THINGS IN ME THAT MAKE ME A BELIEVER
Published (for fun) by the kind permission of Father Frank O’Sullivan, who is a Roman Catholic Priest and Family Friend (corrected – rightly, or wrongly by Microsoft Word and Google Spell Check)
Above these words there is a space. Take a good look at it. Can you see anything in that blank space? Look again! There is more to this piece of paper than meets the eye. You can’t see them, but there are millions of atoms, each of which is made up of a nucleus and electrons. The electrons are whizzing around the nucleus billions of times a second. Yet this piece of paper shows no visible signs of moving!
Look again! This piece of paper has colour, shape, size, texture and composition. How did it get the way it is? By chance? Or because of intelligence?
Looking at this piece of paper I can deduce the fact that someone, somewhere, some time ago, must have decided to make this piece of paper the way it is. They thought it up, and with the help of chemists, some wood pulp, bleach; or dyes, and various bits of machinery, they produced this piece of paper.
I know that somewhere there is a factory where it was made. I may never see that factory. But I know it exists, or existed at some time in the past, because this piece of paper exists.
Of course, every bit of machinery in that factory was itself the product of intelligence. And all the parts that made up each machine were produced by other machines that were also the product of intelligence.
Then there was the power station that produced the electricity that produced the motive power, and the oil refinery that produced the lubricants for the machinery. The paper factory probably used computers ‘to control the paper-making process. They also were the product of intelligence.
So it is evident that this paper only exists the way it is because MINDS have been at work. The knowledge gained by millions of minds all down the ages has resulted among other things in the production of this piece of paper.
Each of these minds used a brain and a nervous system made up of over 50,000,000,000 nerve cells. Each of these cells was in fact a ‘computer’, with hundreds of strands that were interlinked to form an incredible network of communications throughout the human body.
Incredible as it is, the brain is only a small part of the human body. Inside the fertilized ovum at the moment of my conception there were already present, inside something one hundredth the size of a pinhead, 30,000 factories. Every gene is a factory. Each has its own job to do, each has its own part to play in the formation of another human being. At the moment of my conception ‘I ‘began to exist. From that moment I began to develop. My heart was already formed and working three weeks later, before my mother knew she was pregnant!
Inside that fertilized ovum there was a bone factory, all set to produce 206 bones, 50 of them in my hands. I’m told my hands can perform 58 distinct operations, thanks to the many bones, tendons, joints involved. The muscle factories produced 650 muscles. With the help of bones and tendons they enable me to walk, to speak, to sing. to carry things and to throw things.
I’m sure you have seen photographs of an oil refinery. Crude oil is fed in at one end, and with the help of various processing plants around 130 chemicals are refined. As that fertilized ovum developed it brought about a food processing plant that ‘refines’ food and water. It extracts from this, with the help of stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys and some home-made enzymes, a great variety of chemicals, which are passed into the blood system. My body produces thousands of enzymes, protein molecules that combine with other molecules in the food we eat, and among other things, aid my digestion of food.
Compare the size! An oil refinery, that produces around 130 by-products, and our food processing and digestive system .These are able to manufacture the dozens of types of chemicals my body needs in order to breakdown the food I eat. These are then passed on to each part of my body, each part receiving the particular chemicals it needs in order to do its allotted task, and for its maintenance and good order. And it was all inside that fertilized ovum!
But the more you look into that fertilized ovum the more amazing it gets! There was another factory that eventually produced the 60,000 miles of pipelines that form the blood system. There were more factories that for twenty-four hours every day work to provide blood. My blood has a ‘clotting agent’ that contains twenty-eight elements. These help the healing process when my skin is punctured. If any one of these were absent I would become a haemophiliac.
Apart from the chemicals of which it is itself made, blood also acts as a transport system enabling chemicals manufactured elsewhere in the body to be shunted off where they are needed: a bit of calcium here, a bit of potassium there, etc. It also transports oxygen, which is provided by another factory, the respiratory system.
My lungs take in air from which they extract oxygen and transfer it to the blood system. If the supply of oxygen is cut off from my brain, brain cells will die, and after a while, so will I. My diaphragm is a muscle, connected to my lungs, that enables me to draw in air, especially when I sing.
At the moment of my conception there was also a factory that produced the heart, a pump that keeps the transport system going. This pump, with its own ‘non-return’ valves, beats over 100,000 times a day, and pumps 73,000,000 gallons of blood around the human body in an average lifetime.
