Posts Tagged ‘dark matter’

Why Paleontology is Not “Science”; When It Comes to Giant Pterosaur Flight, Science Believes Very Strongly Both Ways!

Church of Darwin, Crypto, s8int.com, Science, Uncategorized, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Nov 11 2010

by Chris Copyright November 2010

Re: Photo:Ancient Pacific Northcoast First Nations Artists came down firmly on the side of giant pterosaur flight? “Haida Raven Rattle” shows man on the back of large flying creature. A dragon at the rear has tongue connected to rider which was a common feature of these pieces. Comparison with Quetalcoatlus, a giant pterosaur.

There are a lot of “disciplines” out there that call themselves “science” or scientific which in fact are neither. Paleontology is one of those disciplines.

Wikipedia tells us that; “science is an enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the natural world”. An older definition of science would call it a body of knowledge that could be logically and/or convincingly explained.

Quite a bit of what passes for science these days would not fit either of those “classical” definitions of science; and this specifically includes paleontology. Early God believing practitioners of the Aristotelian method used its logic and its deductive and inductive reasoning to study and make observations about God’s creation. Modern scientific disciplines have become unscientific because its materialistic practitioners create mythologies and just so stories in order to seek to separate God from His creation.

Modern science has become religion. Modern science is about consensus. Modern science is about materialistic explanations only. Modern science is concerned with politics and right thinking. Modern science goes after non-conformists every bit as much as the Catholic Church went after Galileo.

Michael Crichton, an evolutionist, sadly now passed on once wrote:

“In recent years, much has been said about the post-modernist claims about science to the effect that science is just another form of raw power, tricked out in special claims for truth-seeking and objectivity that really have no basis in fact. Science, we are told, is no better than any other undertaking. These ideas anger many scientists, and they anger me. But recent events have made me wonder if they are correct.”…Aliens Cause Global Warming

Crichton’s specific concern was the kind of “consensus science” that surrounded disciplines like climatology and SETI. Science was now in the business of creating a consensus instead of building and organizing facts around testable hypotheses. Not only that science is now in the business of attacking the credibility and motivations of even their brother scientists whenever they failed to bow down to the paradigm, he believed.

As a current example, science has taken to identifying climate warming non adopters by the pejorative term “climate change deniers” in an attempt to cast people who have doubts about the global warming consensus in the same light as those who deny the Holocaust.

Climatology is not science. This supposed scientific discipline studies supposedly studies the history of our planet covering they believe over 4 billion years. In the past 30 years or so they have been building a consensus built upon carefully selected data for “global warming”. In the process, they attack and silence non-believers.

If this really was a science that built and organized testable explanations or that created a body of knowledge that could be logically or convincingly explained, why was the principal fear of that science as late as 1975; worldwide, global cooling?

Here is a headline from the New York Times, 1975: “Scientists Ask Why World Climate Is Changing; Major Cooling May Be Ahead; Scientists Ponder Why World’s Climate Is Changing; a Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable…by WALTER SULLIVAN, The New York Times
May 21, 1975”.

A discipline that comes to diametrically opposing conclusions within the span of 35 or 40 years about the weather of a planet supposedly 4.5 billion years old has no predictive or scientific value whatsoever. That’s why climatology is not a science. (see All The Really Smart People Believe in Man-Made Global Warming)

Can we say that Genetics is not science? Clearly there are aspects of genetics that fit the classical definitions of science. However, as I.L. Cohen, Researcher and Mathematician and member of the NY Academy of Sciences noted “At that moment, when the DNA/RNA system became understood, the debate between Evolutionists and Creationists should have come to a screeching halt…….”

He said that because design and intelligence are now obvious and inherent characteristics of the DNA/RNA system. DNA is a language that contains an unimaginable amount of data that is stored in the cells of everything living. DNA is not only a language like English or Russian, it conveys a Message to every living cell that components of the cell understand and execute. Life could not exist without the DNA/RNA system because the instructions for life are conveyed by the system.

