Cloud Law up in the clouds

18Aug/110

Empirical Evidence for Evolution

On his website, a certain Mr. X has a standing offer of $250,000 to anyone who can give any empirical evidence (scientific proof) for Evolution.

To prove Evolution, there are three main subjects to consider, being Knowledge, Science and Belief. Knowledge is about facts. Science is about explaining and working with facts. Belief is about non-facts. Atheist and religious fanatics, being people you can't discuss common sense with, combine these three subjects in one, which they call "Truth". Not A truth, but THE indisputable Truth. If Mr. X would belong to this category, he might want to pay me for deleting this article, something I surely would consider.

Knowledge

We can be rather short about this one, unless someone can tell us what energy, matter and time is. Especially time is a great mystery, but it stands central in debates about Evolution versus Creation. How long time ago happened what, how much time did what development take, etc? Matter is a great mystery also, no scientist ever saw an electron as yet, just traces it leaves behind in various pieces of equipment. We only know the mass and electrical charge of an electron, but nothing about its internal structure. Yet, electrons are the main agents in the forming of chemical bonds, matter and life as we know it. Nobody ever "saw" energy either. We only know forms of energy, matter being one of them (Einstein). We can observe those various forms, but we don't know what the H2O of energy is. In fact, when it comes to the basic components of Creation and Evolution, we know absolutely NOTHING.

Science

Scientific facts are observed behaviors of matter and energy as functions of time, which can be described in formulas that we can work with. These "facts" however can change, some even become invalid as new discoveries are made and new "facts" emerge. The only "complete" science is that of mathematics. What is known of it since thousands of years will never change, never become invalid. Only more sophisticated methods can be developed, but for the rest, mathematics are stable as a rock.

Belief

When knowledge and science fail, Belief is left to explain whatever. It is therefore very hard to prove any Belief, or to deny it, because it is not based on knowledge and/or science. Nevertheless, we have also common sense, which allows us to judge the probability of something to be true. This is the field of philosophy, which is considered a science, but it is not an exact one and therefore it can be categorized under Beliefs. Religion is a special category within Belief, because it usually is dogmatic. In religions indisputable postulates are made to be "facts" and "truths", which rules out "common sense". Hence, it is rather useless to want to prove whether God exists or not. Those who try to do that, are no longer dealing with religion, but with science. If God ever would become a scientific fact, we can close all holy books and churches, fire all priests and instead ask a computer what God's will is, by letting it make "divine" calculations. If it then answers with "syntax error", the computer proves that God does not exist - a scientific fact.

However, there are false gods and false beliefs, which can be discovered by "common sense". Common sense must be based on a logic that everybody can agree with and this is not always the case, so even "common sense" is not always "convincing".

This brings us on Mr. X's first event to prove, without the need of a God Creator:

1. Time, space, and matter came into existence by themselves.

Because we don't know what energy, matter and time is, there can be no empirical prove on the origin of them, but theories only. What we can say about time though is, that nothing can be infinitely old, because whatever would be (God), cannot become a second older than it is already - you can't add anything to infinity. From this follows that time does not flow from the present into the future, but the other way around, from the present into the past and the future does not exist. This means that only the present moment exists and indeed, tomorrow never comes, it is always today and always right now. The present moment then becomes ageless and so both Creation and God are ageless. In that case there is no origin in time, but in Evolution only, changing the conditions of the present moment. This neither includes nor excludes a God Creator, just the perception of God would become a fundamentally different one from the Abrahamic view of the Bible. We are thus totally confined to the field of belief and speculation here and therefore I deem this point to be invalid in respect to proving Evolution.

Mr. X's second event to prove:

2. Planets and stars formed from space dust.

Mr. X requires an empirical prove. In my Oxford Dictionary, "empirical" is defined as: based on observation, experience, or experiment, not on theory.

As to observation, we have a very interesting physical law, called the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The interesting thing is this context is, that this is a purely observational law. This means that it is not based on any physical principle, but on observations only. Hence If I can prove Evolution on the basis of the Second Law, Mr. X has to accept it as valid.

The Second law has great significance for the mechanisms behind Evolution. Evolution is characterized by an almost infinite number of random events, bringing about unpredictable results over time, the more unpredictable, the longer the time of a certain process of consideration is. It is here where the Second Law comes in, based on our observations that random events indeed do occur. Random events relate to disorder, the very subject of the Second Law in terms of entropy. The creationists say that the Second Law predicts that everything develops to greater states of disorder (= higher entropy), which then erroneously is seen as to be in conflict with the high order we observe in the structure of the galaxies, planetary systems and the extremely high organized organisms of life, that thus must be created by God. This point of view thus rejects the Second Law, as it goes against God's creative order.

A correct understanding of entropy lets one see that organized matter instead causes an increase of entropy. For example, the Sun (or any star) was formed by gravity from a chaotic interstellar cloud of dust, into a more organized concentrated body, that converts matter into heat energy by nuclear processes. This energy disperses in space far more chaotically than the mass of the original cloud did and thus the entropy (disorder) has increased. Likewise, the chemical energy in food is in the body converted to heat, that is given of to the environment, thus spreading in a more chaotic manner, causing increase of entropy. There is order in chaos!

Evolution leads to more organized forms of matter and so doing increases the total entropy of the universe and is thus a direct consequence of the Second Law. The amazing complexity of these structures is due to the incredibly long time over which they were formed - billions of years of random events, finally resulting into a perfect system, perfect by necessity, in order to exist as the only sustainable solution - anything else would not be possible to last over (long) time. There is no "intelligent" design behind these structures, none that could be proven, nor would be required to explain them.

Hence, already at this point I can say to have proven Evolution on basis of the Second Law

Mr. X's third event to prove:

3. Matter created life by itself.

The prove of this is largely the same as of event 2, just the scene is a different one. Again, consider the time factor. Hundreds of millions of years of an almost infinite number of random events, chemical experiments, finally resulting in something that was sustainable, again later developing into something that could reproduce itself - life. This reproduction requires chemical energy (food) to be converted to ambient heat, increasing entropy, which was the driving factor behind the probability for it to occur - the Second Law. Evolutional development is about 100 million errors against one success, finally resulting into something that is without errors, "supreme" perfection. Hence, the extreme complexity and perfection of natural systems, including life, talks in favor of Evolution, rather than against it. Anything less perfect could not survive over time. Evolution can do "miracles", by virtue of the Second Law.

Mr. X's fourth event to prove:

4. Early life-forms learned to reproduce themselves.

This statement suggests that there could be life forms not learning this. That would be in conflict with the definition of life, being the ability to reproduce itself. Something that cannot reproduce itself, is not life.

Mr. X's fifth event to prove:

5. Major changes occurred between these diverse life forms (i.e., fish changed to amphibians, amphibians changed to reptiles, and reptiles changed to birds or mammals).

In view of said above, there is nothing peculiar for life to have spread over the planet, by which major changes between the various life forms occurred. Naturally, migrating to new environments with different conditions for survival, needed the migrating life forms to adapt to that. This just follows from common sense. An empirical prove of this event lies alone in the observations of paleontology, fossil findings of previous life forms.
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