Glands are some of the smallest parts of my body. Within that fertilized ovum were contained several gland factories, that produced a pituitary gland, a pineal gland, my thyroid glands, my pancreas, adrenals, prostate etc. Each of these produces hormones vital to my physical and emotional well-being.
At some stage the Eye factories came ‘on stream’, producing lens, corneas, retinas, optic nerves etc. They produced 120,000,000 ‘rods’ that enable me to see black and white, and 8,000,000 ‘cones’ that enable me to see colour. These receptors, shaped like ‘rods’ and ‘cones’, are clearly visible under an electron microscope.
My ears, with the help of my eyes and my brain can receive and interpret masses of information on a continuing basis, and even hear a pin drop! The cochlear in each ear, something the size of a pea, has within it 100,000 nerve cells.
How important are eyes and ears! Without them I would have a mind and an imagination, but they would be of no use to me. It’s my eyes and ears that provide the information that enable me to form ideas, concepts and imagination pictures. My tongue and teeth enable me to communicate to others the information I have gained.
In addition to the above, there was also a skin factory, which together with hair, and sweat glands, is part of a temperature control mechanism.
The body has its own repair, restoration, and maintenance plants. These manufacture on a continuing basis replacement cells to keep my body ‘toned up’.
To help fight off disease, from out of this fertilized ovum came the body’s ‘defence department’, the Lymphatic system. There are three wires in a three core electric flex, each of which is ‘sheathed’ to separate them from each other. My spinal cord incorporates three ‘sheathed’ systems containing arterial blood, venal blood and lymph.
There was yet another factory that produced a waste disposal system that enables my body to dispose of things for which it no longer has any use.
It is an astounding fact that the fertilized ovum already contains within itself factories that will ensure the continuance of the human race. If I had been born a girl, ova would have already been present at the time of my birth, waiting to mature and be fertilized. As a boy, in the course of time the complex system that enables 1,000,000 sperm to be manufactured each day would develop. The various elements that together make up the reproductive system make it possible for human beings to experience the most intense pleasure, while at the same time playing their part in the process that brings into existence another human being. What an incredible power we possess?
To cap it all there were a series of factories that produced 50,000,000,000 computers. Every one of the nerve cells that make up my brain and nervous system is in fact a computer. Computers are man-made machines that are able to receive, process, store and retrieve millions of pieces of information, and activate other systems. My brain is able to function in similar ways, only more so!
All the above, and lots more, were packed into something a hundredth the size of a pinhead, and nobody told it what to do. It was ‘programmed’. At a predetermined time within the nine months from conception to birth each of these factories came into operation. Some factories only came ‘on stream’ some time after my birth. For over eighty years I have just taken in food, air and water, and done a little exercise, and my body has done the rest. Even when I have been asleep there have been 50,000,000 operations going on within me.
So much was packed within that fertilized ovum. How did it get there? And how did all the different elements of the genetic material come to acquire the abilities they undoubtedly possess, and to develop in the ways they have done?
Were all these things the result of chance? Or do they all point to the existence of some intelligence?
If it requires millions of minds to explain how this piece of paper came into existence, how much more intelligence would seem to be required to explain the coming to existence of all the processes that result in the formation of a human being?
Chance? or intelligence? Which is the more reasonable conclusion in the light of all the evidence?
DO CHAMPS COME FROM CHIMPS – OR IS THERE A GENIUS BEHIND THE GENES?
Another important question comes to mind. Every one of those 30,000 genes present at the moment of my conception had a purpose. It had a job to do. Do ‘I’ have a purpose? ‘I’- the one who is at the centre of all these bits and pieces that make up my body – Do ‘l’ have a purpose? Is there a purpose to my existence? Have I a job to do? If so, what is it? And, “how am I to know what it is”?
‘I’ am not the same thing as my body. Every cell in my body is continually being replaced. But ‘I’, the Person, remain. There is so much more to me than meets the eye. The various ‘systems’ that make up my body enable me to continue living. I depend on them.
But I am aware that there is so much more to me than the physical. I use my mind and my imagination, but it is not my mind that thinks or my imagination that imagines. It’s ME. Its ‘I’ who reason out things, who can ‘see’ the truth, or spot the lie. It’s ‘I’ who can use my mind and imagination to design a skyscraper and work out the details. They may work out the detail, but the building will only start when ‘I’ use my will to start the building, and it’s only by continuing to use my will that the skyscraper will be finished.
