Patterns

I just read something quite interesting…

Our world is getting ever more complex, more baffling.  Some pessimists argue that scientific progress—or indeed society itself—will clog up because of “information overload.”  I don’t think that’s a serious worry. As science advances, more patterns and regularities are revealed in nature.”  

Martin Rees, in his introduction to the book 30-second Theoriesi  (italics mine-AG)

What? Wait a minute.  What are patterns and regularities doing in nature?  Is not nature supposed to be random?  A simple “Yes” or “No” will suffice. We are told that everything exists as a result of The Big Bang. Excuse me, but where is the pattern in that?  Should not chaos rule? According to the Second Law of Thermal Dynamics everything is slowly decaying.  We should be seeing fewer patterns, right? 

After all, It took millions of years for just the right combination of chemicals to come together in the primordial “soup” to produce the first amino acid.  I don’t know how much longer we had to wait for the second amino acid to form; but evidently, once the first one formed others formed in rapid succession so that they could come together and form a protein .  (If it took another 5- or 10-million years for the second amino acid to accidentally form would not the first amino acid have decayed back into the “soup” during all those years?)  And, how did they manage to get together, anyway? Well, it doesn’t make any real difference.  We know that get together they did, and they eventually formed the first protein.  Then, (millions of years later), these proteins formed (I guess they were very stable proteins to survive so long) the first living cell that became the basis for all life on planet Earth. 

But, did you know that the most critical pattern on earth formed way back before even the amino acids?  Yup.  DNA.  DNA is made up of four nitrogen bases.  (There was a lot of nitrogen on early earth – and, there still is).  Anyway, these nitrogen bases that formed in the primordial soup were adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G).  These nitrogen bases make up what is commonly called the genetic “alphabet”.  These four bases spell out the recipes for amino acids, and the acids form the proteins in all living things.  Oh, never mind the fact that an amoeba (a single-cell organism) contains as much information in its DNA as 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica.  And, how did so many patterns form, when we know everything should have been decaying? 

Moving on, let’s not lose sight of the fact that we now have live cells.  (Evidently, lightning played some role in that incredible transformation.  Very much like the role lightning played in bringing Dr. Frankenstein’s creation to life.  Kinda’ like a mega heart defibrillation, I guess.)

Oh, you say you’re not buying into that; well, you may be right.  How about this?  Life didn’t start on Earth at all.  It came from space. And, here you have some choices.  Some say it was the amino acids that fell to a young earth.  Others say, well not just amino acids, but complete living organisms in the form of bacteria likely fell to earth—perhaps riding a comet that impacted our planet.  (Or, they may have arrived on a meteorite).  There are also those who posit that intelligent beings intentionally spread spores on developing planets—earth being just one.  OK, those are just theories.

Regardless, all this also happened millions of years ago and you and I are the result—along with all the rest of the Earth’s population.  And, in that term “population” I’m including all life—flora and fauna.

So, this all happened either out of random chaos or “seeding”.  (Does anyone know, in the case of seeding – regardless of from where the seeds came, how the seeds themselves came into being?  Oops, I guess that would take us back to “square one”.)

Before we continue,  we need to go back to the time the amino acids (spores or bacteria) were forming – or landing – on earth.  All of those things needed an environment in which to survive.  Earth it seems, just happens to be in exactly the right position, in relation to it’s just right star, to provide an environment, including an atmosphere – that’s also just right – for life to come into existence, thrive, and evolve into everything you see today.  (I’m told, the major key to this is that water always exists in liquid form on this planet. OK, but I have to ask, where did water come from?  After all, a lot of planets don’t have water – liquid or otherwise.)

Again we need to step back.  This time to discuss a few principles—and definitions.

Fact: Something that exists and is scientifically provable.  Facts are considered to represent absolute truth.

Theory: A logical creation that is based on scientific observation rooted in our current understanding of how the world works.  A theory does not necessarily represent the absolute truth.  Many theories are ultimately proven partially or even totally false based on the accumulation of new knowledge.

Values: That which cannot be scientifically measured.  Some examples would be: fair return; worth – based on distinctiveness; and, guiding principles or ideals (including religion).  Values may or may not be true; and no “value” is generally considered to represent absolute truth.

One should keep in mind, however, that because something is considered a fact, it may not represent absolute truth, either.  And, what is considered a value, may indeed represent absolute truth.  Time and knowledge seem to be the most profound factors influencing the fact/value relationship.  Let me give you two examples:

  1. For centuries Earth was considered to be the center of the universe. The stars and planets rotated around the Earth.  It was an accepted fact.  A fact that was scientifically proven false.

  2. All cultures condemn murder.  It is considered wrong and harmful to the society.  But, you cannot scientifically prove that statement.  Yet in virtually all societies it is considered true.

It is interesting to note that Albert Einstein said, “Religion without science is lame; and, science without religion is blind.”  I think he saw the connection.  That, indeed, there is much science cannot explain – and religion can.  From what I can tell, religion has nothing to fear from true science.  I heard a “media expert” on evolution, state that evolution is no longer a theory, but rather a proven fact.  Really?  Show me the fossil record that shows even one species (avian, amphibious or mammalian) evolving into a separate species.  Or, explain how DNA evolved.  Mathematicians say it is beyond probability that it could happen by chanceii. Finally, prove scientifically how life itself came into existence. Until, you can do that, evolution will stay a theory.  And, no declarations by the media or anyone else, will make it a fact.

My theory is that we will continue to (scientifically) discover patterns.  I postulate that they were put there by God; and further, that He expects us to find these patterns.  I’m sure it pleases Him, when He is given credit as the Creator, Great Architect, or Intelligent Designer …Yahweh (the great I Am).

 Avery

i.   30-Second Theories.  2009 edition published by Metro Press.  Paul Parsons, Editor.

ii. There are 200,000 amino acids in one human cell.  To get that many acids to come together by chance would take about 293.5 times the estimated age of the earth (set at the standard age of 4.6 billion years.  Calculated by the distinguished astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, and reported in Know Why You Believe, Connecting Faith and Religion, 5th edition by Marie E. Little, 2003.

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