Creation vs. Evolution
An Intelligence Behind the Origin of the Universe

Creation vs. Evolution
An Intelligence Behind the Origin of the Universe

Is there an intelligence behind the origin of the universe or does evolution prove otherwise? Is it possible that both intelligent creation and evolution can coexist together?

Is there an intelligence behind the origin of the Universe?

A remarkable discovery has emerged in astrophysics: that key properties of the Universe have just the right values to make life possible.

Most scientists prefer to explain away this uniqueness, insisting that a huge, perhaps infinite, number of unseen universes must therefore exist, each randomly different from the other.

That way ours only appears special because we could not exist in any of the other hypothetical universes.

The creation–evolution controversy (also termed the creation vs. evolution debate or the origins debate) is a recurring cultural, political, and theological dispute about the origins of the Earth, humanity, life, and the universe.

The dispute is between those who, despite contrary evidence, support a creationist view based upon their religious beliefs, versus those who accept evolution, as supported by scientific consensus.

The dispute particularly involves the field of evolutionary biology, but also the fields of geology, palaeontology, thermodynamics, nuclear physics and cosmology.

Though also present in Europe and elsewhere, and often portrayed as part of the culture wars, this debate is most prevalent in the United States.

While the controversy has a long history, today it is mainly over what constitutes good science, with the politics of creationism primarily focusing on the teaching of creation and evolution in public education.

The debate also focuses on issues such as the definition of science (and of what constitutes scientific research and evidence), science education (and whether the teaching of the scientific consensus view should be 'balanced' by also teaching fringe theories), free speech, separation of Church and State, and theology (particularly how different Christians and Christian denominations interpret the Book of Genesis).

Within the scientific community and academia the level of support for evolution is essentially universal, while support for biblically-literal accounts or other creationist alternatives is very small among scientists, and virtually nonexistent among those in the relevant fields.

The debate is sometimes portrayed as being between science and religion. However, as the National Academy of Sciences states:

Today, many religious denominations accept that biological evolution has produced the diversity of living things over billions of years of Earth’s history. Many have issued statements observing that evolution and the tenets of their faiths are compatible.

Scientists and theologians have written eloquently about their awe and wonder at the history of the universe and of life on this planet, explaining that they see no conflict between their faith in God and the evidence for evolution.

Religious denominations that do not accept the occurrence of evolution tend to be those that believe in strictly literal interpretations of religious texts.

—National Academy of Sciences, Science, Evolution, and Creationism

Who Created the Universe?

Many religions believe that God revealed the universe, or the Big Bang had some previous releases of matter.

Gods creation (The Universe) is unto a picture, it has similarities and patterns. It is as a picture painted by an artist.

One looks upon paintings of different artists and can see these similarities and patterns, which tells the trained eye, it was painted by the same artist.

In this case of the universe, God is the artist.

Is there an intelligence behind the origin of the Universe? Bestsellers by Christopher Hitchins, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have denounced the evils of religion and proclaimed that science has shown that there is no God.

Their angry accusations are partially correct. Religions have been used to justify crimes against humanity: witness the Inquisition of
centuries past or the sectarian slaughter in the Mideast today.

But the human misuse of religions and the existence of God are
very different matters. A remarkable discovery has emerged in astrophysics: that key properties of the Universe have just the right values to make life possible.

Most scientists prefer to explain away this uniqueness, insisting that a huge, perhaps infinite, number of unseen universes must therefore exist, each randomly different from the other. That way ours only appears special because we could not exist in any of the other hypothetical universes.

Charles Darwin
Some propose the alternative that the special properties of our universe reflect an underlying intelligence, one that is consistent with the Big Bang and Darwinian evolution. Both views are equally logical and beyond proof.

However exceptional human experiences and accounts of mystics throughout the ages do suggest that we live in a purposeful universe. In The God Theory and The Purpose-Guided Universe: Believing In Einstein, Darwin, and God some speculate on what that purpose might be… what that purpose means for our lives.