So there is much more to me than my body. Much that is mystery. Much that you will never find if you cut my body into millions of pieces. There is so much more to ‘me’ than any evolutionary process can begin to explain.
There is a body of evidence that an evolutionary process may have enabled inanimate life to evolve into primitive forms of life and eventually to evolve into human beings. The evidence is persuasive. But it leaves too many unanswered questions.
Proponents of Darwinian evolution and its ‘derivatives’ offer various theories, and present evidence to support them. But an examination of the biochemistry involved in what Michael Bebe calls ‘Darwin’s Black Box’ reveals how often the proponents of evolution assert that ‘organisms have evolved and adapted to changing conditions on a geological time scale and continue to do so. But nothing else is said’. He goes on to say: ‘Many students learn from their text books how to view the world through an evolutionary lens. However, they do not learn how Darwinian evolution might have produced any of the remarkably intricate bio-chemical systems that those texts describe.’ (p.183)
‘Intelligent Design’ offers a more satisfactory explanation of why the process began than the arguments of the Darwinians. It isn’t just a matter of complexity. It’s the irreducible complexity of each of the systems, and the interdependence of each on the whole, that points to Intelligent Design. Added to this is the ‘complexity of the atoms (quarks, gluon’s, etc) that are present in the various chemicals that make up each part of these systems.
Just to take one example based on the number of atoms contained in the protein in an average human body. It is estimated that the average human body contains 30,000,000,000,000 cells. Each cell contains 250,000 protein molecules. Each molecule consists of 20,000 atoms. So there are no less 150,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms in the protein of the average human body.
Supposing, for the sake of argument – that we accept that things did evolve as Darwin suggested. It means that primitive single celled living things like amoebas or hydras must have possessed within themselves the capacity (potential, power, ability) to develop into all the living things we know to exist, and eventually to produce human beings. They must have had the capacity to do so because they have done it! How did they get these capacities? Did they arise by chance or intelligence? Which is the more reasonable conclusion in the light of all the evidence? If it takes intelligence to explain how this piece of paper you are now looking at came to exist, with the colour, shape, etc. it has, how much more likely it is that intelligence was at work to account for all that must have been involved in the production of human beings from amoebas? The potential to produce a human being must have been present in some way right from the start if human beings have in fact developed from primitive life. How did it get there?
Some biologists say that the study of DNA has revealed that 98% of the DNA in human beings is found in other living things. But if this is related to the fact that there are 30,000 genes in the human cell at conception, 2% means 600 genes! Quite a significant variation! If the 2% relates to the 6 billion variations in the DNA coding, then 2% means 12 million variations! No small difference!
Some scientists argue that life originally came from non-living matter, and this original ‘matter’ was present in an incredibly dense form at the moment of the ‘Big Bang’. The same problem remains. How did the matter in the Big Bang come to exist at all, and how did it come to possess within itself the potential to form the 106 chemical substances we know to exist, to develop into some form of primitive life; to produce the process of photosynthesis that enabled plants and trees to develop, and also for creatures to emerge that swim, fly, crawl and walk, and eventually develop into human being? Since nothing else existed, the matter present in the Big Bang must have contained within itself the potential (power) to produce all these things and the processes involved. How did this potential get there to start with? Chance? Or incredible Intelligence? ‘Chance’, whatever meaning you attribute to the word, does not explain how things came to exist, or to be the way there are? The more complex the original ‘thing’ out of which everything else developed, the more intelligence would seem to be required to explain how it came to exist, together with the potential involved.
Furthermore, this takes no account of the complex make-up of the atoms involved. According to some estimates I have read, the diameter of the atom is 1/100,000,000`h of an inch. The nucleus of the atom is about 1/100,000"’ of the atom in diameter: i.e. about 1I100,000,000,000,000"’ of an inch. The electrons make 100,000,000,000,000 circuits a second around the nucleus. The figures stagger the imagination: it can’t cope, but our mind can understand the difference between 1000, and 100,000.
One of the problems human beings have with regard to the possibility of accepting Intelligent Design, or an Intelligent Designer, arises from the failure to distinguish the different functions of the Mind and the Imagination.
