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THE MODERN CONCEPTION OF THE CREATION
(Information gathered from Readers Digest Encyclopedia of Modern Knowledge)
Modern science is generally accepted and taught in schools following the ascending process of aquiring knowledge: i.e; from what is already seen or accepted, assumptions and speculations are made about what is not known. Therefore, modern science follows a practice of hypothesis, theory, and accepted law.
Hypothesis - A tentative assumption made in order to draw out and
test its logical empirical consequences: i.e;
arguments relying on observations and experience
Theory - The analysis of a set of facts, principles or
circumstances, in their relation to one another. In
other words, an idea deduced from other formulas or
propositions. A theory is not a proven fact.
Law - An aspect or quality of a phenomenon assumed to hold
or is so far known as invariable under given
conditions. i.e., When there is experimental proof
or when an experiment gives the same result under
the same conditions, and the result so far cannot be
refuted and is widely accepted by scientists, it is
made by them into a law.
For the sake of argument someone puts forward a hypthesis and when a set of facts or circumstances are brought together to back this argument it is called a theory. When this theory is applied under set conditions and experiments and the same result occurs, and so far, is not able to be disproved, it is called law.
Therefore, when we hear the theories and explanations put forward by modern science we can see their statements filled with words like maybe, possibly, it is believed, probably, perhaps, etc. So because modern science is primarily based on the speculative process, one should be cautious about these theories and so-called laws understanding that they are constantly subject to change.
THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE
There are many theories about the origin of the universe, but basically three principle ones are given the most credence.
1) The Big Bang Theory
According to this theory, the universe had its origin in a gigantic explosion about 18,000 million years ago. The matter flung out from the explosion condensed into lumps called galaxies, which are still rushing outwards. As the universe grows old, the matter in it thins out. The expansion continues indefinitely.
In the 1920s an astonomer named Edwin Hubble using a 100 inch telescope in America made a sensational dicovery: the galaxies seemed to be moving away from one another at speeds that increased with their distances. It seemed that the entire universe was expanding.
The Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaitres pointed out that if the outward movements of all the galaxies were traced backwards, then they would presumably meet in a single point. This large blob of matter, known as the cosmic egg or primeval atom, must have been all that existed of the universe in the distant past. Lemaitre suggested that for some reason this giant blob of matter exploded, flinging materials outwards like a bomb. This marked the creation of the universe. Lemaitre's idea became known as the Big Bang theory.
Where the cosmic egg came from, or what existed before the Big Bang, are questions that remained unsolved.
2) The Oscillating Theory
This theory, a variation on the Big Bang theory, suggests that the expansion of the universe will eventually slow down and stop, followed by a contraction of the galaxies into another Big Bang. The outward expansion of the galaxies will eventually be slowed and stopped by gravity, like a stone being thrown upwards. The universe therefore continues in endless cycles of expansion and contraction; the laws of nature may differ in each cycle.
According to this theory there was no one-time creation. However, the Oscillating theory does not seem to be supported by the latest studies because the astronomers can find no evidence that the galaxies are slowing down. Therefore, it seems most likely, that the expansion of the universe will continue indefinitely.
3) The Steady State Theory
An alternative veiw of the Big Bang, this theory says that the universe never originated at any one instant, nor will it ever die. According to the Steady State theory, as the universe expands new matter is created to fill the spaces left. Therefore, the appearance of the universe remains constant with time.
According to the Steady State theory, the universe has always existed in much the same form as present. It had no beginning, and will have no end. However, because of the expansion of the universe, the overall density of the matter in space would decrease with time, unless it were somehow replaced by new matter. The Steady State theory proposes that matter is indeed continuously created. As the galxies rush apart, new material is created out of nothing to fill the space they leave, so that the overall appearance of the universe remains constant.
However, it appears that the Steady State theory has not stood the test of time and it is not openly accepted at present.
The Present Day Understanding
Many lines of evidence now suggest that the universe did indeed have its origin in a Big Bang 18,000 million years ago. The first facts supporting this belief came during the 1950s, as radio astronomers probed deep into the universe. Light and radio waves take a considerable time to reach us from the most distant objects in space: the further away an object, the longer its light has taken to get here. Distant galxies are so far off that their radiation has been travelling to Earth for thousands of millions of years; therefore we see them as they appeared thousands of millions of years ago, when the universe was much younger. Counting the number of objects far away in space - and thus far back in time they found that they were more common than objects nearer to Earth. This suggested that contrary to the Steady State theory, the universe has indeed changed in appearance in time.
