Wednesday, April 04, 2007

`The building of carbon depends on a moustache... of oxygen on a mole, and ... of ... dysprosium... on a slight scar over the right eye' (Hoyle) #1

In 1957 the late cosmologist Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001),

[Left: The Late Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001), University of Wales, Cardiff]

was one of a number of scientists invited to each deliver an address at University Church, Cambridge, on the topic of "Religion and the Scientists."

Hoyle, who was originally an atheist, in the 1950's came to believe in a form of intelligent design, well before the rise of the modern Intelligent Design Movement in the 1980s, from his discovery of the fine-tuned energy levels in various chemical elements necessary for life, including carbon and oxygen.

His conclusion, based on the scientific evidence alone was that the precise fixing of those two life-elements' resonance energy levels (and they are not the only ones) was a "put-up job" and that "a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology" (my emphasis):

"From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 Mev energy level in the nucleus of 12C to the 7.12 Mev level in 16O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? Following the above argument, I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature." (Hoyle, F., "The Universe: Past and Present Reflections," Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 20, 1982, pp.1-35, p.16).

Early in his lecture Hoyle made "a crucial point" that "The laws of science are not inviolable" since "science is not identical with the physical world itself" but "is a model of the real world that we construct inside our own heads":

"Let us begin with a crucial point. The laws of science are not inviolable. They represent a constantly changing logical complex, changing from decade to decade, and even from year to year. Lest this may surprise you let me remark that the world of science is not identical with the physical world itself, with the real world if you like. Science is a model of the real world that we construct inside our own heads. The model is arranged by us to work according to a set of prescribed rules. These are the laws of science. And when we speak of comparing our scientific theories with observation we mean that a comparison is being made between our model and the events that comprise the real world." (Hoyle, F., in Stockwood, M., ed., "Religion and the Scientists: Addresses Delivered in the University Church, Cambridge," Lent Term, 1957, SCM Press: London, 1959, p.55).

Therefore to say that "Intelligent Design is not science" (as the Darwinists do) merely means that Intelligent Design does not correspond with the materialistic-naturalistic "model of the real world" that they have constructed inside their heads, not that it does not correspond with "the real world" itself!

Hoyle continued, pointing out that if science should "discover a set of rules that give a better correspondence" to the real world then science "must abandon" those old rules and embrace that new set of rules:

"You remember I spoke just now of science as a model that we ourselves construct according to a set of prescribed rules. How are the rules prescribed? By the requirement that we accept those rules that up to the present moment give the best possible correspondence with the events of the external world. Notice the importance of the present moment. If tomorrow we discover a set of rules that give a better correspondence than those we are employing today, then we must abandon the rules of today in favour of those of tomorrow." (Hoyle, Ibid., p.57. Emphasis original).

For example if "a superintellect" really has "monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology") then science, if it is to be truly science, and not just a branch of applied materialistic-naturalistic philosophy, "must abandon the rules of" materialisic-naturalistic philosophy "in favour of" intelligent design.

Hoyle never became a follower of any "formal religion" but instead his was a "Religion in a non-formal sense" by which he meant that "the universe has some deep laid purpose":

"It may surprise you when I say that I have yet to meet a person who was not imbued by a religious sense. The great differences between us lie in our varying attitudes to formal religion. Religion in a non-formal sense I take to mean that a man will look up at the stars at night with a sense of awe, that he will feel that the majestic play of the universe has some deep laid purpose, and that his own small role in the play must make sense, if only he has the wit to find it." (Hoyle, Ibid., p.60).

In his address in 1957 (a half-century ago), Hoyle foresaw the possibility of a "coherent view of the universe ... that science might eventually arrive at" in which the "implacable unbroken wall of difficulty" between science and religion might be broken through:

"Are there any preliminary indications of the sort of coherent view of the universe and of our place in it that science might eventually arrive at? Or does the whole matter present us with an implacable unbroken wall of difficulty through which no breakthrough seems possible? I must confess to a certain measure of excitement in trying to answer these questions, for in my view work of the last few years, particularly of the last year, suggests that a breakthrough may at last have been made. In spite of the details being somewhat technical, I would like to tell you how this surprising development has come about. But please do not expect too much-remember that I said a breakthrough may have been made, not that the whole citadel has been captured." (Hoyle, Ibid., pp.61-62)

by the scientific evidence for intelligent design.

While Hoyle never seems to have used the actual words "intelligent design" (as far as I know), he did use equivalent words, such as "intelligently deliberate" (my emphasis):

"Oxygen and carbon atoms are about equally common in living material, just as they are in the Universe at large. While it is possible to imagine life in a Universe with a moderate imbalance between oxygen and carbon, a really large imbalance would seem to forbid its existence. A great excess of carbon would prevent the formation of many materials on which life is vitally dependent, rock and soil for example, while a great oxygen excess would simply burn up any carbon bearing biochemicals that happened to be around. The necessary balance between oxygen and carbon depends on the details of the origin of the chemical elements by nuclear reactions inside stars, a subject which has been intensively studied over the past three decades, and one which we have already touched on in this book. The details are concerned with how neutrons and protons group together to form the nuclei of atoms. Oxygen and carbon are like two radio receivers, each tuned to a particular wavelength. Unless the tunings are right, with the two dials set at the appropriate wavelengths far more oxygen is produced than carbon. But, as it happens, the tunings are indeed correct, so that oxygen and carbon atoms are produced in the Universe in appropriately balanced amounts. The problem is to decide whether these apparently coincidental tunings are really accidents or not, and therefore whether or not life is accidental. No scientist likes to ask such a question, but it has to be asked for all that. Could it be that the tunings are intelligently deliberate?" (Hoyle, F., "The Intelligent Universe," Michael Joseph: London, 1983, pp.218-219).

Continued in part #2.

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).

Exodus 12:1-7,12-13,21-23,29-32,50-51. 1The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2"This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. ... 12"On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn-both men and animals-and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. ... 21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. 23When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. ... 29At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. ... 31During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. 32Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me."... 50 All the Israelites did just what the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 And on that very day the LORD brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.

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