|Chapter Two from 3rd Compass, The Book|
Copyright © 2009-2012. Ty Alexander Huynh. All Rights Reserved. Click here for full copyright. | Read the book's foreword
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| Chapter 4 | Chapter 5]
No architect would be without a compass, nor artist, nor engineer. This second class of compasses help us draw up a circumference or measure a distance. Generally, these instruments are constructed of two, equal length rods connected at one end to pivot like scissors, so that circumferences or distances of different sizes can be measured or drawn.
I remember my first experience with a drawing compass in grade school art. We used it to fill pages of construction paper with circles of all sizes and colors, but my first page was filled with squiggly blobs that only resembled circles. I thought, "I should have drawn them freehand. It's useless!"
My hands have steadied since then and a draftsman's compass was often within arm's reach during my younger years as an architectural draftsman. It was a tool that I relied on often to gauge distances as well as draw perfect circles. It was used as much for measuring as it was for layout. In the same way, we can measure and lay out the things that seem like an unexplainable mess - things like the supernatural and angels - into a picture, or blueprint if you will, that is understandable and easy to read.
This is where science comes into play. What can science tell us about the meaning of life when it is such a subjective experience? No matter what your perception of reality is, there is only one absolute or true reality that is the same for everyone. Our personal realities are subjective, but once you step outside your own self and remove your tinted shades of perception the true reality in which we exist can be seen.
To paint this picture, I will use the tools and logic processes of scientific reasoning. Bear in mind that I say, "the tools and logic of scientific reasoning" as opposed to what the many fields of science or the scientific method (testing and proving through experimentation) have told us about reality.
The distinction is important because science over the centuries has painted a picture of the universe that obscures true reality, but the logic behind scientific reasoning can still be used to create a truer blueprint. Still, science is not all bad. It has produced many useful things and makes our lives easier. We have a more precise idea of how the mechanics of the universe work - how mass and energy are related or how biology and chemistry interact - but that portion of the whole is only what we have been able to probe and comprehend.
Consider that our view of the world and universe have changed drastically over the millennia. Even within the last one hundred years our concepts of physical reality have been profoundly changed by the works of theoretical physicists and other researchers.
We have gone from viewing our earth as the center of the universe or being carried on the back of a great tortoise to just being a speck of dust traveling through the cosmos at some 66,000 miles an hour. Why have our views changed so much?
It is because we conceptualize the universe only through what we can test or probe with our tools - be that our eyes and other senses of perception or devised tools, such as microscopes, telescopes, radio receivers and computers. That is how the scientific method works. We test and probe and revise and test and probe and revise until we are satisfied with the accuracy and consistency of the results.
But also consider that our tools can be inaccurate or unable to discern with the detail needed to see reality in its entirety. It is like the blind man only being able to conceptualize his world with a walking stick. How can he know what colors are like - the calm and majesty of blue or the intensity and passion of red? How can he know the beauty of a sunset on the ocean or the whimsy of a butterfly on the wind?
Likewise, our probes and experiments can only tell us a limited set of information, mainly that which they were designed for or are capable of telling us. Also consider that some things cannot be probed at all, either because we do not have the means or the understanding. Just like the blind from birth, how could we know light, color and images without vision?
Everything Is Meaningless
Science has blindfolded and misled us. That is not to say what we have learned from it is untrue or useless. What I mean is, it obscures our true reality such that we become unaware of or even deny the parts of reality that science cannot explain, and as a result we also deny the greater meaning of our own existence.
It is just as the blind man perceiving reality with only his walking stick - essential parts of reality are overlooked. Another term for this kind of perception is tunnel vision or what I like to call, Selective Reasoning. It exists because humans as limited beings who are exposed to a limited set of experiences and knowledge naturally prefer to see reality based on what we know.
We filter the world or select certain conclusions based on our personal knowledge base. Our tendency to do this is not only a product of our limited set of personal experiences and knowledge but also arises in part because of how our minds organize and process information.
Our brains work to bundle the millions of pieces of information we receive into a more simplified and organized structure so that it is more manageable. We basically categorize and link information to build a library inside our minds.
This helps us recall information quickly as well as link related concepts together like dogs and cats are mammals or doors are for passage into a different area and the handle on a door opens the door, therefore using the handle will give you access to the area behind the door. Our structured minds help us analyze the world quickly, but this has its problems as well. It leads to stereotypes and prejudgments - making conclusions based not on facts but on personal opinions.
This is Selective Reasoning and the problem with it in our discussion is that to understand true reality we need to be very broad in understanding, so the more we learn about one particular aspect of reality, like say, biology or psychology, the more skewed in that direction our perception becomes. Our tunnel vision goes into a tighter circle and our Selective Reasoning becomes even more selective.
