[1] “Watch Episode #2 of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos: Explains the Reality of Evolution,” Open Culture, March 18, 2014.

Quotes in the text without a direct footnote are from the closed captioned text of this link of Cosmos Episode #2.

Anatomy of the Eye,” LensShopper,

“The eye can be compared to a camera. They both gather light and transform it into a picture that we can interpret. They both focus the incoming light with the help of a lens. The eye uses the retina to produce an image whilst the camera uses film. To learn more about the inner workings of the eye, just click on the name of the corresponding part in the animation below.”

[2] “Neil de Grasse Tyson Smacks Down Creationists who are Demanding Equal Time on Cosmos,” PoliticusUSA, March 23, 2014.

“The success of Fox’s science documentary series “Cosmos” has so rattled creationists unable to cast doubt on de Grasse Tyson’s methodical presentation of fact-based information about the Universe that creationists are demanding equal time on the program. Their goal is simple; cast doubt on empirical scientific data about how the Universe and life on Earth came into existence using archaic mythology they claim refutes science and proves the creation myth is fact. Fortunately, de Grasse Tyson, a forward thinking and intelligent man disabused creationists of the idea they will ever get equal time on Cosmos when he said, You don’t talk about the spherical Earth with NASA, and then say let’s give equal time to the flat Earthers.’ There is no way a noted scientist is going to give equal time to ancient mythology to waste time when he could be presenting science.

“De Grasse Tyson stated, as plainly as possible, that The theory of evolution, like the theory of gravity, is a scientific fact.’ Creationists still cannot understand what scientific theory’ means, but Tyson’s simile makes the point that even creationists believe gravity is real and not as they claim evolution is, just a theory and unproven. If the think gravity is just a theory, they should step off the top of Empire State Building to prove the theory’ of gravity is just an unproven idea postulated by some crazed liberal scientist.

Danielle Wiener-Bronner and Abby Ohlheiser, “Neil deGrasse Tyson Addresses Creationists’ Evolution Fears in Cosmos'” TheWire.com, March 17, 2014.

“Danielle: Speaking of fights, the first episode of Cosmos prepared us to expect an exploration of the clash between science and religion, and the second one certainly delivered. The molecules episode addresses evolution, perhaps the most contentious topic in this debate, head on and without apology. The episode opens with an explanation how artificial selection,’ or human-driven natural selection, works. The humans-sculpted-evolution thing actually seems like kind of a neat trick — Tyson is basically saying that just because evolution is true it doesn’t mean that humans are powerless, a notion that seems to be what scares people off from believing in evolution in the first place.”

[3] “NASA Takes You Through a Real-Life Cosmos’,” NBC News Science / Space,

“Feast your eyes on astronomical images from NASA that inspired (and are inspired by) the “Cosmos” TV series.”

 “A dramatic view of the well-known Ring Nebula is formed in a composite image that incorporates visible-light observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and infrared data from the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona. A stylized view of the Ring Nebula serves as an icon for the new “Cosmos” TV series, hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.”


 [4] “16 extrememly detailed close ups of the human eye,” justsomething.com,

“There’s something incredibly fascinating in watching things from a closer perspective. Probably it’s just because we are not used to that kind of view, but every time we see a great macro shot we cannot help but stare at it.

“That’s exactly what happened when we saw these incredible close up photos of the human eye captured by Armenian photographer Suren Manvelyan. These pictures are part of his photo series Your beautiful eyes, that is his most popular project to date.”

[5] “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;” (1 Timothy 6:13) KJV

“I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,” (1 Timothy 6:13) ESV

A Native American Prayer.

“A Native American Prayer

Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds,

and whose breath gives life to all things, hear me.

I come to you as one of your many children.

I am small and weak, I need your strength and your wisdom.

May I walk in beauty. May my eyes ever behold the glorious sunrise,

and may they see as much mystery in your small miracles as in your great ones.

Make my hands respect the things you have created,

and my ears sharp enough to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may know the things you have taught your children,

the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.

Make me strong, not to overcome my brothers,

but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself.

Make me ever ready to come to you with pure hands and straight eyes,

so that when my life fades as the fading sunset,

my spirit may come to you and stand before you, without shame.” [emphasis added]

[6] “Watch Episode #2 of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos: Explains the Reality of Evolution,” Open Culture, March 18, 2014.

