The Cosmos: Billions and Billions and Billions (Part 6)
By Steve Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D.
Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson begins this episode of The Cosmos by explaining that “we live on one level of existence, but there are others.” This installment is going to take us into the microscopic world of plants and animals as well as introducing us to basic atomic structure and the subatomic realm of particle physics. He resumes his place at the helm of an imaginary spaceship reminding us that this ship will need two engines, “science and imagination.” After seeing the first four installments of what could accurately be described as an opus to godless evolution, I knew that the series had blurred the lines between these two realms of science and imagination.
Please don’t misunderstand me; I realize that imagination is an important factor in the study of the universe in which we live. It is also an essential feature in our ability to conceptualize abstract concepts, or as C. S. Lewis described it, “while reason is the natural organ of truth, imagination is the organ of meaning.” He understood that for us to grasp the meaning of any word or concept, we must first create an image of what we are attempting to understand or explain.
My problem is with the apparent awe that agnostic and atheist scientists evoke when speaking about the marvels of nature. Or as Dr. Tyson put it, “We can go deeper and deeper into the wonder.” Rather than glorify the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for what He has created, the proponents of evolution will either give lip service to nature’s God or they invoke the female deity of evolution, Mother Nature.
Into a dew drop
Using the wonders of special effects, Dr. Tyson flies his spaceship into a dew drop. He tells us that “there are a multitude of skilled hunter-warriors that roam the dew drop.” We get to observe a single cell paramecium fend off an attacker. Then we see our old friend the tardigrade. This remarkable creature is more commonly known as the Water Bear and it is smaller than the head of a pin. I am certain that this tiny animal was chosen because it is both a thermophile (resistant to extreme heat) and a chionophile (resistant to extreme cold). Some of its amazing feats include the ability to survive in the most intense conditions such as:
- Temperatures as low as -200 °C (-328 °F) and as high as 151 °C (304 °F)
- Freezing in a block of ice
- Lack of oxygen
- Lack of water for as long as decade
- Levels of X-ray radiation 1000x the lethal human dose,
- Most noxious chemicals
- Boiling alcohol
- Low pressure of a vacuum; like that of space
- And high pressure (up to 6x the pressure of the deepest part of the ocean)
Because of this animal’s ability to survive in a low pressure of a vacuum like outer space, our narrator tells us, “They (the tardigrades) can survive naked in the vacuum of space.” Really? Well maybe not.
This statement is based on a 2007 experiment where “dehydrated” tardigrades were taken to a “low earth orbit” on the FOTON-M3 mission carrying the BIOPAN astrobiology payload. What Dr. Tyson isn’t telling us is that they could only rehydrate 68% of their specimens within 30 minutes and the post rehydration mortality rate was high. These were the specimens that were protected from high-energy UV radiation. Of those who were exposed to the combined effect of vacuum and full solar radiation had significantly reduced survival rates. How significant? It was reported that only three subjects survived. I did not find any mention of the condition of these survivors. It was reported that fully hydrated eggs, however, barely survived any of the tests. I guess that it evolutionary spin for no eggs survived in their natural state. Remember that these critters were neither exposed to the vacuum of deep space nor subjected to the unbridled high-energy UV radiation.
First grass, then trees, and then flowers
In keeping with the real goal of the Cosmos series, Dr. Tyson now tells us, “It’s hard to imagine, but plants covered the surface of the earth for hundreds of millions of years before they put forth their first flower.” All of this expansive vegetation took place about 100 million years ago, shortly before the dinosaurs were wiped out. Dr. Tyson explains that orchids were the first plants to produce flowers.