When this happens, alternative solutions to problems are dismissed entirely because they do not make sense with what we are familiar with. That is the danger to seeing reality with the eyes of a specialist. By their very nature, specialists are more focused on a particular point of view. Through years of training and conditioning they are honed to excel in their field, but true reality is much wider than any single field of science or science in its entirety.
The reality that science gives us is nothing more than a giant collection of facts, formulas, and pieces of information - the Superlative Data Blob. It is impressive in size and scope and has many uses in its different data chunks, which correspond to the different branches of science, but ultimately as a whole, it is meaningless.
What we want is that blueprint of absolute reality - the truest picture of reality - which also lends meaning to everything in existence. Then by superimposing that blueprint onto our life maps we can also attain meaning and direction to our own lives. To draft that blueprint, though, we need more than science. We need to mold and change the Blob by adding solidifying agents and catalysts that will ultimately frame reality.
Laying Out the Next Ingredient
What are these agents and catalysts? One agent we need is another branch of science, Theology - the Science of God and Religion. Some naysayers who hear God or religion will start to balk and turn away at this point, but I would ask that they do not fall to logical fallacies and think that only rational things fall into the natural and physical sciences.
On the contrary, I aim to highlight the logic that makes God and religion essential to the framework. There are no smoke and mirrors or slight of hands involved here, and I hope that the rest of this chapter will lead those who seek true reality or Truth will start to bring it into focus.
A charge that many atheists have against theists is that believers are irrational to believe in invisible, intangible, and improvable entities such as angels or gods. Some atheists go so far as to call believers delusional. How do they come to these conclusions? It is simply Selective Reasoning.
They fail to realize that their own viewpoint is limited and tinted at the same time they accuse the other side of the same thing. They are overconfident in their own reasoning - that humans' tendency to believe in religion and gods is a product of evolution, gene propagation and/or social psychology, that unexplainable things can simply be dismissed as irrational or delusional, or that gods, angels and religion in general are fanciful ways of comprehending our existence.
This is understandable logic if all you include in your analysis are what the natural and physical sciences can tell, but that is far too selective a viewpoint and leads to error, because certainly, testing and proving can affirm theory and give confidence, but in true reality not all things can be tested and probed in this way. It is like the renowned physicist Albert Michelson proclaiming an end to physics at the end of the 19th century because the laws of the physical universe were thought to be known and well understood.
Even in this century, the drum beat of scientific confidence is back with superstring theory, which if proven correct, will unify currently separate divisions of physics into one architecture. Still, even if superstring theory is proven correct, isn't announcing the end of physics premature? Can nothing more be learned?
In the same vein, ardent atheists proclaim that believers hold to faith blindly - that they believe in fanciful things without evidence or taking all the information into account. But little do they know, they are guilty of the same of the same things. Everyone must accept that we are all capable of falling to error no matter what side we stand on.
Reality Proof - God or Science?
Scientists like to measure, test and prove. That is the scientific method and atheists likewise like to use this logic to disprove God and all things related. The logic goes, "Well, we can't measure gods or angels and we can't test for their existence, so we cannot prove their existence. Therefore, they do not exist and are products of human imagination."
Another strand of logic goes, "We tried to test for gods, angels and all kinds of supernatural things, like ESP, but our experiments did not prove anything inconclusively. Therefore, they do not exist and are products of human imagination."
Not so fast! Conclusions of this kind are products of Selective Reasoning. Remember earlier, I stated that we do not have the understanding or the means to probe certain aspects of reality. We are the blind trying to poke at reality with sticks to figure it out. This will always lead to an incomplete understanding and confound us. We need to rely on other evidence to get that blueprint of reality.
My first example of evidence deals with infinite random variance and the scientific theory that it is sufficient to account for our universe and life as we know it. It is a backbone for much belief in the reality that science paints as well as a pillar holding up another theory that atheists hold as proof against God and religion - Darwinian Evolution.
The theory goes something like this: Our universe is one out of infinite universes, all with different values for the laws of physics, which are simply set at random, and our universe is one out of presumably very few of the infinite variety that can produce what we see in the heavens as well as produce the kind of life forms that exist.
Physicists have studied the laws of physics for hundreds of years and now know that if certain parameters of the universe are changed just slightly, such as the strength of magnetic fields and nuclear forces, then our universe and life could not exist. It appears that our reality is just right to produce what we see in the universe as well as carbon based life, such as us, but a divine being or creator behind it all can be dismissed because of infinite random variance.
This is an application of the anthropic principle, which when applied to this context states that our universe is as it is and we exist simply because we happen to reside in a universe that has the right parameters set - a chance, lucky fluke - and not because our universe or life was designed with any particular goal in mind.
