More Than a Theory
Hugh RossThis book lays out Ross's Testable Model for Creation, or The RTB Model. The fact that he is structuring it to lay out the model and test it against other models means that the book doesn't flow as smoothly as some of his earlier books. But it is impressive that he stretches out to include all modern information and presents it clearly and without any obvious games being played with it. That is refreshing, certainly in contrast to some of the young earth literature which is so obviously gerrymandering everything to fit with their preconceived framework - the basic lack of intellectual integrity in the process is disturbing. So I give this book very high marks for integrity, and I think that is what we must have.
p13 "This book is about purpose ..." "The most obvious purpose now recognized by the majority of astronomers for the origin, characteristics, and history of the universe is to provide a suitable home for physical life - humanity in particular."
Ch 1: Is it Science?
p 17 "The Bible explicitly declares that the physical world is not an illusion and that nature's record reliably reveals truth (see for example Numbers 23:19, Psalm 12:6, 19:1-4,7-8;Psalm 119:160; Romans 1:18-20; Hebrews 6:18). Scientific evidence for an ancient universe and Earth cannot be swept under the rug."
p 17 "no model (or portion thereof) should be insulated from testing." "Christians and non-Christians alike rejected both belief in a flat Earth and the doctrine of an Earth-centered solar system. Pursuers of truth have nothing to fear in a discriminating search for reality."
p 18 Eugenie Scott's definition of science "an attempt to explain the natural world in terms of natural processes, not supernatural ones."
p 18 Lawrence Kraus, Case Western Reserve "Science assumes that natural processes have natural causes."
p 18 AAAS "Science is a process of seeking natural explanations for natural phenomena."
p 19 "They assume a priori that an atheistic perspective is the only possible basis for doing scientific research and education."
p 19 "However, many scientists realize that Scott's definition guts much, if not most , of the scientific endeavor. It eliminates historical and theoretical science disciplines including theoretical physics, astronomy, paleontology, geophysics, theoretical chemistry, and physical anthropology, as well as mathematics."
Ch.2: Multiple Choice?
p 26 Council of Europe resolution of Oct 4, 2007 "We are witnessing a growth of modes of thought which challenge established knowledge about nature, evolution, our origins and our place in the universe ... The 'intelligent design' idea, which is the latest, more refined version of creationism, does not deny a certain degree of evolution. However, intelligent design, presented in a more subtle way, seeks to portray its approach as scientific, and therein lies the danger."
p 26 Quotes others: Henry Morris, Ben Stein, AIG, and Richard Dawkins. "Defense of turf" statement.
p 27 List of participants
Ch 3: Different Strategies
p 47 List of scriptures to defend idea that scripture and nature are both reliable.
Ch.4: An Objective Testing Method
Ch.5: Resources and Standards for RTB's Model
p 61 List of the major Biblical creation accounts
p 62 List of relevant scientific data, 109 items
p 66 Model-building principles. Includes biblical integrity, hermeneutical principles
p 67 "...RTB commitment is the most important - a comitment to follow, regardless of personal cost, wherever the evidence leads."
p 68 Box "Why Simple Sciences First?"
Ch.6: The Biblical Structure of RTB's Creation Model
p 72 Four Key Points
p 73 The Belgic confession, Article 2 is impressive in its dual revelation stance. Particularly since it dates to about 1511 I believe. Also a list of scriptures here supporting the dual revelation stance.
p 74 List of great purposes
p 75 Chronology-before the beginning, present creation, the new creation.
p 77 Detectability of the divine
p 79 Characteristiics of creation
p 79 Makes the argument that physical laws did not change with the fall.
p 80 Physical characteristics of the universe as revealed in the Bible
p 85 Psalm 104: 27-30 about near extinctions, that "death through sin" applies to the human alone.
p 86 Article on common designs among creatures.
p 88 Discussion of the new creation.
p 89 -91 Set of lists of characteristics of the new creation.