The problem with this “just so” story of evolution is that there are factors that must be in place for plants to be fruitful and multiply. First among these is the orchid’s dependence on insects for reproduction. Numerous species of orchids are insect-mimicking. Many of these mimics have very ingenious ways of attracting pollinating insects, appealing to the senses of both sight and smell. Can evolution explain the origin of these mechanisms? Did insects and plants evolve simultaneously in such a serendipitous fashion so that they are completely interdependent one with the other? In an article entitled, “Orchids… a witness to the Creator,” science writer with Creation Ministries International, Geoff Chapman, notes:
The intricate design of many orchids belies the idea that they slowly evolved. Since the whole purpose of their sophisticated machinery is to ensure the continuation of the species through pollination, and since without pollination the species would become extinct, it follows that every part of this apparatus needed to be in place and working right from the start.
Remember, Dr. Tyson has already told us that orchids were among the first flowering species to appear on earth. In addition to this, they are the most diverse with 30,000 species. Then, Dr. Tyson makes a very big point on behalf of Charles Darwin. He notes that Darwin predicted that there would be an insect somewhere on the island of Madagascar that would have an extraordinarily long proboscis. He surmised that it would have to evolve to the length of one foot in order to be able to pollinate the Christmas orchid a.k.a. the comet orchid, King of the Angraecums or Star of Bethlehem orchid. This orchid, with a long spur containing pollen at the bottom, requires an insect with an unusually long tongue to achieve pollination. Enter the Morgan Sphinx moth with its unusually long proboscis and the problem is solved. But is it really that simple? An orchid evolves to stash its pollen in a foot long stem and nature evolves this species of a Hawk moth to allow this orchid to continue reproducing. Dr. Tyson notes, “Eons of evolution writes life’s poetry.” Now you know why many well-credentialed scientists reject the “just so” stories of evolution. They consider the Theory of Evolution to be an elaborate tautology. They note that stating that the most fit among the creatures will survive and that they will survive because they are the most fit is circular reasoning. While this is not the forum for such a philosophical discussion, suffice it to say that evolutionists protest loudly when this argument is made.
When creationists face the protestations of the proponents of evolution their response seems to border on psychological denial. How far does their denial go? They are refusing to acknowledge the reality that, without exception, all living organisms reproduce according to their own kind. This is exactly what is repeatedly stated in the book of Genesis. In addition to this, these same organisms appear in the fossil record fully-formed without uncontested transitional precursors. Evolutionists will not face these facts. This is evidenced by what we see all around us in nature as well as what the fossil record confirms. This enables them to cling to their molecules-to-men story in what seems to be a good example of classic denial. Additionally, the existence of an orchid that stashes its pollen down a long, slim tube and the convergent (simultaneous) evolution of an insect with a tongue that is just the right length and width to remove the pollen seems to strain credulity.
Our sense of smell was 100’s of millions of years in the making
All this talk about plant evolution allows our narrator to segway to lilacs and the evolution of our sense of smell. He notes that smells are produced by molecules with a particular shape. When inhaled these molecules stimulate a set of receptors in our noses. This causes an electrical signal to be sent to our brain that defines the scent as lilac. All of this was so Dr. Tyson could connect this to “how our brains evolved.” He explains that smells can evoke certain memories. He links our sense of smell to the olfactory nerve. He notes that this nerve is situated close to the hippocampus that is involved with memory storage. The hippocampus is next to the amygdala that is involved in decision making and emotions. This allows Dr. Tyson to explain that “the network of neurons that carry the scent from my nose to my brain has been ‘fine-tuned’ over hundreds of millions of years of evolution.”
Why did we evolve a sense of smell? According to the “just so” story of everything called evolution, this was a must for our survival. Dr. Tyson says it should be evident to anyone with a scintilla of intelligence. But the producers manage to explain that it would be important for us to smell a bear before we become his lunch. No mention of the other senses, at least not yet.
Another hidden cosmos awaits
I have learned not to underestimate evolutionists and their inclination to state the obvious and then credit evolution’s alleged creative processes natural selection and the ever-elusive beneficial mutation. These two mechanisms are almost never openly questioned by the evolutionary scientists. The fact that these mechanisms are incapable of producing any new information is never acknowledged. The dirty little secret is that new information is absolutely essential if fish are going to sprout legs and gills are going to become lungs, amphibians are going to become mammals and reptiles are going to sprout wings and fly. Please, no protestations concerning oversimplification. There are far better examples of oversimplification in the countless “just so” stories of Darwinian evolution.