As well as the discovery of Quasars or the brilliant centres of energetic young galaxies; the most crucial evidence of all in support of the Big Bang theory came in 1965. This was the discovery by radio astronomers of low-energy radiation that indicated a slight warmth filling all of space and giving it a temperature of about 2.7 degrees Celcius above absolute zero. This so-called background radiation is believed to be the heat left after the Big Bang explosion.
Birth of the Sun and Planets.
The Galaxy and Sun
In the immensity of space whirl hundreds of millions of galaxies, each of them a comlete star system containing thousands of millions of stars. This galaxy, of which the sun and its solar system form a part, is a spiral shaped mass of 100,000 million stars, part of which can be seen as the Milky Way.
Modern scientists believe that there are millions of suns in millions of galaxies in the universe. They believe many of the stars we see in the night sky to be suns similar to the one we see during the day. Galaxies are dotted like islands through the universe. The space between them is empty apart from possible wisps of gas, and perhaps the occasional unseen star which has broken away from a galaxy. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way is one of perhaps 100,000 million such islands. The nearest galaxy which is faintly visible to the naked eye is the constellation of Andromeda.
Through radio astronomy they found the galaxies of the Milky Way and Andromeda to be spiral shaped. Galaxies are believed to have been formed when hydrogen and helium gas, thrown out from the Big Bang explosion, began to break up into individual clouds, which then began to shrink.
The likeliest explanation of the origin of the planets is that they formed from a disc of gas and dust spinning around a newly formed star, our sun. Around the young sun, the remains of the gas cloud were gradually smeared out into a disc, or solar nebula. Before the sun begins to glow brightly, the disc of gas resembles a freezing fog, with the lighter matter on the outer edges. Specks of matter within the disc collided with each other, and so coalesced or merged into larger lumps. The lumps eventually swept each other up, forming large, solid bodies around the sun. Sometimes several proto-planets merged; and sometimes one body was captured in orbit round another, like the Moon and Earth.
The Solar System
Modern science teaches that these discs of gas and dust after colliding and merging for millions of years formed what is known as the Solar System. This is a group of nine planets including the Earth rotating around the sun. These nine planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Only Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are believed to be solid and the rest are believed to be spinning globes of liquid gas like Jupiter, or frozen gas. The Moon is considered a satellite of Earth and is believed to be closer to the Earth than the sun. It is believed that the Moon is about one quarter the size of Earth and about 240,000 miles away.
The modern theory about the origin and formation of the universe is as follows.
First there was a big chunk of matter or gas in outer space. No one knows its origin or what it was made of. This chunk or egg exploded and made a `Big Bang'. Then all the pieces scattered throughout the universe and seperately formed whirling clouds of gas and dust which became galaxies. Then in each galaxy many millions of smaller discs of gas and dust formed around hot centres called suns. After colliding and merging and cooling off these discs of gas and dust became planets all travelling and orbiting around their own suns and became known as Solar Systems.
The modern scientists believe that this process is still going on. So, if they can somehow get out into space, with rockets and telescopes, they can see if they are right or wrong.
How Life Began
Scientists who study the beginnings of all living things see the creation of life as a logical event - not a chance occurrence. They see it as the inevitable product of the conditions that existed on earth more than 3,500 million years ago. Still, what they assume to have happened in the beginning of creation is based not only on the speculations of the origin of life on earth, but also on the speculations of the origin of the universe itself. Therefore, their conclusions are based on the theory of a chance occurrence of a chunk appearing from nothing, then exploding, and from this, conditions became ripe for so-called inevitable events.
This is tantamount to all the ingredients of a house appearing from nowhere, along with some explosives, which for some reason detonates, and a perfectly equipped house is produced. Then on top of that, because such a nice arrangement of a house happened, a family naturally evolved in the house along with all the household paraphenalia, household pets, running water and food to eat.
The only rival to this veiw from the scientists is the so-called panspermia hypothesis, which suggests that primitive life forms could have reached the earth from elsewhere in the universe - either planted deliberately by other intelligent beings, or else brought accidentally by meteorites. Evidence for this theory includes fragments of meteorites that have been found to contain both chemicals characteristic of living things and also some minute structures that could be fossils of ancient micro-organisms.
But the panspermia theory is not widely held because even the hardiest of micro-organisms would be unlikely to survive the harsh conditions of outer space. It is, in any case, a theory that avoids rather than solves the question of how life itself began.
So the modern accepted theory of how life began on earth is given in the following recipe:
A Recipe for Life.
The chemical elements from which all present day living things are made were present on the primitive earth 4,000 million years ago. However, it is not known for certain how they combined, for about 2,000 million years, to form the first cells.