Ch.7: Putting RTB's Model for the Cosmos to the Test
p 94 "In other disciplines scientists infer the past. In astronomy they directly see and m easure it.
p 96 Biblical premises
p 97 "time is the dimension in which cause-and-effect relationships occur. Effects follow their causes. So the begiing of cosmic time implies that an Agent (cause) outside the universe's space-time dimensions is responsible for bringing into existence the space, time, matter, and energy (effects) astronomers observe."
p 98 "This progress in cosmology contradicts the fundamental belief of philosophical naturalism - the claim that all causes and effects are contained within nature."
p 98 Intimations of extra dimensions.
p 100 two problems with just 4 dimensions, point particle infinities, gravity and qm conflict.
p 101 String theory, 9 space 1 time dim
p 101 Verses for "stretching out the heavens."
p 102 Expanding universe tests
p 109 Types of supernoavae and their role in producing the suite of elements seen
p 110 Plot of U and Th with time.
Ch.8: Putting RTB's Model for Galaxies, Stars, and Planets to the Test
p 122 Search for solar twins, description of 18 Scorpii and HD 98618, appear similar but have Li abundance 3x as high. Then HIP 56948 appeared to be nearly identical. But HIP 56948 is 11.2 billion years older and 15% brighter and couldn't sustain earth-like life. Sun has gotten brighter during life on earth, but compensation mechanisms have kept the temperature of the Earth about the same.
p 125 uniqueness of Jupiter & Saturn as bodygaurds for Earth. "Rare Earth" type discussion of essential nature of the protectors, but the few extinction events also were players in developing current life on Earth. Out of 305 planets, only one had Jupiter twin which would be effective like Jupiter as protector for life-bearing planet.
p 128 Discussion of galactic habitable zone. Only about 6% of galaxies could have the long-term stability required to supply metals and harbor a life-planet. Habitable zone must contain the co-rotation axis, else the system would cross a spiral arm during time required to establish life.
p 130 The properties of the local group of galaxies supports life possibility. Only 40 galaxies, two medium sized (MW and Andromeda), others dwarf or small, spread out enough that spiral shape of MW is stable.
Ch.9: Putting RTB's Model for Life's Beginnings and Extraterrestrial Homes to the Test
p 134 "The RTB model posits that life is extraordinarily complex. It claims Earth's first life arose and ultimately persisted not as a random naturalistic outcome but rather through supernatural intervention by the Creator."
p 134 In list of testable features "God personally shaped and crafted ... the universe..Earth...all life at optimum times ... human life ... for his purposes."
p 135 A critical collision. Description of collision that formed Moon, description of Earth atmospheric composition, right mass, iron core for magnetic field - good table of things the collision did.
p 138 Role of late heavy bombardment . LHB caused by 1:2 resonance between Jupiter and Saturn. Discussion of effects of LHB.
p 140 "The geologically instantaneous nature of life's origin - without the presence of prebiotics- and the abundance and diversity of life 3.8 billion years ago challenge all materialistic/naturalistic models."
p 140 no building blocks
p 141 homochirality implications. Echoes "Origins of Life"
p 142 Out of the homochirality discussion, and problem to phil naturalists, comes to take a poke at TE. "Theistic evolutionists who hold that God's creative activity manifests itself only and always through natural processes face the same intractable problem."
p 142 Comments and possibilities of life from beyond Earth.
p 145 Interesting comment on zircon crystals 4.4-3.9Gy that have O18/O16 ratios indicative of an ocean. Ref 2001 Nature article.
Ch.10: Putting RTB's Model for Life's History to the Test
p 150 Refers to Origins of Life - transform Earth's environment to be a suitable habitat.
p 150 List of testable features.
p 151 Disagrees with LUCA - multiple simultaneous paths.
p 152 Sulfate-loving bacteria trap out toxins
p 153 Bacteria preparing the land
p 153 Raising continents
p 154 Plate tectonics - requirements 1. radioactive heating, 2. geologic dynamo 3. abundant water. Lists 7 things that are required. Good overview of elements of plate tectonics. Refers to "Rare Earth".
p 156 Brightening Sun over 3-3.5 Gy, 15% brightening cf 1% net tolerable for life, needed less effective greenhouse heater.
