Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Language of God 4

So far:
Chapter 1 Notes: here
Chapter 2 Notes: here
Chapter 3 Notes: here

Chapter 4: Life on Earth
  • Begins by recapping the argument from design by William Paley. He argues against Paley's argument with a syllogism that I don't actually think is analogous. I recognize that Paley's argument is not without its questions, but I don't think Collins has really dispensed with it as easily as he thinks.
Origins of Life
  • Earth inhospitable to life for its first 500 million years. 4 billion years ago, no evidence of life. 150 years later, microbial life.
  • "No current hypothesis comes close to explaining how in the space of a mere 150 million years, the prebiotic environment that existed on Earth gave rise to life" (90). Collins is rightfully cautious about inserting God into these gaps, but I'm comfortable myself with a casual insertion. In other words, this certainly could have been God's intervention.
  • RNA may have been the path to the first life form.
  • Second Law of Thermodynamics is generally irrelevant to this discussion. "Order can certainly increase in some part of the system (as happens every day when you make the bed or put away the dishes)." The Second Law is about the total disorder, not the order/disorder of a portion of the system.
Fossil Record
  • "Suddenly, approximately 550 million years ago, a great number of diverse invertebrate body plans appear in the fossil record" (94). This is the Cambrian explosion.
  • "The vast majority of organisms that have ever lived on Earth have left absolutely no trace of their existence" (94).
  •  230 million years ago, dinosaurs dominated. An asteriod in the Yucatan peninsula toasted them and opened the door for mammals to thrive and eventually dominate.
  • Initial reaction to Darwin was mixed. B. W. Warfield accepted evolution as "a theory of the method of God's providence" (98).
  • Darwin's faith was ambiguous. He speaks of the Creator at the end of The Origin of Species. Then later he said, "Agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind" (99). Another time he called himself a theist.
  • He tells a little of the development of genetics, from Gregor Mendel to James Watson and Francis Crick. 
  • "Do not fear, there is plenty divine mystery left.

1 comment:

Martin LaBar said...

Good summary!