Any science that ignores this obvious truth and instead mythologizes a materialistic “explanation” for DNA’s creation and existence cannot be called a science. After all, it is ill-logical and thus anti-scientific to find a message in literally every living cell and not to understand that someone or something intelligent sent that message. The contents of the message conveyed by this langauge in the smallest single bacterium cell is beyond the technology of man.

As an additional blemish on their scientific credentials; “scientists” named a portion of DNA that they did not have the capacity to understand “junk DNA” believing at the time it had no function. As time has passed and it’s become clear that those sections of DNA in fact have very important functions, the term junk science would seem to have been more appropriate.

Cosmology is not a science. The big bang is not a theory; (a hypotheses backed by testing data) it is a materialistic philosophical mythology. How can a scientific explanation fail to explain upwards of 97% of observation? This is in fact the exact opposite of the classical definitions of science. Dark matter and dark energy are two place fillers invented out of darkened imaginations to account for observations in the real world that the theory doesn’t contemplate and can’t explain.

Neither dark matter nor dark energy can be seen or detected. They are invisible, undetectable and mythological in exactly the same way fairies are. This is why cosmology is not science.

Sometimes even “hard science” like physics isn’t science. Not when it has to do the bidding of materialists. In the last several decades it’s become abundantly clear that we live in an anthropic universe. That is, it’s become clear that the universe was created to cradle life and even more disturbing for some; that this planet and solar system have many characteristics seemingly tailored for life.

In desperation, superstring theory; a mythology that there exist an infinite number of universes inhabiting the same space and that we just happen to be one among those infinite universes that supports life has been created out of vivid imagination, materialistic philosophy and chewing gum? Of course, the multi-verses of superstring theory can not be seen, detected. The theory is untestable. This lack of “testability” is precisely why materialists claim that “special creation” is not scientific.

A paleontologist is a “scientist” who studies the history of life on earth, focusing on organisms that lived in the distant past. Paleontologists can wax for hours about the “Cambrian Explosion” and the “Great Dying” mostly without even realizing that they are describing creation and the fall from Genesis.

Paleontology is the kind of science where someone with a PhD can publish an article in a scientific journal suggesting that “maybe” a mutation in a single protein-led to smaller jaw muscles in an ape—which then gave them more room in their skulls to develop a larger “human” brain. This scientific mythology was reported worldwide. One can only surmise that the authors of this “scientific article” and those who accepted it must have had disturbingly large jaw muscles?

Paleontological scientific findings are slavishly reported by the news media and fawned over by materialists because it is the scientific discipline that most directly seeks to support Darwinism and materialism. Evolutionary theory is most often seen through the lenses of this “science”. One with an open mind would be hard pressed to discover one thing that paleontologists are correct about. On the other hand, no one speaks with more apparent authority than the paleontologists. Every body that they study is already dead after all; whose going to contradict?

Remember Ida, the fossil that was supposed to be an early human ancestor that was going to change everything? The subject of the simultaneous release of a book and a documentary and much slavish media reporting in April 2009 did not in the end make most if any of the most prominent Top 10 Scientific Stories of the year lists. How is this possible for a science? (see Fossil Ida; Evolutionists Now Dare Not Speak Its Name)

Well, paleontologists practically invented the phrase; “scientists had previously thought”.

Apologists for non-science science often snootily declare that this is what is great about science; its always willing to admit its mistakes and then to move forward. This is what is admirable about science they say.

Perhaps this is true, but meanwhile; the patient is dead.

In April 2009, a study was published and then breathlessly reported worldwide to the effect that Giant Pterosaurs, a creature supposedly extinct for more that 65 million years, could not fly. “Giant Pterosaurs Couldn’t Fly, Study Suggests”

It’s a mystery how natural selection working through beneficial mutations could confer evolutionary advantage to a creature with giant, useless wings but that is paleontology for you; its not rocket science—its not even science. Shut up and believe.

The study was published by study leader Katsufumi Sato, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo’s Ocean Research Institute.

“Based on the weights and body sizes of modern birds, a new study finds that animals heavier than 90 pounds (41 kilograms) with wingspans greater than 16.7 feet (5.1 meters) wouldn’t be able to flap fast enough to stay aloft.”, the study concluded.