This is an interesting idea, but the fact is, it is only that - an idea, an unproven theory thought up to try and explain our existence. There is nothing else to back up this theory and no evidence of infinite universes. Superstring theorists who know the power of multiple dimensions certainly cannot make a claim for multiple universes, nor can proponents of quantum mechanics, a division of physics that tells us matter and energy can exist in multiple states at the same time.
There is simply no evidence of alternate universes, much less an infinite variety, in experiment or in formula. I charge that these ideas of infinite universes and the sufficiency of infinite random variance are not just unproven theories but also wishful thinking.
The Artist's Proof
Let us examine the concept of infinite random variance more closely so that it is easier to see why it is insufficient to create the reality we exist in - our universe, the laws of physics, and DNA based life. Advocates of infinite random variety always bring up examples like a chimpanzee (let's call him Charlie) punching away at a typewriter ad infinitum will eventually produce the works of Shakespeare, or my favorite variant, Charlie with a paint brush and palette blotting away at a canvas forever will some day produce a work of Da Vinci like the Mona Lisa.
|A grayscale version of San Giorgio may|
be easier to produce using only
infinite random variance.
Well, let's make it easier on Charlie. He might have a better chance of producing a work in the impressionist style like "San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk" by Monet (see inset photos) since the brush strokes used in this style are more akin to the simple blotting and short uncalculated strokes that Charlie is capable of producing. Plus, San Giorgio seems to be a simple portrait compared to other works with much more complicated detail.
Let us make it even easier for Charlie by giving him only two colors to deal with, black and white, to try and produce a grayscale version of the painting. We will also blindfold Charlie and give him a robotic shoulder, arm, and hand with no handicaps since the rule of the game is that there can be no rules or predispositions to direct the portrait other than complete, uniform randomness and infinite time. A seeing and fully biological Charlie would have the tendency to group strokes together a certain way even though a supposedly "unthinking" Charlie has no projected agenda, he is still subject to interference and limitations created through his biomechanical nature.
Now we will get blind, bionic Charlie started. As we watch him applying stroke after stroke, some are simply dots while others are short lines or arcs. Some are thick while others are thin depending on the pressure applied to the brush, but after hundreds and thousands and millions and billions of strokes swiped we see that the picture we have does not change much from the initial point when the canvas was saturated with strokes. It is a random grouping of light and dark blotches, which as a whole resembles a fuzzy blown up photo of an old style, 20th century television set showing white noise (see figure at right).
|The product of uniform random|
variance - white noise
There is nothing like Monet's skyline of San Giorgio. There are no groupings of darkness that resemble the sharp, blocked off sections for the steeple and cityscape, nor the rhythmic combinations of strokes to make the ripples of water, nor the gentle transition of darker to lighter strokes from the horizontal center to the bottom, which shows the gradations from dark horizon to light sky in the water's reflection.
The only resemblance that random variance gives to the original painting is in the black and white version of Venice's sunset sky, and even then it is only a minor resemblance. We can see that our rules of uniform randomness are not sufficient to paint a portrait even as "simple" as San Giorgio.
Now, if we give Charlie just a few colors to work with, such as the painter's primaries - blue, red, and yellow - in order that he may have a chance to make a color reproduction of the painting, we will see that he fails even more miserably, because without conscious and calculated application of color and pressure the canvas will simply turn out to be a random mess of gray-brown, red, blue, yellow, orange, violet, and green blotches (the result of mixing the primary colors together in full, in part, or not at all). This is simply a colorized version of the white noise canvas. Can you see what is wrong with the pure random approach?
The problem is randomness itself. It is incapable of producing what we want no matter how long a time span we give it. To illustrate this further, consider a more finite and simple canvas and artist. A computer program to reproduce a small version of Monet's painting on a virtual canvas, a grid, 300 pixels wide by 200 pixels high (a pixel is one colored block on the virtual canvas). Let's only use the colors needed to make the painting as well - various shades of blue, red, yellow and orange. The program will simply go through every pixel on the canvas in order and assign it a color at random, or if you want full randomness, the program can select a pixel at random instead of going through one by one. It does not matter, because the outcome of randomness anywhere in the formula will produce the same result.
Any good computer programmer will be able to predict the outcome of this program. All the images produced will be a colorized version of the white noise canvas just as we saw when Charlie painted with color. The problem once more is the whole notion of random. Its very nature is that it has no structure, organization, or direction, and to ask it to produce structure or organization, which is clearly needed in any work of art, is not only wishful thinking but simply impossible.
To make a work of art, an artist needs to apply color in a calculated and deliberate way. His or her technique must be structured to create the desired effect - rules need to be followed to meet the end. Certain colors must go in certain places in a certain order, amount, direction, etc. A good writer also needs this kind of structure. Words are composed of letters that must go in a certain order and sentences are composed of words that also must have an order and the entire story itself must have a structured order. It is structure upon structure upon structure and introducing random into any or all parts of the equation will destroy the desired outcome. No chimp Charlie could become a Shakespeare or a Monet, and on the same order, no amount of random universe jumbling can produce our universe, which is also built structure upon structure.