The earth is born - a ball of molten rock condenses from a cloud of gas. Intense heat and no atmosphere prevail.
As the earth cools, the crust buckles and volcanoes belch out gases to form the first atmosphere.
With further cooling, water condenses and clouds form. Torrential rain, violent storms and radiation occur.
Rains wash chemicals out of the atmosphere into oceans.
This created what is called the `primeval or primordial soup'.
Organic compounds formed by lightning and radiation.
The earth quietens and the storms cease. Water evaporates from the oceans, concentrating the organic compounds.
Chains of nucleic acids and amino acids appear - perhaps catalysed by clay particles on the surface of the ocean floor.
A layer of fats form on the sea. Small droplets splashed from the `soup' form an early membrane.
The first self-supporting cells appear followed by plants which release oxygen.
Oxygen forms the ozone layer which sheilds the earth from lethal ultra-violet radiation.
Thus life has become established.
It is believed that the first living organisms to develop were probably viruses and the first true cells to evolve probably resembled bacteria. The first plant life is presumed to be a primitive blue-green algae found today floating in stagnant pools.
The Evolution of Life Forms
Fossils discovered in successive layers of the earth's crust show that plants and animals have changed continuously over millions of years. Unfortunately, such fossil evidence is plentiful only from the start of the Cambrian Period some 570 million years ago, when the earth was well into its `middle age'.
Nothing is known of Pre-cambrian Life, but among the plants identifiable from the oldest known fossils are seaweeds and aquatic fungi.
It is believed from the beginning of the Cambrian period single celled organisms had evolved into semi-independent cells like sponges. Then they developed into multi-celled organisms like jellyfish and coral.
The next to form were creatures similar to flatworms, which formed into roundworms and then into segmented worms. They could take in food through the mouth then excrete the waste.
Invertabrates or shelled creatures.
After about 25 million years molluscs or shelled animals like snails and squids evolved. These were a very large group of animals, characterised by an external shell of tough, jointed, armoured skin. Modern descendants range from crabs and lobsters to insects and spiders. The most common in these early times were trilobites which varied from pin-head size to two feet in length.
Vertabrates or animals with backbones.
The first vertabrates formed the link that eventually led through the primitive jawless fishes to the highly developed animals of modern times: bony fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and ultimately mammals. (There are few precise fossil records to show how vertabrates evolved).
The first vertabrates were sea-squirts.
Fishes gradually evolved and from them amphibians developed by using their fins to support their weight after they crawled onto land. From their fins grew legs and they developed strong backbones to support themselves as they began to slither around from pool to pool. The air sacs which complemented their gills formed into lungs that allowed them to breathe out of water.
So the move from the sea to dry land had begun.
When the first amphibians started to crawl further from their shallow pools, they found many other forms of life had preceded them on to dry land. These were plants that had evolved from seeweeds and had adapted to the land by growing roots and woody frames to support themselves. So the amphibians found food on the land. Among the first invertabrates to adapt to the new environment were scorpions and millipedes and soon after them came insects. The earliest vertabrates were about ten feet long and had long-tailed bodies on short sturdy legs. Some had no legs. From these developed reptiles.
Reptiles became very large up to 90 feet long - dinasaurs. Some ate plants and others ate flesh. Some walked on four legs, others ran on their hind legs and others developed wings.
Next evolved the mammals and birds. They became warm-blooded and developed hair and feathers.
About 65 million years ago tremendous changes affected the earth. The reasons are not clear - although it is known that the supercontinents were breaking up and colliding, thereby changing climates and isolating species. So the age of the reptile was cut short abruptly.
From Hedgehog to Monkey to Man
Two main groups of mammals survived into the`new age'. One group had fur and suckled its young, though its members still laid leathery-shelled eggs like reptiles. This group led to the present-day spiny anteater and the platypus.
All other mammals resulted from the other group. These animals evolved in two ways. One group became pouched mammals - the marsupials. The other group, whose original members resembled the modern insect-eating animals such as the hedgehog, led to the placental mammals, whose offspring developed to an advanced stage in the womb before birth.
Exploiting the habitats left by the reptiles after they became extinct, the mammals developed rapidly in many directions. Quite early, the primates became a distinctive forest group, adept at co-ordinating hand and eye. They eventually gave rise to monkeys, apes and man.
Hooved animals evolved and these led to horses, cattle, elephants, rhinos and aardvarks.
From Early Primate to Modern Man.
According to anthroplogists and modern scientists the more widely a particular characteristic is shared by many different species of animals, the more likely it is that the characteristic was once possessed by a common ancestor from which all the species descended. In other words, man has a large brain, stereoscopic colour vision, a collar bone, and hands instead of paws. So they conclude that other animals such as monkeys are related by a common ancestor.
