We know there are about 500 or so conserved components that life shares. From these core components all life can be built.
Yes. Everything is an increase in entropy, considered universe-wide – that is what the SLoT says. Locally is it a decrease in entropy. Rather than hydrogen being scattered over a volume of space, it is concentrated in the star, leaving the surrounding volume relatively short of hydrogen. That uneven distribution is a local decrease in entropy.
The Big Bang did not expand “into” anything. Space-time was one of the things that formed at the bang. There is neither space not time external to the Big Bang. The space that formed then was extremely small, quantum sized. It is now a lot larger. See Inflation for more details.
Just prior to “detonation” there were no chemicals. There may have been some energy, but probably not much; some small quantity as allowed under Heisenberg Uncertainty. The total energy of the universe is a lot smaller than you probably think it is:
There are something like ten million million million million million million million million million million million million million million (1 with eighty zeroes after it) particles in the region of the universe that we can observe. Where did they all come from? The answer is that, in quantum theory, particles can be created out of energy in the form of particle/antiparticle pairs. But that just raises the question of where the energy came from. The answer is that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero. The matter in the universe is made out of positive energy. However, the matter is all attracting itself by gravity. Two pieces of matter that are close to each other have less energy than the same two pieces a long way apart, because you have to expend energy to separate them against the gravitational force that is pulling them together. Thus, in a sense, the gravitational field has negative energy. In the case of a universe that is approximately uniform in space, one can show that this negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero.
– Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time
Chemicals did not appear until about twenty minutes later, when it was cool enough for protons and electrons to combine to make hydrogen, some helium and traces of lithium. Heavier elements are made in stars, which only happened after stars formed.
I don’t see the real conflict between Scholastic Metaphysics and the science of evolutionary biology. You’d be right if you were dealing with someone trying to use the empirical results and the abstracted theories, to postulate that God’s providence doesn’t affect the natural.
I do consider God’s providence as applying even to the smallest forces.
That being said, from our limited perspective, likely even from the perspective of the highest angels, a lot of the causality in the natural world would appear to be random. Not in the proper sense of the term, of having no cause, which is impossible. But in the scientific sense, where the outcome is unpredictable.
Unpredictable is a valid criticism of the science only approach. Not that I’m asking scientists to work outside the scientific method. Randomness cannot produce constantly upgrading organisms on its own.
I still think this sort of view of natural life, is a bit beneath what it actually is. Edward Feser, who has done a lot to repopularize scholastic metaphysics, has a critique of evangelical design arguments, more specifically attacking their mechanistic approach to life.
Well worth a read.
I don’t think anyone is saying its being done “on its own”, but rather that random mutations are happening to already existing species. I don’t see a coherent argument against the possibility of increases in complexity. Quite the contrary, there are many ways for genes to mutate that increase the informational content of DNA and that can lead to novel functionality.
What are they? Honestly, the supposed upgrading of the human brain for one. This gain of information, like the blind watchmaker making a watch, must affect the right location in a specific way. Example: I add a random part to a car engine. The part exists but it possesses no knowledge.
There are many, but mutations present an interesting problem in as much as when you have one you risk deleting information. Say you have a bacteria that has an enzyme that can digest sugar of a particular sort. It is then introduced to a new environment with far more sugar of a different type.
Mutations to the gene that when expressed created this particular enzyme, will almost always result in dead lines. So unfortunately for the bacteria this area becomes highly conserved.
But there exists a special kind of genetic mutation that occurs at random (taken here in the sense that we can’t predict when it will occur), which has the peculilar effect of expressing of copying the gene.
Now there are two, and at least one of them can then mutate more freely while being expressed, producing varrying versions of that enzyme.
Richard Lenski created this experiment, where a bacteria suddenly developed a novel enzyme, after having had a duplication of a particular gene. He exposed E. Coli bacteria to a new medium of citrini, which they could digest, but only very poorly. Then after 31500 generations, one descendant strain suddenly developed the ability to digest it.
After analysis they found that a potentiating mutation that duplicated the Cit+ gene (which created an enzyme that can digest citrine), had been duplicated, after which the new Cit+* gene had undergone a single point mutation which had altered in a way that made it many times better at digesting citrine.
Because the bacteria were competing for resources, soon the new strain came to dominate entirely.
All of this has been thoroughly documented, including samples of the entire line. And similar mutations were observed at other times.
As for using the word “upgrade” I find that to be unhelpful. Scientists don’t use that terminology, and if you’re going to criticise the theory of evolution, I’d suggest first setting the goal of understanding what they’re talking about and adopting their terminology.
This is not convincing. Bacteria can exchange bits of genetic information with different species of bacteria. This recombination continues until a few live or they all die. The same with viruses who can combine different strains. These are built-in abilities.
Not convincing in what way?
And these were cultured bacteria, isolated to otherwise sterile petrii dishes in a lab. And its not like he’s simply postulating that this happened. He has 31500 spare samples to back up his claims. Each step has been well documented.
The mutation happened, and it introduced novel functionality. There isn’t much to discuss about it, except what significance this has.
This is a recombination effect.
I’m not sure I understand you. Are you talking about the E. Coli experiment, or something else now?
Richard Lenski’s results can not in any way be explained by a recombination effect. We have the samples, and there’s only E. Coli of that type there. And until that particular generation none of them had the ability to digest citrine in an aerobic environment.
If even a single one of them had it at the start of the experiment, then that one would have dominated the petrii dish by generation 1.
But it took 31500 successive generations until they hit the one where an E. Coli could digest citrine in an aerobic environment, and they’ve sequenced its DNA, and those of its ancestors and found the likely course of mutations that made it capable of that.
This is not a postulation. This is a completed, and well documented experiment. You can read about it and the followups.
I have. It has been criticized by others.
You made a specific claim about it being a bacterial recombination, and I’ve been asking you what you meant with that.
You’re claiming that the E. Coli in Richard Lenski’s experiment had a gene transferred to them from another foreign bacteria?