p 158 Regulation of greenhouse gases
p 159 Erosion of silicates and burial of organic matter accomplishes the regulation. 7 factors. Today silicate erosion accounts for 80% of greenhouse gas removal and organic material burial accounts for other 20%.
p 160 Pumping O2 - photosynthetic marine bacteria would do it in a few million years, but because of the O2 sinks it took 3 Gy.
p 161 Oceans fully aerobic 1.0 to 0.54 Gy ago. Oxygen plot interesting. Ref Science 05.
p 162 Biology's big bang. Up to 580 My seas too salty and sulfide rich. 575 Avalon explosion and the edia carans, 543 Cambrian Explosion.
p 163 "fill 'er up", the supplying of fuels for advanced society.
p 165 Table of factors governing survival.
p 167 Purposeful transitions - whales and horses
p 167 Design convergences. Problem for evolution. Ref to Simon Conway Morris in "Life's Solution", Fuz in Cell's Design, Gould's "Wonderful Life".
p 168* Quote from Gould's "Wonderful Life" re what I call the loose cannon of evolution. Reaction of Morris to Gould.
From Gould "No finale can be specified at the start, none would ever occur a second time in the same way, because any pathway proceeds through thousands of improbable stages. Alter any early event, ever so slightly, and wihout apparent importance at the time, and evolution cascades into a radically different channel."
p 169 "A Decisive Test" Testing the "loose cannon" Gould vs Morris in E. Coli. An important section to think about more. Biologists think Gould won.
Ch.11: Putting RTB's Model for Advanced Life to the Test
p 174 Divides life into three distinct forms: purely physical, both physical and soulish, and one species with body, soul and spirit.
p 175 Forests advanced plants 350 My, forests 300 My, flowering plants 140 My.
p 175 Discussion of soulish creatures
p 176 The nepesh -- bara creation of soulish creatures
Ch.12: Putting RTB's Model for the Origin and History of Humanity to the Test
p 182 Posits "Who Was Adam?" as basic reference.
p 182 Testable hypotheses - good list - liked paragraph on unique nature of humans.
p 183 Origins lottery. References Francisco Ayala and Carter, Barrow and Tipler.
p 184 DNA evidence. DNA shuffled routinely but not mtDNA which is from mother only. Male inherits Y-chromosome exclusively from father. So mtDNA and Y only change by mutation, so are markers for any evolutionary effects.
p 184 Neanderthal DNA constant throughout the species' range and history
p 185 mtDNA from humans to 25,000 years, no overlap with Neanderthal. Homo erectus 1.8 to 0.5My, no DNA, but indicates stasis and differences from humans that render it unlikely as an ancestor.
p 186 mitochondrial Eve and Y chromosomal Adam, location in East Africa, story of the four rivers, locating humanity's origin.
p 187 Chimp-human similarity quoted as 98% but from limited part of DNA where similarities are to be most expected. More extensive comparisons drop it to 85-90% with major differences where brain is concerned.
p 188 DNA date of Y-chromosomal Adam 42000-60000yr and mtDNA 170,000 +/- 50000
p 189 Why did God create hominids?
p 189-190 Human family history, Abraham 4000 yrs, Adam 50000, 50-40ky explosion of technology.
p 190 Technology big bang with humans, not hominids. Cultural explosion as well in same era. Interesting note of more jewelry than tools in some finds. Art, language and religious practices emerged. All pointing to 40-50ky.
p 191 Discussion of man's "overqualification" for the times in dexterity, intellectual capacity. Built with capacities that would only be used thousands of years into the future.
p 192 Interesting idea - human intellect and other capacities viewed as arising at 50ky but having no additional survival value, so inexplicable by strict evolution - for far distant future.
p 192 Humanity's time window. Depicted as short. Like anthropic inequality.