The conclusion casts serious doubt on the flying ability of large pterosaurs such as Quetzalcoatlus, thought to be one of the largest airborne animals of all time.

Dutifully, other scientists began surmising that these giant pterosaurs were swimmers instead. Materialistic science teachers passed this new information on to their students. Young evolution influenced kids began drawing versions of wingless pterosaurs and posting them on evolution websites looking for approval.

Posters on sites like Talk Origins went on and used this new “scientific information” to berate believers. “Why would God create a giant pterosaur that couldn’t fly”? Why would evolution do that they forgot to ask themselves….what would be the evolutionary advantage?

Anyway, another scientist in the paleontological world was working on his own study regarding pterosaur flight. Now, if both of these studies were scientific, and relied on building testable hypotheses or built knowledge bases etc….. One might say, how could they do that? The creatures they study or just bits and pieces of fossilized bones, I would say; “exactly correct” and that again is why paleontology is not science.

Paleontologist Michael Habib offered new findings about giant pterosaurs based on “new models of their wingspans, shape and body mass”. His study was reported on October 18, 2010 in National Geographic News approximately 18 months after the prior study had been reported on, also in National Geographic News.

Now would Habib’s study support Sato’s no fly theory? Would it perhaps suggest that well…..maybe they could fly a little bit given a strong wind, a one thousand foot cliff and Air Jordans?

The title of the new study or at least of the News articles tell the story: “Prehistoric Reptile Could Fly 10,000 Miles”.

“It’s now believed that some of the larger pterosaurs, such as this Tropeognathus mesembrinus, could fly as far as 10,000 miles at a time.

Whether you learned in school to call them pterodactyls or pteranodons, pterosaur fossils have been found all around the world and lived from 65 million to 200 million years ago.

They ranged in size from some with an average wingspan of 6 feet to the giant giraffe-sized Quetzalcoatlus of Texas that could reach up to a 30-foot wingspan.”

Quetzalcoatlus was one of the giant pterosaurs specifically mentioned in the prior article as not being able to get itself off the ground.

Evolution is incredibly flexible and malleable and so are its believers. You see how the article explains that they now believe something diametrically opposed to what they firmly believed only 18 months ago?

Remarkable. That’s why paleontology is more religion; faith and belief than it is science.

Paleontologists have certainly covered the bases here when it comes to giant pterosaur flight. There is one thing that we now know with “scientific certainty”; giant pterosaurs either could not get off the ground and couldn’t so much as even flap their wings—or they were the greatest terrestrial flyers of all time! One scientist claims that his study shows that giant pterosaurs could not get off the ground. The second study indicates that they were the greatest fliers of all time.

Meanwhile, the news media slavishly reports the new information without reference to the old information and certianly without criticism or their own analysis. Materialistic science teachers passed this new information on to their students. Young evolution influenced kids began drawing versions of space-going pterosaurs and posting them on evolution websites looking for approval.

Posters on sites like Talk Origins will now go on and try to use this new “scientific information” to berate believers.

Giant Pterosaurs Couldn’t Fly Study Suggests

Prehistoric Reptile Could Fly 10,000 Miles

Cosmic Chess: The Copernican Gambit?

Church of Darwin, Religious, s8int.com, Science, Uncategorized, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 06 2009


Psalm 96:5
For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens

Prior to the Copernican Revolution which did not begin until 200 years after the publication of his book; On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres in 1543, science and the world generally adhered to the Ptolemaic model of the universe, which had the earth at its center, with the sun revolving around it.

This view of the universe appealed to Christians and to science and for the most part, they were one in the same. The appeal came from Genesis; if God created the heavens and the earth and man was His principal creation in that universe, then it would make sense for the world to revolve around him metaphorically and for the rest of the universe to be centered around the earth in actuality.

Of course, the Bible itself never claimed the earth as the universe’s center or that the sun revolved around it, a fact that seems to be lost on modern day Atheistic book authors. It was in fact science that promoted the Ptolemaic model remembering that in those days most scientists played on “God’s team”-or thought they were.