The common ancestor of all primates was probably a small, rat-like animal adapted for life in trees. Once in the trees , the primates began to separate into different groups, some living in the outer branches, which remained small and some living in the stronger branches, which grew large. Then another group descended from the trees and began to walk upright.
Because of so many features of man are shared with the ape, such as the rib-cage, arm, shoulder-blade and also of the internal arrangement of the chest cavity, The scientists feel that this provides strong evidence that man is closely related genetically to modern apes, such as the gorilla and the chimpanzee.
It is believed that man made his appearance in a form almost indistinguishable to modern man about 35,000 years ago. His brain had completed its extaordinary history of growth. He had a religion that centred upon animals and he was fully adapted to the hunting way of life.
THE MECHANICS OF EVOLUTION
The Theory of Evolution
The theory of evolution is as old as speculation itself. Early Greek speculators propounded a theory known as Spontaneous Generation - that is, the theory that the first living organisms made themselves from the primordial mud. They suggested that all creatures originally inhabited the seas. However, although this was unproven and unscientific, it was accepted until it was disproved by modern scientists.
While it is said that the Spontaneous Generation theory has been disproved by modern scientists, this simply means that the early thinkers thought that creatures developed independently in their existing forms from water, air, fire and earth. The modern theory is that gradual evolution took place under set conditions and creatures evolved from common ancestors.
Darwin's theory is known as the Theory of Natural Selection. This theory is the idea that primitive creatures had gradually changed into the species alive today. Darwin was not the first to suggest this but his contribution was to present evidence to prove evolution had occurred and a theory to explain how.
Evidence in support of Darwins theory comes from many branches of science. Comparitive anatomy, physiology and biochemistry show how the structure of the body and functions of different species are related in a progressive way. Embryology shows that many apparently unrelated creatures go through similar stages of embryo development. And paleontology or the study of fossils can show how life has developed over 3,000 million years.
Before Darwin there was an idea that creatures evolved by passing on to their offspring adaptions developed during their own lifetime. For example they thought that a giraffe's long neck evolved because the animal's ancestors stretched up to browse on the leaves of trees. This would elongate their necks slightly, and this acquired characteristic would be inherited and added to by succeeding generations.
However, it is now known that acquired characteristics cannot be inherited.
Darwin looked at the problem in another way. He noticed that individual animals and plants are not identical, but varied (although he could not account for the variations). Some members of a species are taller than others, some have different colours, etc. Some variations may be beneficial to an animal and some may be harmful.
An animal with a variation that helps it cope with its environment will have a better chance of surviving and multiplying. Because there is a better chance of surviving the particular traits that help it to survive will be passed on to its offspring and the new, beneficial adaptation will eventually become established. A harmful characteristic will be slowly eliminated.
Darwin knew that the population of any particular species remains constant, even though they produce more offspring than will survive to maturity. From this he deduced that most living things are engaged in a struggle for survival. Therefore he thought those with the most favourable adaptations will have the greatest survival - and breeding - rate. This phenomenon, commonly known as `Survival of the Fittest', Darwin called `Natural Selection".
By `survival of the fittest' Darwin meant those with adaptations that will give it the greatest survival and breeding rate.
He also believed chance played a role particularly in some isolated oceanic islands. While in the Galapagos Islands, where he gained most of his insight, he found some birds have become flightless because there are no predators to chase them and they didn't need to use the energy flying. So they lost the use of their wings. He thinks that if they were amongst a larger population of animals they might have been forced to fly and wouldn't have passed on the flightless trait.
Darwin believed in heredity but didn't know how it worked. Then an idea was put forward that the variations that allow natural selection to take place are due to spontaneous changes in an organism's genes, known as mutations. It is still not known for certain whether the accumulation of small variations caused by small mutations within a species is enough to explain the development of a new species. Some think that many new species maybe the result of large mutations, producing monsters. They think these will not survive when there are major environmental changes. But they see little reason why, by chance, some so-called `hopeful monsters' should not appear occasionally. If enough appeared with positive advantages in the struggle for survival, evolution would be set on a new path.
There are many additions to these speculations but it is this general belief that life evolved from one species to another - not in an orderly progression - like a monkey to a man, but in every direction the environment will allow.
Because the modern scientists do not really know exactly how life itself began, and only follow theories put forward by other blind speculators, they are now engaged in spending billions upon billions of dollars either sending out space probes to find the origin of the universe or trying to recreate, in their laboratories, the exact set of conditions which they think to be the cause of life, to produce a living entity from a combination of chemicals.