So what is the next stop on our journey? After likening the act of respiration to ‘cosmic reincarnation,’ through the wonders of animation Dr. Tyson takes us back 2,500 years. This is where we meet a philosopher with a fondness for wine and parties, Thales of Melitus. Although none of Thales’s writings have survived, we are told that he was the first person to realize that ordinary occurrences such as thunder and lightning were not the wrath of the gods, but rather naturally occurring phenomena. It is in the story of Thales that we again see that evolutionary agnostics and atheists never, ever look at the Word of God for any information. If they had, they would not characterize everyone (other than Thales) as hapless pagans.
This is not the first time that the series chose to completely ignore the Hebrew Scriptures. They would rather present ancient man as an idolatrous pagan, thereby showing themselves, by comparison, to be far more intelligent. In doing so, they fulfill the Word of God concerning themselves. Thales (624-546 BC) lived centuries after Moses and a millennia after Abraham. The Torah (Pentateuch) clearly reveals that the Creator of the universe is not some foolish invention of superstitious men. In fact, the pantheon of Greek gods and goddesses that Thales has come to reject were all undoubtedly the inventions of man. The deities of Greek mythology were all clearly created in the image of fallen man, yet the God of Abraham is in no way similar to these pagan inventions.
The Psalmist proclaimed the following truth:
1 Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
2 Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”
3 But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
5 They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
6 They have ears, but they do not hear;
Noses they have, but they do not smell;
7 They have hands, but they do not handle;
Feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
8 Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.
So, the Hebrew Scriptures, which are unlike any other allegedly sacred writings, clearly warn against the paganism that Thales is supposed to have rejected. We should caution those who lump Bible believers into the same camp of pagan religions that they are being disingenuous. We ought to echo our Lord and Savior’s message that He gave to His own covenant people Israel in the beginning of His earthly ministry. He told them to Repent and believe in the gospel, Mark 1:15. God calls all of mankind to change their thinking about who He is and who they are in His sight. Everyone is naturally born into this world as sinners in need of the Savior. The only remedy for this is to be supernaturally born again, John 3:3.
Cosmos out of chaos
This is the way Dr. Tyson characterizes the mindset of Thales, and this is what evolutionists really do believe. Dr. Tyson says, “Out of the chaos of the Big Bang came an orderly universe governed by the order of natural laws that we could actually figure out.” This, we are told, “is the epic adventure that began in the mind of Thales.” I have to say that I was less than impressed with a man who is quoted as saying “a life without parties would be like an endless road without end” and “we’re all a bunch of atoms in a void.”
Now Dr. Tyson transitions to the world of atoms and the chemicals that make up the periodic table. He notes that, under normal conditions, the nucleus of atoms do not touch one another. But the enormous gravity and heat of our own sun, causes the nucleus of atoms to touch and the result is nuclear fusion. This is the source of our sun’s power.
Once again, Dr. Tyson reminds us that the sun has been cooking for “billions of years” and he credits the sun for the appearance of life on earth. This struck me as yet another “just so” story with evolutionary science crediting the sun with creative powers. Rather than glorifying the Creator for His handiwork, evolutionary scientists end up doing exactly what the Apostle Paul said they would do in his letter to the believers in Rome.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things, Romans 1:20-23.
The passage in the opening chapter of Paul’s letter to his fellow believers in Rome describes the trap that evolutionary science falls into. While the writers of the Cosmos series like to point us to primitive man with his superstitious views, these modern and more sophisticated pagans are doing the exact same thing they criticize. They are puffed up by their ability to understand the intricacies of biology, chemistry, and physics. As Tyson noted, “that we could actually figure out.” This is nothing more than hubris. King David described those who would dare to deny the existence of the Creator of the universe when he wrote:
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1.
