“Less,” he responded without hesitation.
I was surprised, and judging by his current behavior, I believe he may have changed his mind. But I was surprised because the complexity and precision of human biology seems to cry out for a “designer.” It’s hard to imagine the evolutionary process as entirely random.
Though I’ve lost the reference to this, I recall reading a quote that said something to the effect that believing that creation is entirely random is like believing that a press building explodes and a fully bound, up-to-date Encyclopedia Britannica blows out of the explosion and onto the street. For those of you unfamiliar with this classic work, the Encyclopedia in its various forms had from 12 to 17 volumes, each with at least 1,000 pages, on practically every subject you can think of.
I thought of this because of the recent visit of my son, his spouse and their 3-month-old baby. I didn’t have to change his diaper, but while watching his parents do it, it occurred to me how the baby’s emerging internal organs and systems are developing. He’s currently being fed by mother’s milk and his digestive system works accordingly, but as it grows and develops its digestive system will, incredibly, adapt to solid food.
Here are other facts, not at all among the most significant, about the human body that I find no less than amazing. They’re from the web site, Scienceray.com.
· In one day, you shed about 10 billion skin flakes and salivate an average of 1-3 pints of saliva.
· The heart produces enough pressure to squirt blood over 35 feet. It beats an average of 35 million times per year, or around 100,000 times per day.
Instead of wondering why at my age my biological processes and organs are slowing, I marvel that they still work at all, that wounds still heal and that although I’m losing brain cells, I’m also generating them. I find that incredible. What human-made thing is as efficient and durable?
Ok, so the universe is amazing. That doesn’t disprove the randomness of evolution or prove God’s existence. That’s true, but just as some people write off God and religion because of their “gut feelings,” my rational self can’t accept the total randomness of evolution. I understand that many scientists say the universe has no need for a designer, but evolution without one, and without a “goal,” makes no sense, and making sense is important to humans.
It occurs to me that the randomness of evolution may be similar to that of a casino slot machine. According to an on-line article by John Robison in the American Casino Guide, the machines are designed to pay out, say, 95 percent of what is inserted, so the “house” will always derive 5 percent on average. But the chances of an individual player winning at any particular time are still random.
“Random does not mean that everything is completely unpredictable and unknowable,” says Robison.
Returning to evolution, it seems to me that a God who used evolution and its randomness to create, nonetheless had certain results in mind. It’s the most plausible explanation for how, or maybe why, the universe is evolving. We assume, of course that contemporary humans are the end result and the apex of evolution, but that may not be the case. After all, as the Psalms say, who knows the mind of the Designer?
Theologians remind us that faith is not meant to answer scientific questions, and I believe them. However, to make sense of reality, all of us have to reconcile what we know from theology and science, and science has been unable to answer how, let alone why, the universe exists.
Given what I know from my brief time on this earth, the “big bang” seems less like the explosion of the printing press – an event that occurred for no particular reason and with no particular “goal” – and more like a deliberate, purposeful event kicking off billions of years of evolution that resulted in what we experience as contemporary human beings.
Getting from that idea to the idea of a personal God, who knows about me and cares for me, is another matter, of course, but that subject must await other blogs (although I’ve written about it in previous blogs). Unlike my retired doctor friend, the little I know of science and medicine, and of what I observe on a daily basis, confirms my faith in God.