc. In other words, the fish has genes that appear to be useless without additional genetic information. These genes found in this fish do not appear to be an evolutionary experiment leading to limbs, but rather fully “modern” genes that today serve to activate limb production in limbed creatures. This leads to the reoccurring problem of preexisting information before evolutionary utilization. It appears more than ever that animals had all the genetic toolkits needed to produce the varied and complex organisms that exist today. The evolutionary process does not appear to have tinkered with failed experiments, but rather it used efficient and existing information to quickly adapt to new environments and survival challenges. That contradicts the tenants of Darwinism.

(This follows a number of similar findings of organism genomes containing information that is only known to be used by other vastly different organisms, such as sponges with genes for nervous systems and immune systems and ancient fish with complex segmented backbones designed for walking.)

Young-earth creationists (YECs) should be perplexed by these findings as well. Did God create animals with junk information? Obviously, YECs can (and will) assume that God reused the same genetic codes for various purposes, and we haven’t yet discovered the true purpose of these genes in the living-fossil fish. But, considering that other similar fish do not have this information and that it was predicted by evolutionists that this one fish would have some walking-related genes, it seems too big of a coincidence to swallow.

Neither Darwinians nor YECs seem to be able to easily explain the evidence. Only created evolution accurately predicts this kind of evidence.