Friday, November 30, 2007

Clay Pots, Watches, The Human Eye, Oh My...

Is common sense allowed as we consider how our lives and this universe got here?

Archaeologists will say that a clay pot is solid evidence that a civilization once lived here. No one believes that the ground, or wind, or chemicals randomly assembled to form that clay pot and accidentally painted a design on it. People made it. If a simple clay pot shows human design, what do we conclude about an object whose make up is far more complex? Like, the human eye. It can distinguish among seven million colors. It moves 100,000 times each day with automatic focusing and the eye handles 1.5 million simultaneous messages.1

Are we to believe that though a clay pot did not arise from natural means, the human eye just came about from elements in the atmosphere? Some would say that science demands such a conclusion, because to believe in God is not scientific. How is that different from finding the clay pot and starting with the assumption that people didn't exist in that location, so scientists must now find out how that clay pot developed from the elements in the ground or air.2

We're told that producing a human eye takes a long time. It is assumed that such random chance takes a great amount of time to perfectly assemble something complex. So, here is a test. Let's say someone handed you a plastic bag filled with all the parts to a watch, where you were certain that all the correct springs, screws, discs are in that bag. How long would you be willing to shake that bag hoping that the pieces would fall together and the screws would each find the right hole and tighten nicely? There must be some possibility that it could happen. Picture yourself shaking that bag. You probably wouldn't shake it beyond 30 seconds. Why not? Because common sense tells you that no matter how long you shake that bag, the pieces will never align to become a working watch. It wouldn't matter if you shook that bag one minute or thousands of years.

Just because someone argues that "maybe, someday, somehow, by chance"... should that line of reasoning supersede common sense? Like the Emperor’s New Clothes, shouldn't there be a voice in the crowd saying, "Yeah, but complex life arising from simple non-life is such an outside chance, wouldn't it make more sense to look for another explanation?"

What about the likelihood of life on Earth? Maybe you are aware of all the perfect conditions that were necessary for us to be here: the earth's perfect distance from the sun, the perfect combination of gases in our atmosphere, the perfect tilt and rotation of Earth, the perfect gravitational force, the presence of water, and on and on.

Astrophysicist George Smoot explains that the degree of fine-tuning required for life to exist on Earth would be similar to shooting an arrow all the way to the unofficial planet Pluto (four billion miles away) and having the arrow come within a hundred yards of the target.3

Do you like to bet? Would you be apt to bet if the odds were 5:1 against you? How about if they were 6,000:1 against you? If you were to bet on the universe developing without a Designer, the odds of our universe forming on its own is 10124 to 1.

Again, just because there is a vastly remote chance that all the requirements perfectly fell into place by chance, why would a reasonable person conclude that it actually did come about that way? If the odds of a jet making it safely to its destination were 10124 to 1, who would get on that plane? We are so reasonable in so many areas of life. We look at clay pots and watches and are willing to say that obviously people made these, even if we don't see those people. Could not the same logic be used when we consider the human body and the universe?

Don't the intricacies of the human body and the universe give reason to say, "Though I don't see him, it makes most sense to conclude that God exists"?

1 Hugh Davson, Physiology of the Eye, 5th ed (New York: McGraw Hill, 1991).

2 Concept and the hyperlinked article that we recommend later, are by Dr. John P. Marcus. He received his Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the U of Michigan and is research officer at the Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Plant Pathology, University of Queensland, Australia. He is currently researching novel antifungal proteins, their corresponding genes, and their application in genetic engineering of crop plants for disease resistance.

3 Fred Herren, Show Me God, 3rd ed. (Wheeling, IL: Day Star, 1997), 213.

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