Many point to the acceptance and realization that Copernicus was correct as the beginning of the scientific revolution. The Ptolemaic view of the universe had tended to keep the Atheists in check in the game of cosmic chess. This was because it appeared to tie Genesis to a specific view of the universe that seemed to in return support the Genesis account of creation.

Copernicus got them out of check. Before that, all the Atheists could do was move their pawns back and forth.

Intellectuals who wanted to disbelieve in God were seeking a rational method of understanding the universe and its creation that excluded God. The scientific revolution that began with the understanding that not only did the sun not revolve around the earth, but that we might be located at some insignificant address in the universe rather than on Main street created the climate that allowed Darwinism to be acceptable.

Darwin finally provided Atheists and Materialists with a “rational” model for believing in a self causing universe. Dawkins famously said that it allowed him to be intellectually fulfilled. After the acceptance of Darwin’s theory by science, the big bang theory gave Cosmologists a companion “material causes theory” for the creation of the universe.

Unfortunately for Materialists, the promise of science has not materialized (pun intended). It turns out that the more we know, the less palatable are the big bang standard model and the more design in the universe and in living cells becomes apparent (intelligent design).

“……driving the superstring craze (infinite parallel universes) is the desire to escape intelligent design. The fine-tuning of the laws of physics for our existence has been studied now for well over 60 years. There’s no escaping the anthropic principle.

If the laws and constants of physics were not what they are, we could not be here to study them. Theists have a ready answer for this. The God who spoke the universe and its laws into existence formed it to be inhabited. That cosmologists would escape into multiple universes to avoid the obvious is a measure of extreme desperation.

Where did this desperation come from? Think back to the late 19th century, when Darwinism was on the rise. Various social, political, economic and philosophical trends were moving away from natural theology and toward philosophical materialism. The Myth of Progress was the “in” thing. Materialists such as Tyndall and Huxley inculcated a third-order theory change: a change in what constitutes science itself. There were two sides to this theory change: an exclusion, and an inclusion. Moreland explains that Darwinism was an attempt to exclude theology from science. As a consequence, this led to the inclusion of storytelling. “ CreationEvolutionHeadlines.com

The Copernican Gambit

In this cosmic game of chess, which has been going on at least from the time of the scientific revolution, there have been moves and countermoves on the part of Theists and Materialists with respect to the origin of the universe.

We live in a universe fine tuned for life. This knowledge grudgingly comes from science, not from believers, even though it is what we would expect. Science is stuck on its side of the chessboard throwing out weird defenses like dark matter and dark energy which is needed to make big bang work. This dark matter and energy which accounts for 95% of matter and energy can’t be seen, tested or measured. This kind of thing, along with superstring theory, which also can’t be falsified or tested, is making it difficult for the well read Materialist to be intellectually fulfilled.

But now, scientists “Blake Temple and Joel Smoller, mathematicians at the University of California and the University of Michigan, believe they have come up with a whole new set of calculations that allow for all the sums to add up without the need for this controversial substance.” ..Telegraph.co.uk

At the last moment, a new strategy; the Copernican Gambit; a possible way to fix the big bang theory and to free materialists from the pressure of defending a theory that only accounts for 4% to 5% of observations. Can materialistic creation be saved?

‘The new research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, is likely to be equally controversial as the work it purports to challenge especially as it relies on our galaxy being at the centre of the Universe”…. Telegraph.co.uk

The Copernican principle is the presumption that there is nothing special about our place in space and time; neither us humans nor our planet.

“Just when we thought we were out, (of the center) they pulled us back in”!

It probably should be called the “Reverse Copernican Gambit”.

Check—mate?

Dark energy may not actually exist, scientists claim
By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Telegraph.Co.UK 18 Aug 2009

Dark energy – the mysterious substance thought to make up three-quarters of the universe – may not actually exist, claims new research.

The concept of dark energy was created by cosmologists to fit Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity into reality after modern space telescopes discovered that the Universe was not behaving as it should.