Extract from episode. Note that closed captioning is included with this link.

“If life has a sanctuary, it’s here in the nucleus which contains our DNA, the ancient scripture of our genetic code. And it is written in a language that all life can read. DNA is a molecule shaped like a long twisted ladder or double helix. … We are, each or us, a little universe.”

RPMNote: Scientists have no idea how the cell that runs this language is created or how the required interpretative interfaces allow “all life [to] read [it].” Reverence is supposedly given to our DNA as “ancient scripture,” and yet the miracles of life’s creation, design, adaptability and progress are all attributed to the results of chance mutations.

The atheistic tone of the series and the continuing straw man caricatures of religion and philosophy that is not completely materialistic remind me of Isaiah’s comments on the attitude that would prevail in our day when the Book of Mormon would come forth.

“For shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” (Isaiah 29:16)

The script also reminds me of the statement by the Lord Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York, likely on the date, Sunday, March 26, 1820.

“They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Joseph Smith History 1:19)

Looking at the language of life, created by God, they deny that the language along with its syntax and semantics was created at all by intelligence.

See also: Peter Forbes, “The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine,” The Guardian, 19 March 2010.

A review of the book by this name by Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

“The cover of The Language of Life carries Obama’s endorsement: “His groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease.” His is a brilliant appointment, albeit controversial among some scientists: Collins is the highest-profile scientist and public administrator who is also a proselytising Christian. His previous book, The Language of God, contains both the most concise exposition I have read on why evolution is demonstrable fact and a moving account of his religious conversion from early atheism to strong belief. This stance has brought him into conflict both with Richard Dawkins and with Christian groups in the US. But, as right-wing attacks on evolution and global warming science broaden into a generalised anti-science movement, Collins is an important figure – someone who can wrong-foot people who have polarised attitudes.”

See also: Francis S. Collins< “the Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief,” 2006

“An instant bestseller, The Language of God provides the best argument for the integration of faith and logic since C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity .”

“It has long been believed that science and faith cannot mingle. Faith rejects the rational, while science restricts us to a life with no meaning beyond the physical. It is an irreconcilable war between two polar-opposite ways of thinking and living. Written for believers, agnostics, and atheists alike, The Language of God provides a testament to the power of faith in the midst of suffering without faltering from its logical stride. Readers will be inspired by Collin’s personal story of struggling with doubt, as well as the many revelations of the wonder of God’s creation that will forever shape the way they view the world around them.”

[7] And man is not the only living being that seems to have language abilities.

Ronald P. Millett and John P. Pratt, “Prairie Dog Language?” Meridian Magazine, May 19, 2005.

“Prairie dogs use a sophisticated vocabulary in their warning barks, which again raises the question of whether mankind alone communicates by audible language.”

[8] Ronald P. Millett, “Stars Slingshot around our Milky Way’s Central Black Hole,” 2011.

“A recent study of the very center of the Milky Way galaxy tracked some of the closest central stars rapidly orbiting around a giant black hole.”

Cassini Solstice Mission: Gravity Assists/Flybys,” JPL of CalTech.

“Several robotic spacecraft have taken advantage of the “gravity assist” technique to reach their targets of exploration in distant areas of the solar system. For example, Voyager 2 launched in August 1977 and flew by Jupiter, using “gravity assist” for a trajectory boost to Saturn. Voyager 1 launched the following month and did the same (reaching Jupiter before Voyager 2 did). Voyager 2 then obtained an assist from Saturn and another one later from Uranus, climbing all the way to Neptune and beyond. Galileo used “gravity assist” to get one boost from Venus and two from Earth, while orbiting the Sun en route to Jupiter, its final destination. The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft took two “assists” from Venus, one from Earth, and another from Jupiter to gain enough momentum to reach Saturn.”

[9] Except for hand waving about creating some amino acids in a test tube or in a cometary collision with an asteroid, the origin of the amazing machinery of the living cell remains a mystery as far as a natural scientific explanation is concerned. The seamless functioning of the cell’s processes and its execution of the complex programming specified in the DNA code is a world within a world that allows life to flourish.