Suddenly we find Dr. Tyson has traded in his one man spacecraft for a tiny rowboat. Via the magic of special effects, he is sitting at the bottom of Japan’s Super Kamioka subterranean neutrino detection chamber. All of this is so we can detect a subatomic particle that Dr. Tyson tells us “can pass through 100 light years of steel without ever slowing down.” This interesting information is being given to us in order to introduce us to physicist Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958). Evidently, like Darwin’s prediction of a long-tongued insect, Wolfgang Pauli predicted the existence of neutrinos.
Then Dr. Tyson says something that startled me. He said, “The laws of science differ fundamentally from those of other human endeavors. In order to become a law, it must be unbreakable.” He uses the Law of the Conservation of Energy to illustrate a scientific law. Then, as he did in a previous episode, Dr. Tyson uses biblical language noting, “Thou shall not create or destroy energy.” This is something that the scriptwriters were purposely using, but they never actually tell anyone about the Law Giver, who not only gave us the moral law, He is the unifying power behind everything in the universe. The Apostle Paul told the believers in Colossae concerning the Messiah:
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence, Col. 1:15-18.
The entire universe, from the smallest quantum particle to the massive VY Canis Majoris (VY CMa) a red hypergiant in the constellation Canis Major, is subject to a set of unbreakable laws. While evolutionary scientists look at the universe with childlike awe, they absolutely refuse to give any credence whatsoever to the concept of a divine Lawmaker. The same is true of the biological universe. The Cosmos series can delve into the inner workings of photosynthesis and marvel at its intricate efficiency and lightening speed, but mention an intelligent Designer and they cry foul. It is clear to anyone who will take an honest look at the state of scientific knowledge today that atheists and agnostics have managed to make a vocal faith in a higher power a litmus test that will disqualify someone from being labeled a true scientist. Only those who ascribe to a purely materialistic worldview and swear at the altar of Darwin can be published in peer reviewed scientific periodicals. So evolutionists disqualify all creationists and intelligent design theorists from being published in the periodicals over which they control the peer review process.
Anyone who doubts this should review what happened to Dr. Richard Sternberg when he approved an article by Stephen Meyer in the peer reviewed journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. This is just one of many instances where any criticism, dissent and/or questioning of the evolutionary paradigm is met with severe retribution. Several such stories of reprisals against professors and researchers have been chronicled in the 2008 Ben Stein documentary Expelled. Many careers have been derailed for questioning Darwinian evolution. So the fact that the Cosmos is turning out to be a propaganda piece the molecules-to-men “just so” story of everything does not surprise me.
Back to the real reason for the Cosmos series
No sooner had Dr. Tyson stopped telling us that when we stand in the sunlight “its ten million-year-old sunlight hitting our face,” that he refers back to the analogy that our 15.8 billion-year-old universe is like a calendar with one month equaling a billion or so years. This allows him to tell us that “ten million years ago our ancestors were anthropoid apes swinging through the trees of Africa.” Now Dr. Tyson begins to walk back in time past our Milky Way galaxy. However, when we get as far as he says we can see, something stops us. He asks, “What is it?” Then he gives us his answer. “It is the nature of light and time, because light travels at a finite speed, to look back across space is to look back in time, so the farther we see the older the light.”
Once again, Dr. Tyson is using the constancy of the speed of light to extrapolate billions and billions of years. We have already explained that there are several creationist theories that attempt to answer the starlight and time problem using biblical clues. One of several explanations is revealed in the terminology the Bibles to describe the creation of the universe. Not only does God’s Word use the unusual terminology of “stretching” when describing the creation of the heavens, it also clearly describes the earth as being a sphere. While evolutionists try to ridicule creationists by calling them flat-earthers, the reality is the exact opposite. Believers have always known the earth was round, because the Bible says it is.
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in, Isaiah 40:22
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself; Isaiah 44:24.