In the classical view of physics these structures are subatomic particles, which come together to form matter (atoms), energy, and force (magnetic and electric), which in turn come together with the other fundamental laws of physics such as gravity to form molecules, stars, planets and life. In a more modern view of physics with superstring theory, the first structures are minuscule, multidimensional vibrating strings that are set to vibrate in certain ways to create the subatomic particles as well as all the other known forces, such as gravity and electromagnetism - structure upon structure upon structure. How do you think so much structure can be had without intelligent design?
The only way to make infinite, random variance work in these cases is to take random completely out and replace it with an ordered assault. Charlie would have to systematically type every single possible combination of letters, numbers, symbols and spaces that could fill 100 pages of text (what is needed for one of Shakespeare's works), and one of those millions and billions of 100 page books will have a work of Shakespeare in it. Likewise, if the computer program were set to draw every single image possible using that small, finite canvas and color set, there will be a small set of images out of the billions that resemble Monet's work.
Now this is an idea that scientists could cling to in order to have our universe exist. They need a whole set of alternate universes with the laws of physics set at every other possible value, but isn't that idea just as wishful as the infinite random variance theory? Why would there even be a whole set of universes laid out in such a neat and systematic way without intelligent intervention? Let us not forget also that there is no evidence for alternate universes, an infinite number or otherwise.
Also consider that there are absolutely no instances of infinite or infinitesimal (the infinitely small) anywhere in our natural universe. Infinity is a mathematical and theoretical concept only. In the real world, there is an upper and lower bound to everything. Not even the speed of light is infinite, nor the size or age of the universe, nor the size of atoms or superstrings. Why then would there be an infinite number of universes?
To support such a notion you would be faced with concocting theories that are clearly not supported by any scientific evidence or reasonable logic. The most logical choice for an atheist would be to abandon the whole infinite or "every possible combination" universes theory if they want to hold true to their belief that only scientifically proven or even plausible things can be true.
Circling Smaller and Smaller
Now that infinite random variance has been shown to be incapable of creating structure, let us look at further evidence for an intelligent creator. Our reality is full of logical structure everywhere we look. The laws of physics are so structured that we have been able to replicate them with mathematical formulas. Structure - It is everywhere from the formation of the galaxies to the stems and veins of the leaves on the trees.
It can be argued that all these examples of structure are not a result of intelligent design but of the great possibilities given by the laws of physics and the workings of DNA-based life. You could try that tact, but it is not a sufficient argument. All of these structures are built upon smaller and smaller structures, just as a book is built on chapters, which are built on paragraphs, which are built on sentences, which are built on words, which are built on letters, and from the smallest component onward there is intelligent design to imbue each component with meaning.
Furthermore, one must combine these components with rules and laws, which involves further intelligent design. You cannot just willy-nilly mix components at random as I have explained in the last section. To successfully argue zero intelligent design, you must go down to the smallest structures in physics and life in order to see if these building blocks can possibly not have any intelligent design for them to work.
Consider DNA itself, the building blocks for all life as we know it. In its simplest definition it is a code consisting of the pairings of four chemical compounds, adenine to thymine and cytosine to guanine, which when strung together in a sequence defines an organism's characteristics - how it is built, grows and dies - essentially the code of life.
Most atheists would suggest that DNA is just another random fluke resulting from a lucky mixing of these chemicals in a liquid water bath, but also consider that DNA has structured properties far beyond the simple pairing of chemicals. Blocks of DNA define regions called genes, blocks of genes define chromosomes, and interactions between genes and chromosomes affect the final outcome. It is like an instruction book laid out in chapters - another sign of intelligent design.
Furthermore, DNA by itself is not sufficient for life. It needs a mechanism or "machine" to read the code and put it into effect. This DNA machine is simply a biological cell. Simply? How not so. The code that DNA embodies is very complex and organized in itself, but the cell machinery that reads, replicates, and puts it into action is just as complex. This alone should give us a clue that DNA and life as we know it could not have come about by mere random chance.
Even with our great scientific understanding today, we still know very little about how DNA and life in its myriad forms can go from a code into a living, breathing organism, and not just bacteria and plants but every single living thing we see. It is mind boggling how a code and such tiny machinery can produce the great variety of life in existence.
If it were just a matter of mixing up the right compounds in a soup, we would have created our own non-DNA based life forms by now. We would also see alternate forms of non-DNA based life in nature as well. Clearly, there is much more needed to make life work than mixing chemicals.
Let us examine biology closer to see how complex it truly is. The process of cell division (when one cell becomes two) is called mitosis in regular cells or meiosis in sex cells. During cell division, the DNA of the cell is split and copied so that when the cell divides into two, both cells will have a complete copy of the DNA and become two independent but identical cells.