According to Einstein’s work, the speed at which the Universe is expanding following the Big Bang should be slower than it actually is and this unexplained anomaly threatened to turn the whole theory upside down. In order to reconcile this problem the concept of dark energy was invented.

Are we being overloaded? But now Blake Temple and Joel Smoller, mathematicians at the University of California and the University of Michigan, believe they have come up with a whole new set of calculations that allow for all the sums to add up without the need for this controversial substance.

The research could change the way astronomers view the composition of our Universe.

The Standard Model of Cosmology, which describes the evolution of the Universe, begins with the Big Bang. Astronomers have recently observed that the galaxies are accelerating as they move away from each other, and cosmologists have sought to explain this unexpected acceleration by introducing the concept of dark energy, which permeates space, propels matter, and accounts for nearly 75 percent of the mass-energy in our Universe.

The new research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, is likely to be equally controversial as the work it purports to challenge especially as it relies on our galaxy being at the centre of the Universe – a concept that has been generally disregarded in modern science.

Dr Malcom Fairbairn, particle cosmologist at King’s College London, said: “Ever since the concept of dark energy was first mentioned people have been trying to explain it or explain it away. It is a mystery and an inconvenience.

“This is one attempt at it. Whether it is right only time will tell.”

The Origin of Life: the Chirality Problem

Church of Darwin, s8int.com, Science, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Mar 17 2009


Photo;s8int.com

Nothing beats the creative imagination and storytelling capabilities of the darwinists. However, some other branches of science are quickly catching up. Theorectical science has it seems become largely a right brain function where storytelling and creative thinking have had to come to the fore in an attempt to explain the unacceptable.

For instance; problems with the big bang theory? Science creatively invents dark matter and now dark energy; both invisible and undetectable to support a theory that otherwise wouldn’t fit observation and measurement. Note that “dark matter” isn’t supposed to merely exist at the margins, up to 95% of the universe is said to be made up of this invisible stuff.

String theory is a story created by cosmologists-and others to account for the maddening (for science) realization that we live in an anthropic universe–one it appears–that is specifically tailored for life. Creatively, science is hanging its hat on the idea that this problem is explainable because there are actually an infinite number of universes occupying the same space and that we just happen to live in the one universe that can support life. Naturally, those other universes are undetectable.

How did a complex language get into the cells of everything living? Pretend that it makes perfect sense that languages which can be read and understood by both a sender and a reciever can, arise by chance without intelligence or a designer.

Another vexing problem for materialists is the chirality problem. Basically, amino acids occur in nature as either “right handed” or “left handed” on a 50%/50% basis. If life randomly assembled itself under these conditions, how to account for the fact that living organisms are made up of only the “left handed” versions? There is no biochemical reason why this should be so. The answer; maybe the life in this universe was seeded by asteroids and meteorites from outer space-which were entirely left-handed!

Notice how many times “maybe” and “could of” and the like appear in a “hard science” article. For more information on this “problem”, see Origin of Life and the Chirality Problem, by Jonathan Sarfati ….s8int.com

The Scientist: NewsBlog:
Did lefty molecules seed life?
Posted by Elie Dolgin
16th March 2009

The molecular orientation of compounds brought to Earth by meteorites could have determined the world’s chemistry long before life began, according to a new study published online today (Mar. 16) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Amino acids come in left-handed and right-handed forms, which, like a pair of human hands, are mirror images that cannot be superimposed onto each other. Yet living organisms use only the left-handed version, which presents a conundrum: There’s no biochemical reason why one mirror image should be better than the other, so scientists have long debated whether life’s left-handed leaning arose because of random processes or whether rocks from outer space seeded a southpaw solar system.

The current study argues for the latter possibility by showing that some extraterrestrial meteorites contain an abundance of left-handed molecules. “The implications are that all life in our solar system could be the same handedness as life on Earth,” Jeffrey Bada, a geochemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., who was not involved in the research, told The Scientist.