Living organisms have entered into a battle for survival for hundreds of millions of years and the pressure to survive has resulted in ever changing shapes.

From the hammerhead shark to the platypus, new and sometimes extreme shapes can mean survival for certain species. But, as nature has proven, sometimes the most basic shapes on earth have the staying power of survival.

Evidence suggests that life on Earth has existed for about 3.7 billion years. All known life forms share fundamental molecular mechanisms, and based on these observations, theories on the origin of life attempt to find a mechanism explaining the formation of a primordial single cell organism from which all life originates.

There are many different hypotheses regarding the path that might have been taken from simple organic molecules via pre-cellular life to protocells and metabolism. Many models fall into the "genes-first" category or the "metabolism-first" category, but a recent trend is the emergence of hybrid models that combine both categories.

There is no scientific consensus as to how life originated and all proposed theories are highly speculative. However, most currently accepted scientific models build in one way or another on the following hypotheses:

  • The Miller-Urey experiment, and the work of Sidney Fox, suggest that conditions on the primitive Earth may have favored chemical reactions that synthesized some amino acids and other organic compounds from inorganic precursors.
  • Phospholipids spontaneously form lipid bilayers, the basic structure of a cell membrane.

Evolution: What About God

The diversity of life on Earth today is a result of the dynamic interplay between genetic opportunity, metabolic capability, environmental challenges, and symbiosis.

For most of its existence, Earth's habitable environment has been dominated by microorganisms and subjected to their metabolism and evolution.

As a consequence of such microbial activities on a geologic time scale, the physical-chemical environment on Earth has been changing, thereby determining the path of evolution of subsequent life.

For example, the release of molecular oxygen by cyanobacteria as a by-product of photosynthesis induced fundamental, global changes in the Earth's environment.

The altered environment, in turn, posed novel evolutionary challenges to the organisms present, which ultimately resulted in the formation of our planet's major animal and plant species. Therefore this "co-evolution" between organisms and their environment is apparently an inherent feature of living systems.

Human evolution, or anthropogeny, is the origin and evolution of Homo sapiens as a distinct species from other hominids, great apes and placental mammals. The study of human evolution uses many scientific disciplines, including physical anthropology, primatology, archaeology, linguistics and genetics.

The term "human" in the context of human evolution refers to the genus Homo, but studies of human evolution usually include other hominids, such as the Australopithecines, from which the genus Homo had diverged by about 2.3 to 2.4 million years ago in Africa.

Scientists have estimated that humans branched off from their common ancestor with chimpanzees about 5–7 million years ago.

Several species and subspecies of Homo evolved and are now extinct. These include Homo erectus, which inhabited Asia, and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, which inhabited Europe.

Archaic Homo sapiens evolved between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago. The dominant view among scientists concerning the origin of anatomically modern humans is the "Out of Africa" or recent African origin hypothesis, which argues that Homo sapiens arose in Africa and migrated out of the continent around 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, replacing populations of Homo erectus in Asia and Homo neanderthalensis in Europe.

Scientists supporting the alternative multiregional hypothesis argue that Homo sapiens evolved as geographically separate but interbreeding populations stemming from a worldwide migration of Homo erectus out of Africa nearly 2.5 million years ago.

This theory has been contradicted by recent evidence, although it has been suggested that non Homo sapiens Neanderthal genomes may have contributed about 4% of non-African heredity, and the recently discovered Denisova hominin may have contributed 6% of the genome of Melanesians.

Evolution (also known as biological, genetic or organic evolution) is the change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations. This change results from interactions between processes which introduce variation into a population, and other processes which remove it.

As a result, variants with particular traits become more, or less, common.

A trait is a particular characteristic, anatomical, biochemical or behavioural, that is the result of gene–environment interaction. The main source of variation is mutation, which introduces genetic changes.

These changes are heritable (can be passed on through reproduction), and may give rise to alternative traits in organisms. Another source of variation is genetic recombination which shuffles the genes into new combination's which can result in organisms exhibiting different traits.