Molecular biologists now know that there is much more at work inside the cell than just the DNA. There is actually tiny machinery at the molecular level that orchestrates and performs the DNA replication process. This biological machinery includes enzymes like topoisomerases that provide critical functions during replication.
Topoisomerases help to relieve the pulling and stretching forces on the DNA strands as they are pulled apart, split, and copied, so that the DNA does not fall apart during replication. They can identify high stress areas in the DNA and then act as a retainer to hold the strands together.
Other enzymes are responsible for the acts of splitting and copying the DNA code. The whole process of cell division is a concerted work of many components, like these enzymes, that when viewed together look exactly like a machine at work on an assembly line. The details of the process are simply astounding.
The atheist attributes this amazing machinery simply to "nature," but the problem is, how can such complex machinery come to exist by mere random chance? The process of DNA replication depends on delicate chemical balances in a controlled environment. Otherwise the enzymes and cellular machinery for replication could not function properly.
The cell itself provides the proper environment for replication to work correctly, so it is as essential to the replication process as the other machinery. The cell wall, the DNA, the enzymes, and all the other components inside the cell work together as a complete machine.
A machine requiring such delicate balances is impossible to come about by pure random chance, not only because randomness cannot provide direction, but also because the chaotic churning of the elements in the natural environment (on our planet and the cosmos) completely negates the possibility of this delicate biochemical machinery coming about by accident.
DNA and the entire workings of life were very cleverly engineered, so well done in fact, that our human capacities are incapable of replicating them from scratch. Perhaps in ten, fifty or one hundred years we may have the knowledge and skills needed to duplicate it? Perhaps, but look at the sheer effort our greatest minds need to put into the task. It tells us that DNA based life is not a lucky, chance invention and I believe that any efforts to reproduce it will only yield limited robotic automatons, not true life as we know it.
We can see now that life depends on a logical and structured code as well as machinery to work with it. This kind of structure I have argued is impossible without direction by an intelligent force. Code and machinery are two things that simply cannot exist without intelligent design behind them. Any engineer can attest to the need for intelligent design when it comes to building code and machines.
You can shake a box of parts forever and they will not assemble themselves into a machine. This is essentially how atheists suggest that DNA based life came into existence, as well as the universe itself, but that would be putting faith in the random variance theory again.
As scientists have studied the origins of life they have found that a certain number of conditions need to be present for complex life, such as ourselves, to exist. This is called the Rare Earth Theory, which states that without a sufficient magnetic field around our planet, a relatively large moon, a stable parent star, long periods of planetary stability, etc., etc., etc, that complex life could not have appeared on our planet. It is a long series of must-haves which points out that we are very lucky to be here, or so it seems.
A Rare Earth is not the only clue to a directed existence. Even the assembly of the elements appear to work in our favor. Consider water, H2O, which in its liquid form is a critical component for DNA based life. Water is one of very few compounds that expand when cooled (most compounds and elements contract when cooled and expand when heated). This allows ice to float when water freezes and act as an insulating layer so that the water below stays liquid.
It is a critical property of water that enables life to survive changing seasons from temperate summer to frigid winter. If not for this property, lakes, rivers and oceans would freeze completely from top to bottom and kill life before it got the chance to gain a foothold in the environment. Why does water have this rare property that seems tailored to support life? Another lucky fluke? So it seems.
Marks for intelligent influence in our existence now consist of:
It is as if our universe and planet were made for our existence, but hold on, an atheist would bring up the anthropic principle again - that we exist here in this universe and on this planet only because they just happen to be right for life out of all the millions and billions of possible universes and planets. Never mind that I have already argued against alternate universes, but we'll overlook that for the sake of argument. Where else can we find the genius of a creator?
- Infinite random variance is insufficient for creating our universe and DNA based life.
- The workings of DNA based life are so structured and complex that intelligent design must be behind it.
- Our Rare Earth is very unique.
- Water and how it behaves is especially well suited for DNA-based life.
We looked at the smallest structures in life and saw that there are definite signs of intelligent design in them. Let us now look to the current state-of-the-art in physics - superstring theory. True that it is still an unproven theory, but there is now so much evidence for it that physicists believe it is only a matter of time that superstring theory is fully confirmed. The details and mathematics of superstrings are so complex that even the brightest scientists in the world have trouble grasping and working with the theory, so I certainly do not have the capacities to teach or explain it in detail. However, I can note its significance for this discussion.
Superstring theory revolves around the notion of tiny vibrating strings that are the core component for all matter, energy, and force in the universe. There is nothing smaller in superstring theory than these strings, much like letters are the smallest component for words, sentences and paragraphs. The real special thing about these strings is that they are truly like the letters in which everything else can be built from. Nothing more than these strings vibrating at certain frequencies is needed to reproduce every single component of classical physics.