Daniel Glavin and Jason Dworkin, astrobiologists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, compared the ratio of left- and right-handed 5-carbon amino acids found in six primitive, carbon-rich meteorites that have an elemental composition similar to that presumably found in the early solar system. Three of these rocks were heavily left-skewed, while the remaining three showed equal handedness, or chirality, the researchers found. Of the lefty rocks, the meteorite that fell on Murchison, Australia, in 1969 — arguably the most widely studied carbonaceous meteorite in the world — contained the largest imbalance ever observed: a 18.5% excess of the left-handed form of the amino acid isovaline.

“There really is a large, 15 to 20% excess for this particular amino acid, and it has important implications for homochirality [single-handedness] and the origins of life,” Glavin told The Scientist.

Maybe life was biased toward left-handedness in our solar system” said Dworkin. The possibility that left-handed amino acids are so prevalent in our solar system is “bad news in looking for independent origins of life,” he noted, because it decreases the chances of researchers stumbling upon an organism that uses only right-handed amino acids — a clear trademark of alien life. “But it’s also good news” for the possibility of a second origin, because single-handedness is essential for biotic chemistry as we know it. Thus, a meteorite-driven imbalance could have helped “jumpstart” early life, he said.

Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist and astrobiologist at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe who was not involved in the study, was not convinced by this argument. “Even if there’s this slight excess at the outset there has to be some sort of mechanism that’s going to amplify that to make it 100%,” he said.

The mechanism that Glavin and Dworkin propose to explain the observed left-handed excess is that polarized light — which is twisted and can rotate molecules — probably set the imbalance in motion. Then, once the balance was slightly askew, water within the meteorites further drove an enrichment of left-handed amino acids in the liquid phase and relegated right-handed molecules to the solid phase. “The whole amplification is due to this process of aqueous alteration,” said Dworkin.

But the link between water-bearing rocks and a left-handed skew is just a correlation, said ASU biochemist Sandra Pizzarello, who was also not involved with the work. “It’s just a supposition,” she said. “I would have liked them to back it up with physico-chemical possibilities.”

Glavin pointed to the work of Columbia University’s Ronald Breslow and Imperial College’s Donna Blackmond, which has demonstrated that this so-called “enantiomeric enrichment” can occur in a liquid phase, such as the one found during the melting of ice inside the meteorites’ parent asteroid.

Still, even if aqueous alteration can explain the build-up of left-handed molecules, it doesn’t explain the disappearance of their mirror images, noted Robert Hazen, a geochemist at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, DC. “Where did the right-handed amino acids go? They had to go somewhere else… There has to be a destruction process.”

Bada also noted that the left-skewed, 5-carbon amino acids described by the authors are not the same molecules that are used by life on Earth. The 20-odd protein building blocks that living beings rely on showed no such bias in the meteorites, the NASA researchers found, so to get homochirality in life there would need to be some mechanism of transferring the single-handedness between different types of amino acids.

The origins of life remain “one of those bewildering things,” Bada said. “If there was a straight-forward answer for the homochirality of amino acids, I think we would have found it.”

THE CREDIT CRUNCH FOR MATERIALISM

Church of Darwin, Science, Uncategorized, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Jan 12 2009

by RUPERT SHELDRAKE

Biologist; Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project; author of A New Science of Life. In reply to the question posed by “The Edge Foundation: What Will Change Everything? What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?”

Credit crunches happen because of too much credit and too many bad debts. Credit is literally belief, from the Latin credo, “I believe.” Once confidence ebbs, the loss of trust is self-reinforcing. The game changes.

Something similar is happening with materialism.

Since the nineteenth century, its advocates have promised that science will explain everything in terms of physics and chemistry; science will show that there is no God and no purpose in the universe; it will reveal that God is a delusion inside human minds and hence in human brains; and it will prove that brains are nothing but complex machines.

Materialists are sustained by the faith that science will redeem their promises, turning their beliefs into facts. Meanwhile, they live on credit. The philosopher of science Sir Karl Popper described this faith as “promissory materialism” because it depends on promissory notes for discoveries not yet made. Despite all the achievements of science and technology, it is facing an unprecedented credit crunch.

