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Eight Phenomena That Recur Often in Cosmological, Chemical and Biological Evolution

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Eight Phenomena Which Recur Often in Cosmological, Chemical, and Biological Evolution That Suggest a Creator


This is still a work in progress.  The presentation has been given a number of times, the more significant ones are indicated in slide 15.


The thesis underlying these slides is, "God created a universe that would unfold through cosmological, chemical, and biological evolution to produce in more than one place and more than one time, minds that would ponder its purpose and origin.  It might even be that these minds would, in every place and every time, be in a 'hominoid' body."  Another way of putting it, "The universe has an underlying mechanism that allows intent to be carried out." 08 12 05 in a conversation with  Donna Ryan.


This thesis calls attention to four features God endowed to the universe at the point of its creation (the Big Bang): the finely-tuned values of fundamental forces, masses, and constants and the ways these values cause these three to interact (e.g., F = ma, where F is Force, m is mass, and a is a constant) to produce eight phenomena that recur again and again during cosmological, chemical, and biological evolution. 


Another way of expressing this thesis is:

There were many specific and intricate requirements that had to have been met for our evolution to have happened.  At the moment of the Big Bang, the universe was endowed with certain fundamental forces, masses, and constants, whose interactions and their consequences were such that again and again they resulted in eight phenomena that recurred during the cosmological, chemical, and biological evolution that led to us.  As a result, these requirements were met unavoidably and our evolution was inevitable.  This would seem to suggest that there is a Creator behind our evolution.


This thesis has been developing since I was 15 or so.  But it wasn't until the late 90's and the first decade of the 21st century that I came to fully comprehend these four features.  Then, in 2014, I suddenly saw in Colossians 1:16 that God had already proclaimed that He was responsible for these features which I had been attributing to Him in faith backed by scientific evidence, "For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him." (NIV).  Thrones are made of matter (mass).  Powers are a synonym for force.  Constants rule.  Authorities show how these three will interact--the eight phenomena!


Read on for the intriguing details.


Eight Phenomena  Evolution is not the Enemy-13 11 14_slides & notes.pptx


Notes to the slides-use these to follow along with the slides.


Slide 1

Give the 12 fundamental principles of Christianity-don’t take too much time to discuss them, but point out that if we agree on these 12, these 12 seal our current and eternal relationship to the loving Lord God, Creator of the universe!  All else pales in comparison.  You don’t have to agree with me on How God created the universe, but be aware, there is no conflict between faith and science.


Slide 2

Black slide


Slides 3-5

Original questions and questions spawned by the original questions if you like to ponder


Slide 6

There is a sea change in the sciences.  It began in the late 70s among physicists.  It is trickling down through chemists to biologists where it is starting to be felt now.  Examples of this sea change, include serious investigations into the question, "What is role of faith in making us human?" (Hall of Human Origins, and its Broader Social Impacts Committee that is investigating that and AAAS’ Faith and Science Initiative which has evolved into Dialog on Science, Ethics, and Religion ); leading atheists changing their mind, (Antony Flew, 2007, There is no a God), and 1700+ scientists from academia who believe the evidence that God created the universe is compelling.  This wave is an exciting one for Christians, and you need to be aware of it, so you can ride it to a new land!


Slide 7

Most of the scientific community now generally agrees: The universe had a beginning 13.7 (now, as a result of the refined measurements of the Planck satellite, 13.8) billion years ago and it is fine-tuned to ensure the emergence of life. This fine-tuning involves about 20 probably independent, fundamental constants, forces and masses. 

Currently, there are about eight attempts to explain the simultaneous occurrence of these, 20 fine-tuned properties.  (Lee Smolin, 1997, The Life of the Cosmos, and Paul Davies, 2008, The Goldilocks Enigma.)  Most of them can be grouped into three possibilities, all of which involve the concept of infinity, because only infinity can provide sufficient conditions for such an impossible situation to occur.


Freeman Dyson is a world-renowned, award winning physicist and mathematician, currently Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study  Aki Roberge is a research astrophysicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center. 


Slide 8


Science begins the explanation with two possibilities, there are an infinity of universes (giving us our first infinity) or there is one.


Slide 9

These two possibilities lead to three further possibilities:

   Each universe in the infinity of universes is finite.

   The one universe is infinite (giving our second infinity), or

   the one universe is finite.


Slide 10

In each case, we are in the one, the part, or obviously, the one, which . . .