All the subatomic particles that go together to form the atomic components of protons, neutrons and electrons can be made from superstrings. These in turn combine further into larger structures to produce all the elements in the periodic table, such as hydrogen, oxygen, iron, gold, and carbon.
All forms of energy, as well, can be made from superstrings, such as photons for light and other electromagnetic particles like x-rays and gamma rays. Even all the forces of physics, such as magnetism, gravity, and the atomic forces that hold atoms together, can be created out of superstrings.
It is simply amazing that only one structure can recreate everything we know in our physical universe. Well, that is not entirely true, as we will see, but the superstring revolution is exciting to physicists because the force of gravity previously could not be reconciled with the other forces in physics. It had to be treated as a separate entity.
The only problem with superstring theory, though, is that it is unproven. There is no experimental confirmation of the theory because we do not have the technical means to probe at the levels needed to confirm it. Yet, physicists hold a great deal of confidence in the theory. Why?
They have a mountain of evidence that supports the theory indirectly. Superstrings work magnificently in logic and formula to reproduce everything in physics. They also give a reasonable explanation for why mass and energy are the same, just as Einstein's famous formula states: E = MC2, Energy equals Mass times the Speed of Light (C) squared. Energy and mass are the same because they both come from the same building block - superstrings.
Superstrings also explain why energy, like light and x-rays, possess the properties of both waves and particles. It was a conundrum in physics. How can a single unit of light (a photon) behave like both a wave and a particle? The answer is, because they are made from superstrings, which are not particles like dots but are vibrating strings. They only seem to be like particles because superstrings are so small.
And then the holy grail of modern physics - unifying gravity with the other forces. Superstrings here too come to the rescue, and so it seems that all of physics can be explained in one complex, but very elegant theory - a "theory of everything."
Very exciting, indeed. However, it isn't about physics that you should be excited about when superstrings are discussed here. We are trying to see reality in its entirety, not just the tangible or testable parts of it. Our Theory of Everything is much broader in scope, but like superstring theory, it also has a mountain of evidence supporting it, and the funny thing is, superstrings are part of that evidence. Superstrings are a profound mark for a creator of physical reality in the same way that DNA is a mark for a creator of life. Why?
Superstring theory and the mechanics of DNA share pure and elegant structure that appear to be designed with a goal in mind because like DNA, superstrings by themselves would be nothing more than a box of inert dust, another box of parts, but when they are set to vibrate at certain frequencies and made to interact with each other through the mediums of further laws, space and time, it all works together like a grand machine - structure upon structure upon structure - impossible to exist as I have argued using theories of infinite random variance.
One could argue, though, that a creator for DNA based life could have been some ancient alien life form that has since died off or is unknown to us, but you cannot argue away the fabric of the universe in such a way. The creator of the universe necessarily must be outside of that universe. However, the similarities in the pure genius of DNA based life and the structure of our universe based on superstrings point to a very similar intelligence - one that is far beyond what we can imagine - and so similar in fact that it points to the same origin for both.
The proof is in the structure of life as well as physical reality. They both boil down to singular, very elegantly constructed entities (DNA and superstrings) that when put into operation produce so much more than the sum of their parts. One becomes many on an order of magnitude beyond imagination, like the letters, words and sentences of language can combine to create an infinite variety of communication.
DNA has its machinery that is needed for it to work and superstrings has its machinery (the laws governing their operation). These things go together and are so complex and structured, yet so elegantly designed, that intelligent design must necessarily be behind them, just as the writer is behind the story and the artist is behind the portrait. How else can the parameters of superstrings be set properly to create everything we see in the universe, including specifications that are perfect for DNA based life, when infinite random variance or random anything is inadequate to explain it?
Scientists must have reasonable alternative theories that could support the existence of our reality and life with absolutely zero intelligent influence, but there are currently no theories that do not involve the theoretical notions of infinite random variance - the simple mixing of a soup whether it be a cosmic soup for the universe or a primordial organic soup for life.
To make progress, one needs to look to a more plausible explanation - an explanation that not only has back up from a variety of sources but also melds physical reality with life in such a way that it becomes obvious that everything in existence belongs under one umbrella. The explanation I bring forward now is that there is a creator and not just any creator but the one we know as God - the final solidifying agent we need to fully draft reality.
Not Just Any God
When I speak of God, I refer to the only one who fits as the foundation for all creation - our universe, biological life, and our own existence. How can I make this assertion when there are many gods in many religions with many creation stories? Am I simply being prejudiced or conceited in my thinking? You will see in the next chapter how I stand on that question.
For now, I speak based on what I have learned during this "drafting up" of reality, which is through the thousands of years of human history, there is only one god who has proven himself to believers time and again with miracles, prophecies that have come, facts and details about history, spirituality, human nature and even science that are backed up from sources outside the Bible. This is the one and only true God - he who is called Yahweh in the Old Testament and is the God of Israel as well as all Christians today.
