Sunday, August 26, 2012


     I was an atheist for most of my life. I am fairly literate in science and I over-all respect science, including such concepts as the Big Bang and evolution.
      A major turning point for me was when I no longer framed the question of a deity or deities between a nice clear cut cage match of Judeo-Christian beliefs in one corner and Darwinism in the other. Taking The Bible and Christianity and any number of religious people out of the question altogether, might various religions include, at their best, imperfect attempts to grasp something valid?
     There are any number of experiments designed to illustrate how nature manifests order, complexity, and, conceivably, life, at random. One I have come across online is to take a tumbler. Place matching nuts and bolts inside the tumbler and let the machine spin, tossing them around. After a certain period of time, depending on such variables as how many matching sets of nuts and bolts were placed in the tumbler, some of them will have begun to thread together. Random nature can assemble things.
     What I find interesting about this experiment though is to ask how much of it we should consider? The intent is clearly that no one had to manually assemble the nuts and bolts. Other facets of it that I notice include that the tumbler was designed and manufactured and procured, as were the conveniently matching nuts and bolts. A power source was produced and accessed for the machine, and of course someone placed the nuts and bolts into that tumbler and threw the switch. By analogy, conditions were deliberately set into motion by which nature can build things at random.
     I think of a part of the unauthorized collection of essays by Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything. Toward the end of that book, he asks why there are any laws of thermodynamics in the first place, resulting in a universe to describe. He then asks if God made it all. And if so, "then who made Him?"
      I feel that it is valid to ask, instead of the universe we ponder and are a part and product of, why, instead, hadn't there been a universe of absolute disorder after the Big Bang? Or why, really, hadn't there simply been no Big Bang at all, and no universe, ordered or otherwise, and none of us or life or earth or anything else?
      I continue to agree with my former tribe, the atheists, that nature and evolution unfold at random. The only essential difference now is that I no longer happen to believe that they unfold purely at random.~Mike.

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