Slide 11

Produced us, uniquely or in the latter cases, could also have produced us as one of several forms of intelligence or we are the one form of intelligence but we (or "hominoids" very like us) have also evolved elsewhere in the universe.

Why would these latter two cases even be likely considering the fact that so far we are the only ones we know of?  Before we answer that, let’s step back and look at where we are relative to the original questions-how did we get here?


Slide 12

If we look at the conditions that produced us, as we proceed from left to right, the argument that luck is the reason becomes less compelling.


Slide 13

As we proceed to the right, a Creator becomes the more logical explanation. This is where the third infinity comes in:  We are created by an infinitely wise mind, who fine-tuned the universe to produce life, intelligence and possibly human kind as the end product of His creation.


While the argument that we were created becomes more compelling.  Notice that in neither the explanation calling on luck or the one calling on a Creator, does the other completely disappear.  Now, back to the other issue, why would we even consider the two rightmost possibilities? . . .


Slide 14

This is the thesis of the presentation that provides clues to why we should consider the two rightmost possibilities in the prior slide.  Is it possible that human beings, or something like them, were inevitable?


It potentially makes us both insignificant (if there are others) and significant (if they are similar to us).  This is a modern, scientific, rendering of the ancient premise that humankind was special in God's sight.


Slide 15

Title page. 


Slide 16

I will break the presentation into these four parts.


Slide 17

The algorithm starts with two observations:

1) that the universe has produced intelligent life (us) via the process of cosmological evolution leading to and overlapping with chemical evolution, which in turn led to and overlapped with biological evolution.

2) In order for this to have occurred, a large number of requisite conditions had to have been satisfied/met. 



The thesis that derives from these observations is that the fundamental constants, forces, and masses established at the Big Bang interacted to produce solutions that satisfied/met these requisite conditions.


These solutions are repeatedly characterized by eight phenomena which separately and collectively imply that the universe was designed to produce intelligent, "hominoid," life here and elsewhere. This thesis will be illustrated with specific examples.


Slide 18

The algorithm starts with the fundamental constants, forces, and masses listed here, and others that were established at the instant of the Big Bang.  It is now clear that these had to be precisely tuned for life to emerge and this concept is referred to as the “anthropic principle,” in its broadest, extended sense, which I am sure most of you know.   I will discuss the CC shortly.  The four forces govern reactions between visible matter in the universe and the three masses are the dominant players in this matter. (Note, all this excludes dark matter and dark energy, a fifth form of mass and a form of mass-energy, respectively, which we are just beginning to understand-suffice it to say, they, too, appear to follow the algorithm and phenomena.)  (One explanation for the form of dark energy is that it is equivalent to the cosmological constant [discussed below], a form of energy-density filling space homogeneously-see Dark Energy under Wikipedia.)


Slide 19

The phenomena are consequences of the necessary accuracy and precision required of these numerous fundamental constants, forces, and masses for a universe (this universe in particular) to support the evolution of not only life, but intelligent life and maybe even "hominoid" life.  The phenomena are (I will give you a moment to read them-then I will try to make sense of them for you).


Slide 20

It is important to clarify these eight phenomena.  To do this as succinctly as possible, letters, numbers and symbols will be used.  They should be understood to be general representations of actual conditions that have relationships to one another somewhat in the same ways letters of our alphabet or numbers in a series are related to one another.  We all understand “A” comes before “B”, there is a difference between “B” and “b’”, but these two are also more alike than “B” and “1” are alike, and so on:


Slide 21

It must be acknowledged that the phenomenon of intricate simplicity may be a result of mankind’s desire to simplify and categorize, but one can speculate why that desire is an aspect of intelligence….  In other words, the details are intricate, but there is always an elegant and simple way to represent the details.


Slide 22

I will briefly give examples of the thesis as it applies to the creation of the universe (the Big Bang) and then as it applies to four increasing levels of complexity: the atom, the molecule, the cell and the organism.  There are others that could have been presented and others yet to be identified.


Slide 23

One of the critical constants is the “cosmological constant.”  It is what lies behind the rate of expansion of the universe.  Without going into the details, one aspect of this is that if it were larger by 1 unit at the 100th decimal place, the universe would have expanded too fast and there would be little in it besides scattered hydrogen, helium and a few lithium atoms.  If it were smaller by 1 unit at the 100th decimal place, the universe would not expand fast enough to escape the force of gravity and there would be little in it besides a dense collection of hydrogen, helium and a few lithium atoms and it would fall back on itself in a “Big Crunch” before life could evolve.