Consider how I just mentioned that both life and the fabric of the universe can be shown to come from the same source, the same Creator. Not only are their designs similar and ingeniously elegant, but they both share a component of reality that, though, has not been scientifically confirmed, nonetheless exists - a spiritual component. Some people think that anything spiritual is nonsense and imaginary hocus pocus, but that would not be the right line of thought to expand understanding of reality. Conclusions of this sort would be falling to Selective Reasoning.
The spiritual side of nature is simply a part of it that is invisible, yes, but is as ingrained in all life and reality and as essential to them as your blood is to your own livelihood. The spiritual side of nature is just another aspect of reality - one that is not easy or may actually be impossible to probe with the scientific method.
Accepting a spiritual side to ourselves and life is straightforward since most of us have been exposed to ideas of the human spiritual world with life after death, meditation, and life energy or chi and other spiritual notions, but a spiritual side to physical reality itself is harder to grasp.
The Bible alludes to this spiritual part of the natural world in passages like Leviticus 18:25, "Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants," and other instances of "the land" becoming contaminated or saturated with sin or "bad energy." Are these references simply narrative tools or more literal?
To answer this, look at another aspect of the spiritual realm - hauntings. There are two types of hauntings. The first are what we generally think of as a haunting, which deal with the interactions of ghosts, spirits or other invisible, intelligent beings with people, but the other kind are more like a geographic recording in which a particular location seems to play back over and over again an intense event in its history, such as the sounds and events of a long gone battle can sometimes be heard and seen in some old fields of war. These types of hauntings are not interactive or "intelligent" but simply seem to be a recording of space-time at that location.
The spiritual side of reality can also be experienced with psychics who can "read" an object or location simply by being there or touching it. These abilities have been used to good effect by law enforcement seeking information about a crime that only a direct witness could know.
These aspects of physical reality point to a spiritual component that has something in common with the spiritual part of ourselves and life in general. Perhaps calling this aspect of reality "spiritual" is confusing since we tend to associate spiritual things with notions of being alive. In this context, I only want to convey that physical reality has a scientifically unknown component that operates in a way we do not understand and that we and life in general also have similar components that are not understood by science.
Indeed, I believe that all of Creation, our physical reality and life, are tied together by a common "spiritual" component and this common ground between them is another link that tells us there is one creator for all of it.
Circling Evidence in the Bible
One creator, but again, why the god of Israel and Christianity? Inevitably, when we talk about God we must also talk about the Bible and God's Word. Its content and validity has been disputed throughout the centuries, but through every attack it has stood intact almost unchanged since the earliest writings thousands of years ago. The Bible remains solid because its foundation is solid.
There are many works by other authors and experts about the validity of the Bible and its contents, so I will not repeat their insights here. Anyone interested in studying this aspect of the Bible should read Lee Strobel's book, A Case For Christ, and the works of the experts that he consults as a good starting point for studying how valid and true the Bible really is. My contribution here is to build on those other works and note that science has actually validated many things in the Bible that were thought to be untrue or too preposterous to even consider as true.
As crazy or implausible as some of the content in the Bible seems, much of it has been confirmed through research and other scientific discoveries through the years. I will note some of the more recent discoveries. Consider the Adam and Eve story in which all humans are said to be descended from these two people.
There is actually scientific evidence of this in the Mitochondrial Eve theory where it was found that every human today has one and only one common maternal ancestor - an Eve. This intriguing evidence was found through the study of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), a type of DNA that is inherited only from the mother.
mtDNA was examined from populations around the world and it was found that commonalities for all populations made a geographic trail leading back to one geographic source and one maternal ancestor. The mtDNA geographic trail also matches anthropological and archeological evidence that had already been studied showing the migration of the human population through its earliest history - a trail that leads to one location somewhere in the northeast African region. Coincidence? That is a question I will bring up many times here.
Perhaps it is a coincidence these separate fields of science match up and tell the same story. It may also be a coincidence that there even is a Mitochondrial Eve - that there is only one maternal ancestor for all of us. But science says it is possible that Eve would have had contemporaries living at the same time as her. It is only that the family lines of Eve's contemporaries either completely died off or a generation had only sons to further the line and so the mtDNA for that maternal line was lost. This theoretical possibility leaves doubt to the Eve known in the Bible, but there are many more validations of the Bible than through DNA evidence.
How about another Biblical story, The Great Flood, in which the whole of the earth was flooded with rain for 40 days. There is scientific evidence for this too in the fossil record and sedimentary soil samples around the world that points to a very swift (in geologic terms) and massive flow of fresh water everywhere. Coincidence? Is it also coincidence that almost all cultures from around the world have a Great Flood story that are so similar that a common root must be considered?