The book of Job is believed to be the oldest book in the Bible, yet it is in Job that the concept of stretching is mention along with the scientifically accurate fact that the planet Earth is suspended in space, hanging on nothing.
He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing, Job 26:7.
We have also noted that Big Bang theorists have their very own starlight and time problem called the Horizon Problem. This is the problem in a nutshell; evolutionists are telling us that when we look into the night sky, the distances the light has travelled can be traced back to the Big Bang. The horizon problem has to do with the fact that we are not at the edge of the universe. In fact, many astronomers now speculate that our solar system is closer to the center of the universe than Carl Sagan and others previously thought. So, if we look to the west and see a galaxy that measures 10 billion light years away in distance, it would appear to us as if it were representing ten billion years of cosmic time, because the light has taken that long to travel to the viewer. But if we look in the opposite direction, to the east, and we see a galaxy that is also10 billion light years away, the total distance between them is twenty billion light years. This means that the light from the first has not yet reached the second, because the 13.8 billion years assigned to the universe by Big Bang theorists is not a enough time for this to occur. In a more general sense, there are portions of the universe that are visible to us, but invisible to each other, outside each other's respective “horizons.”
We have previously noted another problem. The universe is extremely isotropic. This implies homogeneity. The differences in temperature throughout the known universe are negligible. This presents another serious problem, because there is not enough time in the 15.8 billion year age of the universe for the temperature to have become uniform throughout. Just remember, when Dr. Tyson speaks with authority concerning the age of the universe or the Big Bang beginning of everything, he is not being entirely honest. Dr. Tyson is not telling the audience the serious difficulties that exist or anything else that might be detrimental to his evolutionary worldview. While censorship is common with regard to the criticisms of evolutionary theory, the Cosmos series continues these deceptive practices by omitting both the horizon problem and the homogeneity problem.
All the way back to the Big Bang
Now Dr. Tyson walks us back to a mere 380 thousand years after the Big Bang or, as his calendar analogy would have it, “15 minutes into January 1st of the cosmic calendar.” What does he say we see, “It’s the glow left over from the Big Bang.” Remember, Dr. Tyson is saying this as if he were actually there to observe what happened 15.8 billion-years ago. In truth, the entire Big Bang story is a highly speculative. It begins with what any self-respecting physicist would have to characterize as a miracle. After all, compacting all the known matter and energy in the known universe into a space small enough to hold between your thumb and your forefinger is not science. Creationists do not present the Genesis account as a scientific treatise; we present it as the historically accurate account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. The difference between the fantastical musings of the Big Bang speculators and Bible believers is that the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Creator who spoke the universe into existence in six literal 24-hour days is the same One who fixed the natural laws in place. He is the only One who has the power to suspend them when He sees fit, and that is the definition of a true miracle.
Now we are asked, “To imagine that all the matter and energy in the universe was concentrated into something no larger than this.” Dr. Tyson holds up an orb the size of a golf ball. He tells us, “This was the size of the universe when it was one trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of one second old.” He continues, “All the matter and energy of 100 billion galaxies now splayed across the billions of light years was once pent up in something the size of a marble.” And this is where I began to laugh out loud. You see, the orb Dr. Tyson was holding between his fingers was at least one inch in diameter. A golf ball, yes. A marble, definitely not! I am going to give Dr. Tyson the benefit of the doubt and say he must have thought that a marble was a more impressively small size than a golf ball.
But Dr. Tyson is a scientist, so his powers of observation should not be in question. I can’t help wondering if anyone was willing to call him on his obvious exaggeration. I think not. If we can’t even openly question their version of a miracle of physics that they allege happened 15.8 billion years ago, I don’t think they will take kindly to any form of criticism. Well at least until now, the writers of the Cosmos miniseries have not shown themselves to be open to this or any type of critical analysis.
NOTE: I thought you might want to see how many times the evolutionary propagandists were emphasizing the billions and billions of years of deep time. This repetition is by design.
(Episode 5) The Billions of Years Tens or Hundreds of Millions of Years