Slide 24

Thus, the CC is one of the attributes that meet the requisite singularity for a universe that has just the right mix of elements and is around long enough for these elements to evolve into intelligent life, and in particular, us.  The CC must act at a precise peak and the conditions around this peak do serve as compelling detractors


Slide 25

At the level of the atom, carbon provides a good example of the phenomena.  Carbon forms the backbone of the myriad of chemical compounds essential to life*.  The activation energies for the formation of carbon by fusion in first generation stars is a sharply peaked function:  Two He collide to form a 8Be, which has a very short half life.   Although life is not easy to define, perhaps it could be loosely described as a myriad of chemical reactions capable of self-replication.


Slide 26

If another He impacts it before it decays back to two He’s (something very likely to happen in the incredibly dense interior of a first generation star), an unstable form of C will form.


Slide 27

This unstable carbon will give off a photon, loose sufficient energy, and fall into a stable carbon state.


Slide 28

If the resonance of this reaction were any lower, the reaction could reverse from the “stable” carbon and the universe would be without carbon or be without much carbon.


Slide 29

If the resonance of this reaction were any higher, the unstable carbon would not form, or if it did, it would quickly decay back into He and Be before it could give off the photon and the universe would be without carbon.


Slide 30

Carbon is the attribute which meets the requisite singularity for an element capable of making the myriad of compounds essential for life processes. It acts like an optimal solution  because the resulting four electrons in the outer orbit provide the geometric maximum number of bonds in 3-D space while they are close enough to the nucleus that they form them with sufficient strength that they become covalent bonds which allow catanation, the major reason carbon can form so many compounds. If the resonance of this reaction forming carbon in stars were not at a precise peak, carbon would not form in sufficient abundance. More specifically, if this resonance were either higher or lower, carbon would not form, thus its formation has compelling detractors around it.


Because of these properties, carbon has been produced in an ample sample.  The other elements with a close atomic number or four orbital electrons (Si) are also produced in an ample sample by similar mechanisms or mechanisms dependent upon the life-history of stars.  Once produced in sufficient abundance, C has unique properties that ensure it and not the other elements will exist as the structural backbone of the large number and variety of different compounds essential for life.  Thus it will be favored for this role with statistical certainty. Further, complex C compounds cannot form until C is formed, thus revealing an essential sequencing.


Slide 31

At the level of the molecule, water provides a good example of the phenomena.

Because of the anthropic principle, water has a particular abundance and structure and this structure causes it to relate in a particular way with itself and other compounds such that it contains or forms the four major chemical bonds essential to life: covalent, electrovalent, hydrogen, & Van Der Waal’s forces.  Thus, of all possible compounds, only one, water, has the 50 or so unique properties necessary for it to act as the single most important compound to life.  These properties are the result of four interdependent aspects of the way water behaves.

The Polarity of Water

Water and the Hydrogen Bond

Water and Ionization

Water and Temperature


Slide 32

Without going into the details, the anthropic conditions and these resulting four properties ensure that water:

         is possibly the most abundant di-elemental, triatomic molecule in the universe.

         is a great solvent and transporting agent for charged particles and polarized compounds.

         has great heat storage capacity (specific heat) and gives off considerable energy when it freezes (heat of fusion) and requires considerable energy to make it boil (heat of vaporization) such that it works to stabilize ambient temperatures.

         is highly incompressible so that it will produce turgor pressure.

         has high cohesive forces so that it will have high surface tension and high adhesive forces so that it will provide capillary action.

         has a configuration in the liquid and solid states that makes ice float on water thus permitting life to exist in the water beneath the ice.


Slide 33

Water’s unique properties enable it to fulfill an important requisite singularity at the molecular level. The way its two atoms, hydrogen and oxygen, were formed and interact make it an optimal solution (pun noted but ignored). Since oxygen is formed in stars by the fusion of 4He with 12C, The resonance for the formation of oxygen must be precisely so, otherwise, its formation would use up all the carbon, thus like carbon, it’s formation occurs at a precise peak. The other simple liquids have properties that make them unsuitable for this requisite singularity or have them at temperatures that are unsuited for life, thus they act as compelling detractors around water.  H is by far the most abundant element in the universe since it was the first one to emerge from the Big Bang.  It made up the bulk of the first generation stars referred to earlier.  It is the tenth most abundant element in the earth’s crust.  Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe and the most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Thus hydrogen and oxygen are guaranteed to occur in an ample sample and the formation of water must occur and once it does, it is clearly the only simple compound with this suite of characteristics.  The form that life assumes must fit with these characteristics (narrowing options).  Water, once it is formed, must be gathered together on a protoplanet before life can evolve—essential sequencing and its molecular weight makes sure it will remain in the atmosphere of an Earth-sized planet.  Water’s ability to illustrate all of the four common chemical bonds demonstrates intricate simplicity.