The last two examples of Biblical evidence had to do with scientific confirmations. There is much more evidence if you look into the work of other people, as I have mentioned. It ranges from historical documentation in non-Biblical sources to archeological finds that confirm Biblical content and further confirmations from other areas of the sciences. Another good reference for more scientific validation of Bible content is Ray Comfort's book, Scientific Facts in the Bible. Can so much logical and scientific validation of the Bible all be mere coincidence?
How about this last piece of scientific evidence? It concerns the notion of a global consciousness - that all of us are linked somehow to each other and the universe as a whole. There is an ongoing academic study called the Global Consciousness Project or EGG, which has found correlations in apparently random data that coincide with major events around the world.
The study monitors dozens of physical random number generators (machines that produce random numbers without human intervention) around the world, and it has found through statistical analysis of the results that spikes in the data come just before major events such as the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, bombings and other terrorist attacks, economic crisis, large earthquakes, major accidents like plane crashes, and even Christmas Eve.
This amazing correlation suggests a link between the very workings of the universe with our own nature and what is important to us as humans. This is yet another tick mark for that common "spiritual" component that I argue is further proof that everything in existence comes from one source - one Creator.
How else can machines that simply output random numbers correlate so strongly with totally unrelated events that are only important as it relates to us and our lives if there is not an actual connection between the fabrics of the universe and our own being? Science cannot explain this, but the Bible can and does. Both the universe and ourselves owe existence to one common source.
When you look at all the correlating evidence for Biblical validity it begins to stack up, higher and higher, such that it cannot be ignored any longer. A logical person would have to come to the conclusion that if there is so much real world validation of things in the Bible then it would be reasonable to assume that much more of its content is valid and true, even the things about the so-called imaginary and intangible, like angels, spirituality, and creation.
This logic is no different than scientists assuming that superstring theory is true. It too is just as unproven and unconfirmed as God and the spiritual world, but there is so much evidence for it that the probability of it being true soars to near 100%. Anyone who overlooks the evidence for Biblical validity yet believes in the evidence for superstring theory would be falling to Selective Reasoning. We cannot fall to such fallacies of reasoning if we are to understand reality in its entirety.
The Blind Can See
We are just as the blind using sticks to poke about our reality in order to understand it, but our sticks are not the best means for getting a true picture of reality - that blueprint we are after. How then can the blind see? It is only through someone who can see and understand that we may see. That someone only need tell us through language and concepts that we can understand for us to gain the insights we need to view reality in its truest form.
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless" (Ecclesiastes 1:2). The Teacher, for us is God, the only person to have proven his knowledge to be valid and true in so many ways, not just through the Bible but also externally by science and other sources. The quote from Ecclesiastes is a very simple statement but it can only be understood in context.
Why is everything, all human wisdom, knowledge and work, meaningless? Recall the Superlative Data Blob I brought up earlier. It is an impressive collection of knowledge, but in the end it is a meaningless mass because it does nothing to show purpose - the meaning behind our existence and everything else.
It is only when the Teacher sheds light onto that purpose and answers the why and how we are here that the Blob can solidify into a clear picture of reality. In other words, it is only when reality is framed by God that we may see it true. Life, existence, and reality itself gain that meaning that was absent in the knowledge gained from the chaotic churning of poking mere sticks.
To show that God is truly the solidifying factor for our reality, I will now move on to the last and probably the most interesting source of validation and evidence for Him and His Word in the Bible. This source is what a large part of the content in the Bible is composed of - witness testimony.
It is through witness testimony that many things are proven true to those who did not witness directly. We see this working in the courts of law every day and to discount it in this context would be another act of Selective Reasoning.
Atheists would like to dismiss witness testimony entirely because it cannot be explained other than to brand the witnesses incapable, insane, or liars, but this tact would be illogical because of the sheer amount of witness testimony we have today and throughout history. You may be able to dismiss a handful of cases but hundreds and thousands, if not millions, all over the world, today and through many centuries?
A simple look at statistics will immediately tell you that not all witnesses are incapable or insane or lying. Certainly some people may be crazy or lying or just mistaken but 100 percent? 50 percent? Even 20% is too large a percentage to brand the general population as invalid or too unreasonable to believe. The numbers simply do not support dismissal on that order.
In fact, witness testimony is probably the most valid of all evidence because through it and the witnesses themselves we can share in their perspective and gain their insights from having experienced reality in ways we have not. The next two chapters will give the testimony of two witnesses, myself and Bill Wilson, who I introduced in Chapter One with a recounting of one of his amazing experiences. Our testimony will serve here to further highlight the true blueprint of reality and show that not only is there a God, but another who has been appointed as the Teacher, Gatekeeper, and Guide for all of humanity.
[continue to Chapter 3]