Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bugged by a Savage

Over the past couple of years that I've been studying the Evolution/Creation debate, I've seen interesting articles in Photonics Spectra (PS) magazine. I cited one here on my blog back in May, & also in my 2007 book (p. 76). On several occasions, I've torn pages out, & forwarded them to friends including CMI for consideration if/when they develop new Moments. I've been a PS subscriber since I first worked on lasers in 2003. It's a great resource, & anyone interested in the field of optics would do well to subscribe.

The July 2008 issue contains another candidate I'll be sending to CMI. It's on p. 124 in the Peregrinations section by Lynn M. Savage titled "Supercomputing May Require Bugs". Aside from the clever/catchy title, what got my attention & what justifies its mention here in my royal blog is that the "bug" in question is a special little beetle/scarab. Here's the tease:

"The ultimate photonic crystal would manipulate light so efficiently that high-speed computers operating purely on photons could become reality. The perfect photonic crystal should have the same overall structure as that formed by carbon atoms in a diamond, just not as tightly packed together. No such man-made crystal operating at visible wavelengths exists yet... Nature, however, ... has made many structures unmatched by human engineers, & so it has apparently devised a photonic crystal in the form of the scales of th[is] beetle."

The species in question is Lamprocyphus augustus. You can see an excellent photo of one captured by the beautiful Barbara Strnadova at God of Insects (a company that specializes in arthropods; not an actual deity; their Museum is a terrific online resource for Scarabaeoidea-stuff). The article by Savage is just an attention-getter for the real scientific article published back in May, "Discovery of a Diamond-based Photonic Crystal Structure in Beetle Scales" by Jeremy W. Galusha, Lauren R. Richey, John S. Gardner, Jennifer N. Cha, & Michael H. Bartl (Physical Review E 77, 050904 [2008]). Here's its abstract:

"We investigated the photonic crystal structure inside iridescent scales of the weevil Lamprocyphus augustus. By combining a high-resolution structure analysis technique based on sequential focused ion beam milling and scanning electron microscopy imaging with theoretical modeling and photonic band-structure calculations, we discovered a natural three-dimensional photonic structure with a diamond-based crystal lattice operating at visible wavelengths. Moreover, we found that within individual scales, the diamond-based structure is assembled in the form of differently oriented single-crystalline micrometer-sized pixels with only selected lattice planes facing the scales’ top surface. A comparison of results obtained from optical microreflectance measurements with photonic band-structure calculations reveals that it is this sophisticated microassembly of the diamond-based crystal lattice that lends Lamprocyphus augustus its macroscopically near angle-independent green coloration."

Here are 2 other links for further reading (the one by PS is not online yet):

I appreciate the objectivity in the abstract. Compare "lattice operating", "structure is assembled", & "this sophisticated microassembly" to "Nature ... has made" & "[Nature...] has apparently devised". I haven't purchased the original article, but I hope Galusha et al. maintained their objectivity such that the credit for this animal's origin can be attributed to the Biblical God or Nature or any deity of your choice.

This deification/anthropomorphizing of Nature ... this deliberate assigning of deliberate skills to an unintelligent, abstract entity is typical of people who don't understand the Evolution/Creation debate. Take, for example, the Chairman/CEO of PS's publisher (Laurin Publishing), Teddi C. Laurin.

She kicks off this same July 2008 issue with an editorial entitled "The Science of Scheming" (p. 10; note to the editor: you forgot a period at the end of the 1st paragraph). She notes the upcoming anniversary of Darwin's 200th birthday next February, & says, "[I]n what is best described as a masterful public relations campaign, creationists & intelligent design proponents in this country have modified their fight with language designed to bypass court rulings that heretofore have prohibited the teaching of creationism in public schools."

Boy, there's irony for ya. Here's a woman who chairs a major scientific publication using language designed to bypass the scientific method, pointing an editorial finger at people like me (i.e., scientists) who dare to ask for proof of how "Nature ... has made", & question whether "[Nature...] has apparently devised".

Who is Teddi C. Laurin to tell us that an inanimate entity has made or devised anything? Where's the scientific proof of that statement? Where are the documented laboratory experiments that show random pieces of chitin becoming assembled & oriented in a way that's yet-to-be-matched by intelligent humans with access to billions of dollars' worth of opto/electro-mechanical equipment?

She goes on to guess at the "strategy" employed by creationists: "Including the 'strengths & weaknesses' of science in the classroom as a means of undermining the teaching of evolution."

It's amazing how similar this situation is to 14th/15th/16th-century Catholics in fear of Protestants learning how to read the Bible in their own languages & think for themselves. Don't they know God doesn't want any worshippers who don't speak Latin & don't believe in Transubstantiation?!?! Don't Americans know that you can't learn Science if you don't anthropomorphize Nature & believe in Evolution?!?!