Slide 34

At the level of the cell, the eukaryotic cell provides a good example of the phenomena.

Almost all eukaryotic cells have three fundamental metabolic inputs: nutrients, water, and oxygen (even plants follow this pathway at night); and four fundamental metabolic outputs: water, waste metabolites, carbon dioxide and heat.  The process of cellular respiration captures approximately 18 times the energy as similar processes in prokaryotic cells.


The implications this figure has for the problems that must be solved by the multicellular chemoheterotrophs that would evolve from it are clear.  Since most of the cells in a multicellular organism would be far removed from the surface where these elements and compounds were readily available (especially in the Precambrian oceans, where this process occurred), this development meant that ultimately, the complex organisms that evolved from this primitive chemotroph cell had to have: 1) a “digestive system” to get water and the nutrients into the body and break the latter down to small enough molecules to move them about.  2) A “respiratory system” to get the oxygen into the body (and simultaneously get the carbon dioxide out).  3) a “urinary system” to eliminate the excess water and metabolic wastes.  And 4) a “circulatory system” to move the water, small nutrient molecules and oxygen from where they entered the body to where they were needed and to move the carbon dioxide, metabolic wastes and waste heat from where they were produced in the body to where they could be eliminated from the body.  

Finally, as the process increased in complexity with more advanced multicellular organisms, there would have to be a “nervous system” and an “endocrine system” to orchestrate all the above.


Slide 35

Cellular metabolism demonstrates a requisite condition at the level of the cell.  The evolution of this set of reactions was necessary to produce the amount of ATP needed for the higher energy demands of larger cells. It certainly appears to be an optimal solution because it is found in almost all eukaryotic cells today in spite of other metabolic pathways being available through anaerobic and other metabolic schemes. The nature of the precise peak here is less clear, perhaps some in the audience may have an idea. This increased efficiency is explained by the endosymbiotic theory proposed by Lynn Marguilis and subsequently supported by several lines of evidence.  It is proposed that other pathways, if they existed, would either be too wasteful or produce too little energy.  If so, they would act as compelling detractors.  In any event, the evolution of this heterochemotroph cell narrowed the options for the future evolution of complexity. Thus this step had to evolve before multicellular life with complex structures could evolve—essential sequencing.  Finally this figure illustrates intricate simplicity by showing that the tens of thousands of metabolic steps in a cell can be summarized in a simplified diagram.


Slide 36

At the level of the organism, the relationship between the senses and the brain provides a good example of the phenomena.

We attribute special importance to the brain and therefore assume that its location is what drives much of our design, but let’s look at this more closely.

Assuming an organism moves through the water column, the fluid dynamics of water (specifically its Reynolds number, which in turn is ultimately a result of the conditions in the anthropic principle) favors an organism with a fusiform body.  This confers a long axis to the body with a preferred direction of movement in the direction of this axis. This will establish a “front” of the animal.


Slide 37

As the animal moves through the environment, the most useful information to survival will be encountered at the front.  It is more important to know what’s ahead (coming up) than what’s left behind.


Slide 38

Information important to survival will be coming through three major sources:

  photons, which will be intercepted by photoreceptors (sight)

  chemicals, which will be intercepted by chemoreceptors (smell and taste), and

  pressure-forces, which will be intercepted by mechanoreceptors (vibration and pressure)

The only other type of receptor is temperature (kinetic energy), which is intercepted by thermoreceptors, but these are less likely to follow this pattern, so they are not included here.

Because the most useful information to survival is coming from the front, natural selection will favor the solution that has these receptors occur in the front of the organism.


Slide 39

In order to ensure the center for receiving-processing-responding to the vital information coming from these receptors is able to do so as quickly as possible, it will be necessary for it to be as close to them as possible.  Hence the brain is in the front of the body, not because it is of paramount importance (even though it is), but because it makes the most sense from design considerations for it to be there.


