Finally got it…

"If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning"

The preceding quote is from one of my favorite books (Mere Christianity).  I have read this book several times and this is one of the sentences that I didn't fully get.  I have used it (rather effectively if I might add) in discussions with people who don't think the universe has any meaning.  Kind of like using a camera to take nice pictures without having a clue as to how a camera works.

I went to a seminar at work today (they take place every Wednesday) that dealt with fruit fly genetics (fun stuff, trust me).  What was cool about the talk is that some of the experiments discussed helped me to understand what Lewis was talking about.  Basically the researcher induced random mutations in the DNA of the fruit flies to see what would happen.  

After he had said this, I thought "How can mutations that are induced by intelligent beings be random?"  The experiment had to be designed didn't it?  And wasn't there an intelligence behind the design? 

It was at this moment that I saw the bigger picture.  If the universe is random and thus has no purpose, how can it produce things like us? Things that can think and can conjure up a word lik 'random'?  Yes, we know what random is, because if we didn't then we would have never known it.  It was at this moment that I thought back to the point that Lewis was trying to make and the light went off in my head. 

Of course, Lewis makes the point more eloquently using the illustration of a universe devoid of light.  Beings in that lightless universe wouldn't have any eyes and thus they would never know that it was dark because they know nothing else but dark and consequently the word 'dark' would be a word without meaning.   

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6 Responses to Finally got it…

  1. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for painting something more clearly that for many is still in the dark.

  2. kena says:

    wait, so are you saying you subscribe to natural selection? even if divinely led, there are still major junctions where the history of natural selection would not coincide with the bible’s genesis. and are we to assume that man was created as-is present day (homo sapiens sapiens)? or was he created at homo erectus? or maybe even before that at the australopithicus family trunk? yes, we can sit and argue with the validity of the elaborate human evolutionary tree that anthropologists have designed but i think its silly to deny the existence of all of the remains of what is obviously human. And what of Homo Neandertalensis? Was that branch destined to die off? a failed human form?

    one thing i was struck by in studying the basic structure of DNA replication was the spontaneity of it all. i dont know how exactly i had figured it before, but when i saw that things happened because of sheer mechanical and chemical inability to do otherwise, i thought to myself that living cells are the most extraordinarily designed machines. yes there are glitches but even for them there are solutions built into the cell. Now here’s the rub, for me anyway: it could either be that quite simply nothing but the most perfect version of a living cell could have survived anyway because all other inferior models would have died off or it was simply perfectly designed to begin with.
    for me, its slippery slope in either direction.

  3. Lazaro says:

    The fourth edition of Campbell’s Biology (a book that you and I’ve both started using in H.S. and continued to use in college) defines natural selection as the following:

    Differential success in the reproduction of different phenotypes resulting from the interaction of organisms with their environments.

    I agree with this definition because it’s actually verifiable in such classic examples as the peppered moth and antibiotic resistant bacteria. Let’s leave out the fact that both of these examples are actually examples of artificial selection. But are they really since man is also part of the earth’s ecosystem? (your opinions regarding our carelessness nonwithstanding)

    As for the hominid fossil record, it’s a stalemate at best. I won’t even bring up Piltdown man, Java man, or Peking man, 3 of the best known hoaxes in this reputable field. The evolutionists start with one view and build everything up on that and creationists do the same. Both groups have the same evidence in front of them and choose to interepret it based on their worldview.

    An example if I may; I read an article in Science(AAAS) (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/279/5347/28) where they’re talking about the Mitochondrial clock which supposedly is used to calculate evolutionary divergences. In the article they talk about a new method of using mtDNA sequences to fine tune the clock, and so they test out the new method to calculate the age of the ‘mitochondrial Eve’ the woman whose mtDNA is ancestral to that in all living people. In the evolutionary worldview this woman lived 100,000-200,000 years ago, but when they ran the test they got a very interesting result, and i quote:

    “Using the new clock, she would be a mere 6000 years old.”

    Wow, imagine that… of course the article goes on to say that no one in science thinks this is the case, why? because it doesn’t fit their worldview. They concocted an experiment, ran it, they didn’t like the results so they tossed them, and the scientists are the ones that we’re supposed to trust?

  4. Lazaro says:

    I needed another comment to address the DNA stuff. When I was sitting at the aforementioned seminar, I started thinking about origin of life and stuff. You know where I stand on the issue but I decided to take the classic evolutionary viewpoint (for the sake of argument.)

    You know as well as I do that nothing in biochemistry runs w/o enzymes. Yet enzymes are proteins themselves, composed from 20 amino acids. You don't get proteins in such ordered structures without information. That's where nucleic acids come in. yet in a cell what do you find in the nucleic acid synthesis pathways? ENZYMES!!! As much as I would love to get into a chicken or the egg argument at the biological level, I won't.

    As to the sheer inability of things being the mechanism by which things happen, let me ask you a question. Doesn't that suggest that there are certain unviolable [absolute, if you will 😉 ] rules that molecules and atoms have to follow? To me that suggests that there's an Intelligence behind it all who created the rules and decided that UGA was going to stop translation, just a thought…

  5. kena says:

    i wont at all disagree that scientists filter out information. that’s interesting that it was 6000 years.
    by natural selection, i meant to imply more or less the chain of evolution that separates species. like dinosaurs never interacted with humans, birds were a later development than insects, etc.

    as far as you trying to peg the label of post-modernist on me, i’m not anti-absolute. i do believe in certain absolutes. therefore it is not an egregious error on life’s part that there absolute rules concerning how they function. do you get what i’m saying though, that non-perfect specimens would find it almost impossible to continue their line.
    its like how women probably become pregnant and lose the zygote, baby, whatever, without even knowing b/c some error occurs in the early developmental stages and causes a miscarriage. even the ones that make it through with “errors” would find it extremely difficult to reproduce if not for corrective medication, therapy, etc.
    all im saying is that, the way i see it, the intricacy of life could be explained either way.

  6. Lazaro says:

    yeah I know you’re not a post-modernist (i’ll use it whether or not they can agree on a definition for it…) or at least I’ve learned it in talking to you regarding the matter…

    as far as dinosaurs interacting with humans, so certain are you? there was as finding about a year ago, published in the peer-reviewed ‘Science’ and reported here (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7285683/) of soft tissue in the femur of a T.Rex… now according to scientists the last of these great beasts roamed the earth about what? 65 million years?

    so riddle me this, how can elastic soft tissue have been found in a specimen that old? how can this type of tissue be conserved for at least 65 million years? I read the article in ‘Science’ and not once did the white elephant in the room come up. The white elephant that maybe, just maybe the fossil is not as old as they think it is, but since it doesn’t fit their nice formula on age of the earth then they ignore it…

    There’s also strata that has been found where there are dinosaur tracks and human tracks found in the same level… so there’s evidence, so what are we going to do with the evidence? we’re going to look at it through the lens of our pre-conceived ideas on the matter…

    yeah I know what you’re saying but there’s a catch in what you’re saying… the corrective medication and therapies used to ‘correct errors’ would also have to fall w/in evolution itself since the creatures that invented them are themselves products of evolution (in that worldview, of course)… which brings us back to the whole random thing… the very fact that we recognize things as not being normal, tells us that there is an ideal or a standard by which things are compared and when they don’t meet the standard, they are corrected…

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