In an interview with atheist evolutionist Richard Dawkins, “[the interviewer Ben] Stein puts to Dawkins a simple question, ‘How did life begin?’ … Dawkins, however, frankly admits that he has no idea. … Evolution has no explanation for how life got started in the first place. Darwin was very clear about this. … In order for evolution to take place, there had to be a living cell. The difficulty for atheists is that even this original cell is a work of labrynthine complexity.” Charles Darwin himself stated in his famous book Origin of Species that “Science as yet throws no light on the far higher problem of the essence or origin of life.”

Quotes and Excerpts, “Expelled! No Intelligence Allowed by Ben Stein,” 2008.

Darwin quote: Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, p. 637

“Origin of Life Project: First Annual Review,” originlife.org, July 2013.

“The Origin of Life Challenge addresses the fundamental question: How did life begin on planet Earth? While there are many creation myths, some going back thousands of years, the most well-known one today is the Genesis story in the Judeo-Christian Bible. But the only honest answer is that we simply do not know. Not only do we not know the how,’ we also do not know the where.’ Some researchers have proposed that life began in hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. Others lean toward the warm little pond,’ first suggested by Charles Darwin in the 19 th Century. Still others have proposed that life (or at least the organic compounds of life) arrived on Earth from outer space. But that only begs the question: How and where was life created out there’ and how did it get from there to here, perhaps from Mars or from other nearby solar systems.”

RPMNote: This does not sound like the same level of certainty that we have about the law of gravity as we fly an aircraft or a space probe. Whatever the DNA language of life does, randomly or not, within living cells, is miraculous and remains a scientific frontier.

[10] “UP: Be prepared to not give UP hope!”

My great friend Eldon G. Lytle wrote a paper called “Come on up” that is a fun read exploring the complexities of language. He diagrams the sentence “COME ON UP FROM OUT OF DOWN IN UNDER THERE (BY THE STAIRS) WHERE …”

Eldon G. Lytle, “Come on up,” Linguistics International, Inc., 1985.

And, of course, the Dr. Seuss favorite:

Dr. Seuss, “Great day for up,” 1975.

[11] “Watch Episode #2 of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos: Explains the Reality of Evolution,” Open Culture, March 18, 2014.

Description of a mutation that results in the polar bear evolving from the brown bear.

“The DNA message handed down from cell to cell and from generation to generation is copied with extreme care…. Occasionally a proofreading error slips through making a small, random change in the genetic instructions. A mutation has occurred in the bear’s egg cell. … As a result of that mutation, one of her two cubs was born with a white coat. … Mutations are entirely random and happen all the time. But the environment rewards those that increase the chance for survival. It naturally selects the living things that are better suited to survive. And that selection is the opposite of random.”

“This is the awesome shape shifting power of natural selection. … Science reveals that all life on Earth is one. Darwin discovered the actual mechanism of evolution. The prevailing belief was that the complexity and variety of life must be the work of an intelligent designer who created each of these millions of different species separately. Living things are just too intricate, it was said, to be the result of unguided evolution.”

Casey Luskin, “Cosmos episode 2: Mindless Evolution’ Has All the answers – If You don’t Think About it Too Deeply,” Evolution News and Views, March 17, 2014.

“With more eye-popping CGI and new splendid scenes of Neil deGrasse Tyson touring the solar system in his high-tech spaceship, Cosmos Episode 2 weighed in Sunday night on some of life’s most profound questions. Toward the end of the episode, Tyson honestly admits, “Nobody knows how life got started,” and even says, “We’re not afraid to admit what we don’t know,” since “the only shame is to pretend we know all the answers.” By this late stage of the episode, however, that came off as a nervously inserted qualification since the rest of the episode had so vigorously argued that what Tyson calls the “transforming power” of “mindless evolution” or “unguided evolution” indeed has all the answers to how life evolved on Earth. Except, that is, for a few cases where evolution was guided by human breeders, through “artificial selection.”

“Tyson’s main argument that selection and mutation can evolve anything focuses on the evolution of the eye. Here, he attacks intelligent design by name, noting that some have argued that life “must be the work of an intelligent designer” that “created each of these species separately.” I’ve never heard of an ID proponent who requires that every single species was created separately, so that’s a straw man. Tyson calls the human eye a “masterpiece” of complexity, and claims it “poses no challenge to evolution by natural selection.” But do we really know this is true?”

[12] Ronald P. Millett, “Elder Russell M. Nelson and Chance Evolution Fallacies,” Meridian Magazine, July 2, 2013.