Slide 40

The evolution of the head with the special senses is a requisite condition. Thus having the special senses at the front of the body, and the brain positioned close by is an optimal solution.  Conditions established at the instant of the Big Bang set up the properties of water, etc., that ensured this requisite condition would be found. The brain, being the central processing center for environmental information, is the logical candidate to become the center in which further processing of information can be selected for and thus, the center for the further evolution of intelligence.  It becomes necessary for essential sequencing.  Furthermore, once this plan occurs, it becomes difficult if not impossible for evolution to break free from it to place the brain elsewhere, thus narrowing the options of future vertebrate plans.


Slide 41

Although you think many of us here may not live to see this tested, before too long, we will have direct tests of this on Mars and even later on Jupiter’s Galilean moons and Saturn’s Titan and Enceladus.  By 2020 or so, we will  have space telescopes (the James Space Webb Telescope) powerful enough to see extrasolar, Earth-like planets and spectroscopically examine the composition of their atmospheres.

Ward, Peter D. and Donald Brownlee. 2003. Rare earth, why complex life is uncommon in the universe.


Slide 42

Carter,  Brandon, 1983, Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., A 310, 347-363.

Watson, Andrew, 2008, Astrobiology, 8(1): 175-185.


Slide 43

Leslie, John, 1989, Universes.

Again, let me state, this is the third infinity alluded to earlier.  Which one is it?

I'm seeing a universe created by an infinite mind: the God of the Bible. YOU DECIDE!


Slide 44

The  physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers at Norwich University, Oxford Roundtable, and the American Scientific Affiliation with whom I have had useful discussions.  Any errors in these slides are, nonetheless, fully mine.  (...And I am eager to know what they are.)


No slide:

With the exception of slide 43, I have assiduously avoided using Scripture in the above presentation.  I am aware that Scripture would carry no weight for the unbeliever, who represents half of the intended audience.  However, for the sake of the believer, I will now quote one passage in support of my thesis.  The relevance of this passage was made clear to me on December 4th, 2013. 


Shortly after I became a follower of Christ, I was blessed by the Holy Spirit with a deep love of His Word.  As a result, I have made it a habit to read through the Bible every year.  Hence I had read this passage more than 30 times and not seen its significance until that morning.  As I read, I was not thinking about my thesis, rather, I was, as usual, simply reading with the hope that the Holy Spirit would draw my attention to anything He wanted me to see.  Suddenly, I immediately saw its relevance to my thesis.  Why I had not done so before, only God knows.  The passage is Col 1: 15-16, "He [Jesus, v 14] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or powers, or rulers, or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." [NIV]


Recall that my thesis is that approximately 20, independent, fundamental forces, masses, and constants were finely tuned by the Creator at the moment of Creation such that as they interacted during cosmological, chemical, and biological evolution, hominoid intelligence would appear, perhaps again and again at various times and places in the universe.  This process would be evidenced by the recurrence of eight phenomena that determined the steps at each level of increasing complexity.


Let's look at Col 1:15-16 in that light:  "thrones" are material things, the masses;  "powers," are capable of moving things, the forces; "rulers" are what dictate the interactions between material things and forces; the constants, and "authorities" are the ones who know how these three interact to produce results, the "eight phenomena." 


"He [Jesus, v 14] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether masses, or forces, or constants, or eight phenomena; all things were created by him and for him."


Is this God speaking through Paul across nearly 2000 years of accumulated knowledge to you and me, or just me, subconsciously finding connections where there are none.  You decide. 



An earlier version:

Evolution is not the Enemy_110313_slides only for mentiscopia.pptx


Now that you've seen the thesis, think about it.   How would we feel confronting the infinite Intellect, Power, and Perfection capable of pulling off this incredibly implausible feat called the universe?  Nothing more than sheer stupidity, absolute insignificance, convicting guilt--from such Supremacy we would flee in abject terror1.


Which is why, without Jesus, the Man-God conveyor of wisdom, strength, and righteousness, we would tremble in hell for eternity, being convinced by our brief, terrifying encounter with the Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe that even hell was not far enough removed from such HOLINESS!


1C.S. Lewis refers to this in Book 1 of Mere Christianity, Chapter 5, “We have Cause to be Uneasy.” p.31.


Synonyms for and Thoughts on the Eight Phenomena


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