Ch.13: Putting RTB's Model to the "Why" Question Test
p 197 "Many people romanticize Adam and Eve and all the animals who roamed an earthly paradise free of pain, decay, suffering and death. Then, in an instant, Adam's bite of a forbidden fruit ruined everything. But that image distorts both biblical and scientific reality."
p 197 Job and Psalm passages
p 200 Junk DNA
p 201 "what had long been labeled junk DNA carries the same complex patterns of communication found in human speech."
p 202 Useful "Junk" pseudogenes, SINES, LINES, indogenous retroviruses, LTRs
p 203ff discussion of "bad designs" and natural catastrophes
p 207 list of why questions
Ch.14: Putting New Atheist Cosmic Models to the Test
p 210 Comments on Dawkins "The God Delusion"
p 211 Basically responds with Kalam cosmological argument
p 211 Interesting speculation that God operates in the equivalent of a second time dimension. One way of dealing with the picture of God operating outside of space and time.
p 211 "Using the equivalent of two time dimensions, the universe's Creator could perform an infinite number of cause-and-effect operations along an infinitely extended timeline that never crosses or touches this universe's timeline. "
p 211 Takes on Stenger's "God": the Failed Hypothesis" Stenger says everything is "self-organization". Cites Progogine in "Order Out of Chaos" and also Kauffman "Fourth Law of Thermodynamics"
p 212 Multiverse comments
p 212 Brings in the standard quotes from Davies, Dyson, Hawking
p 214 Fine-tuning at every scale
Ch.15: Putting RTB's Creation Model to the U.S. Constitution Test
p 219 Interesting story of Ross's address to a Soviet conference. He found an audience very receptive to the idea that the fine-tuning of nature pointed to God. And one of the reasons for the receptivity was that the Soviet government had tried to force them to believe otherwise.
p 220 First amendment court cases. Four cases where "creation teaching" collided with first amendment, but not for the reasons people think.
p 221 Epperson vs Arkansas (1968). An anti-evolution statute was set aside after a round of appeal because Arkansas had no reason to prohibit the teaching of evolution except that it was offensive to the religious beliefs of some.
p 222 "What did the U.S. Founding Fathers Intend?"
p 222 McLean vs Arkansas(1981) Law mandating "equal treatment" of evolution and creationism. Court focused on credibility of young-earth creationism - for the state included Norman Geisler. Contesting the plausibility of the YECs was Brent Dalrymple. Dalrymple, in my view, blew the YECs out of the water and they didn't even call Henry Morris and Duane Gish. Court decided that the law would force one particular religious perspective on all others, a number of whom had testified against the law. So it was set aside.
p 225 Aguillard v Treen (1983) Louisiana's "Creationism Act" was virtually identical to Arkansas' and was set aside by the Judge. Went to US Court of Appeals.
p 226 Edwards v Aguillard came from the La case.
p 227 Case that failure of creationism was because of faulty science, not because of prejudice toward religion. "Because its defendants could not prove that young-earth creationism had scientific legitimacy."
p 228 Good science, open door
Ch.16: Using Predictions to Test Models
p 234 To contrast RTB model with naturalistic evolution, YEC, and TE.
p 236 Suggests that TE will predict that all aspects of universe will find explanation in big bang cosmology.
p 236 Naturalistic will expect principle of mediocrity, TE Earth unique but naturalistic explanations for everything,
p 237 plate tectonics predictions. Becomes increasingly evident that Ross's big bone to pick with TE is that he sees TE as positing natural laws for everything and no special divine interventions. Sees YECs as committed to catastrophism with the Noah flood being the main cause of geological features.
p 238 On the hominid issue, RTB holds to complete uniqueness of heritage and interventionalist miracles to "explain humanity's existence and uniqueness". Places hominids at 6.5 million and humans at 50ky. Naturalist just opposite, and TE also naturalistic chain.
Ch.17:Scoring the Models
p 244 Table of predictions and scorecard.
Ch.18: Extra Credit
General discussion of the fears on both sides of the creation debate, and options for dealing with them. A discussion of the intent of the "more than a theory" phrase.
p 257 App A: The Scientific Method's Biblical Origins
p 259 App B: Designed for Life. Points to the fine-tuning in different realms
p 261 App C: Predictive Tests for Four Creation/Evolution Models