“Examples of Processes Similar to Evolution’s Theoretical Components:

“What about a water treatment plant? There is a world of difference between a plant with input from a mostly unpolluted well vs. input from the polluted liquid sludge from a Mississippi River flood. The plant’s performance or even its ability to purify anything at all would be affected by this input.

“What about an electrical transformer? It must process the power fed into it. It too is a serial system where the second component depends on input from the first component. What about the difference between mostly clean power from the electrical grid going into the transformer vs. the erratic power levels from a lightning strike or an electromagnetic pulse (EMP)? Ordered and clean power input and it does its job. Random and erratic power levels coming in and the transformer might burn out.”

[13] Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, New York:W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1986, pp. 307-308.

Online at: evolbiol.ru/

“Nowadays, and unfairly, this seems all the more absurd to us because we are brought up to believe that mutations are random’. If mutations are random, then, by definition, they cannot be biased towards improvement. But the mutationist school did not, of course, regard mutations as random. They thought that the body had a built-in tendency to change in certain directions rather than others, though they left open the question of how the body knew’ what changes would be good for it in the future. While we write this off as mystical nonsense, it is important for us to be clear exactly what we mean when we say that mutation is random. There is randomness and randomness, and many people confuse different meanings of the word. There are, in truth, many respects in which mutation is not random. All I would insist on is that these respects do not include anything equivalent to anticipation of what would make life better for the animal. And something equivalent to anticipation would indeed be needed if mutation, without selection, were to be used to explain evolution. It is instructive to look a little further at the senses in which mutation is, and is not, random.

“The first respect in which mutation is non-random is this. Mutations are caused by definite physical events; they don’t just spontaneously happen. They are induced by so-called mutagens’ (dangerous because they often start cancers): X-rays, cosmic rays, radioactive substances, various chemicals, and even other genes called mutator genes’. Second, not all genes in any species are equally likely to mutate. Every locus on the chromosomes has its own characteristic mutation rate. For instance, the rate at which mutation creates the gene for the disease Huntington’s chorea (similar to St Vitus’s Dance), which kills people in early middle age, is about 1 in 200,000. The corresponding rate for achondroplasia (the familiar dwarf syndrome, characteristic of basset hounds and dachsunds, in which the arms and legs are too short for the body) is about 10 times as high. These rates are measured under normal conditions. If mutagens like X-rays are present, all normal mutation rates are boosted. Some parts of the chromosome are so-called hot spots’ with a high turnover of genes, a locally very high mutation rate.

“Third, at each locus on the chromosomes, whether it is a hot spot or not, mutations in certain directions can be more likely than mutations in the reverse direction. This gives rise to the phenomenon known as {307} mutation pressure’ which can have evolutionary consequences. Even if, for instance, two forms of the haemoglobin molecule, Form 1 and Form 2, are selectively neutral in the sense that both are equally good at carrying oxygen in the blood, it could still be that mutations from 1 to 2 are commoner than reverse mutations from 2 to 1. In this case, mutation pressure will tend to make Form 2 commoner than Form 1. Mutation pressure is said to be zero at a given chromosomal locus, if the forward mutation rate at that locus is exactly balanced by the backward mutation rate.

“We can now see that the question of whether mutation is really random is not a trivial question. Its answer depends on what we understand random to mean. If you take random mutation’ to mean that mutations are not influenced by external events, then X-rays disprove the contention that mutation is random. If you think random mutation’ implies that all genes are equally likely to mutate, then hot spots show that mutation is not random. If you think random mutation’ implies that at all chromosomal loci the mutation pressure is zero, then once again mutation is not random. It is only if you define random’ as meaning no general bias towards bodily improvement’ that mutation is truly random.

All three of the kinds of real non-randomness we have considered are powerless to move evolution in the direction of adaptive improvement as opposed to any other (functionally) random’ direction. There is a fourth kind of non-randomness, of which this is also true but slightly less obviously so. It will be necessary to spend a little time on this because it is still muddling even some modern biologists.”

[14] “Genome,” Wikipedia.