Under certain circumstances, variation can also be increased by the transfer of genes between species, and by the extremely rare, but significant, wholesale incorporation of genomes through endosymbiosis. Two main processes cause variants to become more common or rare in a population.

One is natural selection, through which traits that aid survival and reproduction become more common, while traits that hinder survival and reproduction become more rare.

Natural selection occurs because only a small proportion of individuals in each generation will survive and reproduce, since resources are limited and organisms produce many more offspring than their environment can support.

Over many generations, heritable variation in traits is filtered by natural selection and the beneficial changes are successively retained through differential survival and reproduction.

This iterative process adjusts traits so they become better suited to an organism's environment: these adjustments are called adaptations.

However, not all change is adaptive. Another cause of evolution is genetic drift, which leads to random changes in how common traits are in a population.

Genetic drift is most important when traits do not strongly influence survival, particularly so in small populations where chance plays a disproportionate role in the frequency of traits passed on to the next generation.

God, The Universe and Everything Else

Stephen Hawking, Arthur C. Clarke and Carl Sagan (via satellite) discuss the Big Bang theory, God, our existence as well as the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

God, the Universe & Everything Else is an educational colloquium, attempting to uncover a grand unified theory of the laws that govern the universe.

This enlightening program delves deep into topics such as the Big Bang Theory, the expansion of the universe, black holes, extraterrestrial life and the origins of creativity.

Stephen Hawking is a British theoretical physicist who has dedicated much of his life to probing the laws of time and space described by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

Carl Sagan was an American astronomer who played a major role in the development of the American space program, as well as his contributions to planetary science.

Arthur C. Clarke is a British author, most famous for the science fiction classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and his optimistic vision for mankind exploring the galaxy. Hosted by Magnus Magnusson.

The Privileged Planet, Earth's Origin,
Accident or Design

A Scientific Documentary on the Planet Earth, The Origin and Specific Placement. For centuries scientists and philosophers have marveled at an eerie coincidence.

Mathematics, a creation of human reason, can predict the nature of the universe, a fact physicist Eugene Wigner referred to as the 'unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the physical sciences.'

In the last three decades astronomers and cosmologists have noticed another, seemingly unrelated, mystery.

Contrary to all expectations, the laws of physics seem precisely 'fine-tuned' for the existence of complex life.

Could these two wonders actually be isolated pieces of a wider pattern? Both are prerequisites for science, yet what about the process of scientific discovery itself? What are its necessary conditions? Why is it even possible?

Read any book on the history of science, and you'll learn about magnificent tales of human ingenuity, persistence, and dumb luck. But that's only part of the story, and not even the most important part. Our location is much more critical to science than it is to real estate. For some reason our Earthly location is extraordinarily well suited to allow us to peer into the heavens and discover its secrets.

Elsewhere, you might learn that Earth and its local environment provide a delicate, and probably exceedingly rare, cradle for complex life. But there's another, even more startling, fact, described in The Privileged Planet: those same rare conditions that produce a habitable planet-that allow for the existence of complex observers like ourselves-also provide the best overall place for observing.

What does this mean? At the least, it turns our view of the universe inside out. The universe is not pointless, 'Earth is merely a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark,' - Carl Sagan, and human existence 'just a more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents' - Steven Weinberg. On the contrary, the evidence we can uncover from our Earthly home points to a universe that is designed for life, and designed for discovery.

Genetic drift is important in the neutral theory of molecular evolution, and plays a role in the molecular clocks that are used in phylogenetic studies. A key process in evolution is speciation, in which a single ancestral species splits and diversifies into multiple new species, and there are several modes through which this occurs.

Ultimately, all living (and extinct) species are descended from a common ancestor via a long series of speciation events. These events stretch back in a diverse "tree of life" that has grown over the 3.5 billion years in which life has existed on Earth.

This is visible in anatomical, genetic and other similarities between groups of organisms, geographical distribution of related species, the fossil record and the recorded genetic changes in living organisms over many generations.