Laurin laments that "in Florida classrooms, evolution is being described as a scientific theory at a time when evolution has progressed well beyond theory." According to the scientific method, after Idea comes Hypothesis, then Theory, then Law. There are no in-betweens, so Laurin is essentially touting Evolution as a Law on equal standing with Gravity & Biogenesis (which contradicts the foundation of Evolution by the way ... but I doubt Laurin has ever stopped to ponder this possibility).

Is there any other scientific idea touted as a legitimate theory like Evolution, that is not allowed to have its weaknesses presented alongside its strengths? Ain't objective scientists supposed to be busy falsifying (i.e., trying to disprove) theories, rather than GUARDING them like as if they're a precious little orphan found floating in an ark of bulrushes?

The obvious reason evolutionists don't want their weaknesses mentioned (let alone taught formally in a classroom) is that it's a faith-based religion (Evolutionism or Darwinism; take your pick), & its adherents subconsciously lack confidence in it. At least that's my explanation of this phenomenon so vividly demonstrated by Laurin.

She shows a fundamental misunderstanding of this word, "religion", by asserting, "By including these words of skepticism, education boards could be encouraged to allow discourse on religious objections in the teaching of evolution."

Dear Ms. Laurin, if your beloved Evolution could be proved or demonstrated in a classroom, why would anyone object to it?

In other words, what she's suggesting is that it's better to force-feed students an all-encompassing, all-positive, godless explanation of nature (in this country founded on a firm belief in nature's God, as articulated back in July of 1776), than to allow them to hear about the fact that there is no scientific proof of Macro-evolution (the real issue, since no creationist disputes Micro-evolution, which is simply environmental adaptation via genetic diversity).

Instead of limiting Biology classes to the teaching of things we know & can demonstrate via scientific observation, it's better (per Laurin) to brainchain them into thinking that random activity has produced complex structures like the chitin-based scales on Lamprocyphus augustus (not to mention the full bug itself).

Well, Laurin's opinion is nonsensical, & further damages impressionable young minds that peruse the pages of PS. But for those who think I'm being harsh in accusing her of causing damage & being negligent with regard to the information presented in her publication, don't worry, because she & her organization couldn't care less!

Laurin Publishing, which also includes Francis T. Laurin as President, Thomas F. Laurin as Executive Vice President, & Wendy A. Laurin as Vice President/Group Publisher, includes an interesting disclaimer on their credit-page:

"Laurin Publishing does not assume & hereby disclaims any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions in the material contained herein, regardless of whether such errors result from negligence, accident or any other cause whatsoever."

Any other cause? Such as deliberate action? Like telling readers an inanimate entity has made/devised something intricate & complex? Boy, there's a responsible scientific organization for ya. I guess that in other words, since everything evolved randomly, & we're part of everything, then nothing really matters if Laurin's information causes any loss or damage to anyone or anything thank you have a nice day.

Yes, let's keep Religion away from Science, what with all its inconvenient ethics, responsibility, moral conscience, & such. According to Laurin Publishing, the supreme law is Evolution.

Evolutionists, particularly atheists, frequently deny engaging in religious/worship activity/rituals. Laurin concludes her editorial by encouraging scientists with this innocent plea, "It behooves us as an international scientific community to maintain the purity of science in the classroom by acknowledging & supporting the pending Darwin anniversaries & events."

Wasn't a certain type of scientific "purity" a formal policy in Nazi Germany?

"The Science of Scheming" indeed.

Song of the week: "I'm Beginning To See The Light" by Bert Kaempfert (CD not available on Amazon; click here for a 25-second sample; 328kb; I would upload the entire song but I, a scientist & publisher, actually feel a sense of responsibility for my actions, unlike some science-publishers I know).
G.M. Grena

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 176 views
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Checkmate, 36 views


Anonymous said...

Do you think God cares what you or anyone else believes about how He might or might not have created anything, or how long it took if it did at all?

I think He is laughting his metaphysical head off at all of this debate.

I think He expects us to get on with our lives, and since we are all aspects of Him, this is all moot.

G.M. Grena said...

Dear "Anonymous", yes I think God cares what we believe about how everything was created. That's why it's 1 of the 10 commandments, & why Peter advised us to be ready to give an answer to anyone who challenges our reasoning. Genesis is the foundation of our history, & it adequately explains the world we live in. Jesus referenced Genesis more than any other OT book, so it was important to Him too.

I'm not sure what God laughs at, but I do know that without faith, it's impossible please God.