Bacteria:Nasuia deltocephalinicola               112,000 base pairs             Smallest non-viral genome

Bacteria: Escherichia coli                         4,600,000                            Most studied bacteria genome

Plant: Paris japonica                      150,000,000,000                           Largest plant genome known

Nematode: Pratylenchus coffeae             20,000,000                           Smallest animal genome known

Human: Homo sapiens                     3,200,000,000                            Sequenced in 2003

Fish: Tetaodon nigroviridis                  390,000,000                            Smallest vertebrate genome known

Fish: Protopterus aethiopius         130,000,000,000                            Largest vertebrate genome known

[15] Heewook Lee et all, “Rate and molecular spectrum of spontaneous mutations in the bacterium Escherichia coli as determined by whole-genome sequencing,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 24, 2012.

“Knowledge of the rate and nature of spontaneous mutation is fundamental to understanding evolutionary and molecular processes. …the mutation rate of a wild-type E. coli strain is ?1 10?3 per genome per generation.”

[emphasis added]

“Mutations are the source of variation upon which natural selection acts; thus, a complete understanding of evolutionary processes must include an accurate assessment of mutation rates and of the molecular spectrum of mutational events.”

Leslie A Pray, “DNA Replication and Causes of Mutation,” Scitable by Nature Education, 2008.

“Cells employ an arsenal of editing mechanisms to correct mistakes made during DNA replication. How do they work, and what happens when these systems fail?”

“DNA replication is a truly amazing biological phenomenon. Consider the countless number of times that your cells divide to make you who you are-not just during development, but even now, as a fully mature adult. Then consider that every time a human cell divides and its DNA replicates, it has to copy and transmit the exact same sequence of 3 billion nucleotides to its daughter cells. Finally, consider the fact that in life (literally), nothing is perfect. While most DNA replicates with fairly high fidelity, mistakes do happen, with polymerase enzymes sometimes inserting the wrong nucleotide or too many or too few nucleotides into a sequence. Fortunately, most of these mistakes are fixed through various DNA repair processes. Repair enzymes recognize structural imperfections between improperly paired nucleotides, cutting out the wrong ones and putting the right ones in their place. But some replication errors make it past these mechanisms, thus becoming permanent mutations. These altered nucleotide sequences can then be passed down from one cellular generation to the next, and if they occur in cells that give rise to gametes, they can even be transmitted to subsequent organismal generations. Moreover, when the genes for the DNA repair enzymes themselves become mutated, mistakes begin accumulating at a much higher rate. In eukaryotes, such mutations can lead to cancer.”

“Of course, not all mutations are “bad.” But, because so many mutations can cause cancer, DNA repair is obviously a crucially important property of eukaryotic cells. However, too much of a good thing can be dangerous. If DNA repair were perfect and no mutations ever accumulated, there would be no genetic variation-and this variation serves as the raw material for evolution. Successful organisms have thus evolved the means to repair their DNA efficiently but not too efficiently, leaving just enough genetic variability for evolution to continue.”

Wojciech Kuban, “Role of Escherichia Coli DNA Ploymerase IV in In Vivo Replication Fidelity,” Journal of Bacteriology, July 2004,

“Several mechanisms control the fidelity of the DNA replication process. These include correct base selection by the DNA polymerase, removal of base insertion errors by 3?-exonucleolytic proofreading, and correction by DNA mismatch repair (29). In Escherichia coli, base selection and proofreading are performed by the DNA polymerase III (Pol III) holoenzyme, the enzyme that replicates the bacterial chromosome. It is generally considered a highly accurate enzyme (29). Mismatch repair is performed by the mutHLS mismatch repair system (17). In combination, these three processes yield an error rate of 10?9 to 10?11 error per base pair replicated per cell division (6, 29).”

Laurence A Moran, “DNA Replication in E. coli: The Problem,” sandwalk.com, May 9, 2008.

“Today, we’re not concerned about the 20 minute generation time but I note, for the record, that the average generation time of E. coli, in vivo, is about one day. I also want to mention that the 20 minute generation time is an extreme example that’s achieved only under the most extraordinary circumstances. Typical generation times in the lab are about 30 minutes.”

[16] Sudhir Kumar and Sankar Subramanian, “Mutation rates in mammalian genomes,” Proceedings of the Natinal Academy of Sciences of the USA, 2002.

“Knowledge of the rate of point mutation is of fundamental importance, because mutations are a vital source of genetic novelty.”

“Our results suggest that the average mammalian genome mutation rate is 2.2 10?9 per base pair per year, which provides further opportunities for estimating species and population divergence times by using molecular clocks.

[emphasis added]

With about 3 billion base pairs, this rate would yield about 6.4 mutations per year in a mammalian cell.