A little example might help. If I told you the temperature in the middle of the sun is 10,000,000 degrees centigrade, what sort of imagination picture would you have? I suggest you would have a picture of something very hot. It I told you it was 15,000,000 degrees centigrade, what sort of imagination picture would you have? I suggest it would be almost certainly the same: something very hot. But my mind understands that 15,000,000 is half as much again as 10,000.000.
Our Mind and our Imagination have different jobs to do. Our imagination is limited to doing certain things that can be very creative. But my mind can go beyond colour, shape and size. It can form concepts, and can then think about them, and even arrive at new knowledge.
Can you imagine a Chimp saying to his or her mate: What a beautiful sunset? Can you imagine them sharing a joke?
Humour depends on the ability of the mind to understand the relationship (connection) between things.
So in the light of all the evidence that scientists have provided it is more reasonable to conclude that there must be a ‘Source’ of unimaginable intelligence, wisdom and power, a ‘Source’ that exists outside and beyond this and every other universe of galaxy that exists, and is quite different from them. Another KIND of Being, not just, a super human being. The evidence points to the existence of such a Being. I may never see this Being face to face, but I know from the evidence that He/She/It must exist, just as I know the factory that made this pieces of paper exists, even though I will never see it.
Human Beings have given different names to this Being. Some say this process is due to a ‘Higher Being’, or a ‘Higher Intelligence’, or even ‘Nature’. To say it is all due ‘to ‘Nature’ in no way explains how things came to be the way they are, In our language and culture most people understand what is meant when people called this Being ‘God’. Many people are reluctant to call this Being ‘God’. This may be because once you call this Being ‘God’ you enter into the realm of Religion, and Religion involves you in a way of life that calls for a response to God that we call Prayer, and the following of ‘rules’ that demand of us that we change our behaviour and our attitudes. Some people are unwilling to take this step. Such considerations are not quantifiable, so they are not the substance of Science but matters of faith. Other considerations also enter in especially when examining how a God who is said to be perfect can create, or allow, so much evil in the world. But that opens up a topic that we haven’t the space to deal with here.
THE LIMITATIONS OF SCIENCE
Some people seem to think that one day Scientists will be able to explain how things came to exist AT ALL. Strictly speaking, when they question why things exist AT ALL, they cease to be Scientists as such. They are Philosophers.
The discussion of the ultimate questions concerning how this and every other Universe of Galaxy came to exist is the realm of Philosophy and Religion, not science. Questions like: Why am I here? What is life all about? Is there life beyond the grave? Are part of Religion and Philosophy.
For centuries the teaching of the various Religions has been seen as so ‘unscientific’ that the findings of Science have seemed to be more intellectually acceptable.
But the finding of modern bio-chemistry, are now giving the scientific community food for thought. What is required is open honest dialogue on all sides, with a willingness to be open to wherever the dialogue leads and the conclusions it points to.
The chance of discovering life on other worlds is greater than ever, according to Britain’s leading astronomer. Lord Rees http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8478033.stm Going – Inwards (into a black hole) to get Outwards (other universes)! NewScientist 28th November 2009, ‘Superships’ Marcus Chown "We could reach the stars if we built a dark matter rocket or a black hole starship, and we’ve got the physics to do it." Darwinian selection on the largest scale, ‘The only reason for an intelligent civilisation to make a black hole, http://public.web.cern.ch/public/ he sees, is so it can travel the universe.’ www.NewScientist.com "Astronomers have spied a star-sized black hole much further away than any such object previously known." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8483983.stm "These ripples in the fabric of space-time are an inevitable consequence of the theory of general relativity, and their first detection is being sought by intricate laser experiments set up in science labs across the world."
Vatican chief astronomer Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes spoke publicly about his acceptance that we might not be alone in the universe. According to an interview with him in Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the existene of ET "doesn’t contradict our faith." From the Associated Press: http://boingboing.net/2008/05/14/popes-astronomer-on.html
Promoting A Naturalistic Worldview.
"People adopt different worldviews, primarily due to their upbringing. These worldviews contradict each other, thus they cannot all be true. The best method for testing if one’s worldview is correct is from the perspective of an outsider with a high level of skepticism. This is the Outsider Test for Beliefs (OTB), proposed first time by John W. Loftus in 2006 (see: Loftus, 2008; Loftus, 2010)." http://naturalism7.blogspot.com/2010/05/outsider-test-for-beliefs-otb.html