In 1963, when I was studying biochemistry at Cambridge I was invited to a series of private meetings with Francis Crick and Sydney Brenner in Brenner’s rooms in King’s College, along with a few of my classmates. They had just cracked the genetic code. Both were ardent materialists.

They explained there were two major unsolved problems in biology: development and consciousness. They had not been solved because the people who worked on them were not molecular biologists – nor very bright. Crick and Brenner were going to find the answers within 10 years, or maybe 20. Brenner would take development, and Crick consciousness. They invited us to join them.

Both tried their best. Brenner was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2002 for his work on the development of the nematode worm Caenorhabdytis. Crick corrected the manuscript of his final paper on the brain the day before he died in 2004. At his funeral, his son Michael said that what made him tick was not the desire to be famous, wealthy or popular, but “to knock the final nail into the coffin of vitalism.”

He failed. So did Brenner. The problems of development and consciousness remain unsolved. Many details have been discovered, dozens of genomes have been sequenced, and brain scans are ever more precise. But there is still no proof that life and minds can be explained by physics and chemistry alone.

The fundamental proposition of materialism is that matter is the only reality. Therefore consciousness is nothing but brain activity. However, among researchers in neuroscience and consciousness studies there is no consensus. Leading journals such as Behavioural and Brain Sciences and the Journal of Consciousness Studies publish many articles that reveal deep problems with the materialist doctrine.

For example, Steven Lehar argues that inside our heads there must be a miniaturized virtual-reality full-colour three-dimensional replica of the world. When we look at the sky, the sky is in our heads. Our skulls are beyond the sky. Others, like the psychologist Max Velmans, argue that virtual reality displays are not confined to our brains; they are life-sized, not miniaturized. Our visual perceptions are outside our skulls, just where they seem to be.

The philosopher David Chalmers has called the very existence of subjective experience the “hard problem” of consciousness because it defies explanation in terms of mechanisms. Even if we understand how eyes and brains respond to red light, for example, the quality of redness is still unaccounted for.

In biology and psychology the credit-rating of materialism is falling fast. Can physics inject new capital? Some materialists prefer to call themselves physicalists, to emphasize that their hopes depend on modern physics, not nineteenth-century theories of matter. But physicalism’s credit-rating has been reduced by physics itself, for four reasons.

First, some physicists argue that quantum mechanics cannot be formulated without taking into account the minds of observers; hence minds cannot be reduced to physics, because physics presupposes minds.

Second, the most ambitious unified theories of physical reality, superstring and M theories, with 10 and 11 dimensions respectively, take science into completely new territory. They are a very shaky foundation for materialism, physicalism or any other pre-established belief system. They are pointing somewhere new.

Third, the known kinds of matter and energy constitute only about 4% of the universe. The rest consists of dark matter and dark energy. The nature of 96% of physical reality is literally obscure.

Fourth, the cosmological anthropic principle asserts that if the laws and constants of nature had been slightly different at the moment of the Big Bang, biological life could never have emerged, and hence we would not be here to think about it. So did a divine mind fine-tune the laws and constants in the beginning?

Some cosmologists prefer to believe that our universe is one of a vast, and perhaps infinite, number of parallel universes, all with different laws and constants. We just happen to exist in the one that has the right conditions for us.

In the eyes of skeptics, the multiverse theory is the ultimate violation of Occam’s Razor, the principle that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily. But even so, it does not succeed in getting rid of God. An infinite God could be the God of an infinite number of universes.

Here on Earth we are facing climate change, great economic uncertainty, and cuts in science funding. Confidence in materialism is draining away. Its leaders, like central bankers, keep printing promissory notes, but it has lost its credibility as the central dogma of science. Many scientists no longer want to be 100% invested in it.

Materialism’s credit crunch changes everything. As science is liberated from this nineteenth-century ideology, new perspectives and possibilities will open up, not just for science, but for other areas of our culture that are dominated by materialism. And by giving up the pretence that the ultimate answers are already known, the sciences will be freer – and more fun.