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Author Comments About the Miracle
These notes are not in the book, but added by the author after some considerable thought about our very existence and even the very existence of life itself.
Sitting on my patio in the morning, what appeared as a tiny spec of white dust floated by. But it was not a tiny spec of dust, but a living thing. Not only was it alive but it could fly! And not only could it fly, but in order for it to exist at all it had to be capable of finding food and water and also reproduce itself. This tiny spec of dust was indeed an infinitely complex work of biomechanical engineering. This continued to lead to other thoughts that went something like this:
First, we know that life appeared on earth almost as soon as the environment was capable of supporting life. That in itself if pretty remarkable.
But suppose that life "just happened" via all the right molecules coming together at the right time and place in some sort of pre-life soup. We know that life needs proteins and that there are at least 20 different amino acids that make up proteins. Suppose a simple protein of 100 amino acids in length was needed for that first living cell. Of course, the protein would have to have some specific combination of amino acids in order to perform the needed function for the cell, whatever that function might be. And the only way to be sure to have the "exact right protein" would be to make all combinations of amino acids available to that first cell.
It turns out that there are 20 to the power of 100 (20100) different such proteins. That's because there are 20 choices for each of the 100 amino acids. That (20100) is a number that is greater than all the fundamental particles in the universe. Not molecules or even atoms, but fundamental particles, like protons and neutrons. In other words, there is not enough matter in the entire universe to ensure that every protein possible would be available for that first living cell. And a 100-amino acid long protein is not a very complicated protein, but a rather simple one. This makes it obvious that no pre-life "soup" could ever exist in which all combinations of all molecules needed would be present. Hence, there had to be some type of selection process for the pre-life "soup" itself.
Then, there is this. Suppose the first form of life was a plant, which it most likely was. Plants derive energy from the sun and consume carbon dioxide (CO2) and give off oxygen (O2). But sooner or later, all the carbon dioxide would be consumed and replaced with oxygen. Hence, the plant life would cease to exist (because there is no more carbon dioxide). Therefore, not only did "life" need to somehow evolve, but "two forms of life" had to evolve. One form consumes carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen and the other form of life consumes oxygen and gives off carbon dioxide. What a deal. And it just so happens that the life form that gives off carbon dioxide gets its energy by eating the plants. But this still is not enough for life to both exist and survive.
Since all living things eventually die, they need to reproduce themselves. Hence, it is not enough just to come into existence, but living things need to create more living things just like themselves. That is true of trees, insects, birds, humans, cows, and so on. No living thing lives forever and without the ability to reproduce that living thing eventually no longer exists.
On top of all that, many living things can think, see, hear, feel heat, feel pressure, smell, taste, and communicate, just to name a few. Life does not simply exist and reproduce. Living things do much more than exist and reproduce.
And of course, we can't forget that many of the heavier elements that are necessary for life were created in exploding stars (super novas). Those exploding stars had to come first billions of years first.
As a scientist, I can accept that the universe came into being perhaps by a "Big Bang" or perhaps by "colliding universes." I can also accept that the matter that was created, however it was created, has certain rules (physics and chemistry) that it has to obey. But the existence of "Life" is a totally different ball game. In fact, it's a ball game called "a miracle." It is simply not possible for non-living matter to come together and form living-matter.
No one is saying that there is a God in Heaven with a white beard and wearing white rob and carrying a magic cane. But clearly, there is a Higher Intelligence and/or Higher Power out there somewhere, or perhaps everywhere. Perhaps it is the Universe itself.
Considering everything that had to happen in the Universe for life to exist, like super novas, the fact that we exist at all is mind-boggling. Infinitely mind-boggling. And once that sinks in, the next thing that appears is "Who or What" would have the infinite intelligence to create life from non-living matter? And then: "Why?"
Now this: What are we doing with this incredible gift from the Universe? Are we pursuing Love and Knowledge or hate and ignorance? Whatever form God happens to be there have to be tears in God's eyes. That is not to say that there are not a lot of Good People doing lots of Good things. But at the same time, there are many others involved in the pursuit of power and greed via war and destruction. What a waste. Remember Evil is Live spelled backwards and the reason that Evil is wrong is that it simply does not work. When are we going to figure that out?
I asked a friend why he thought the human species spends so much time and energy fighting and killing each other? His answer was: "Fear." I thought about this for a while and came to my own conclusion: "Stupidity." Yes, stupidity. If my understanding is correct, during the recorded history of mankind, which is about 4000 years, there have been about 15,000 wars with a cost of about 3.5 billion lives. Just think what the human race could have accomplished applying all that time, energy and resources to positive goals instead of weapons, destruction and war. What could be dumber?
Somehow, there needs to be a paradigm shift such that we see the miracle given to us from the Universe and realize that we are all in this together
In the words of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: " life is ultimately very short and everything we do counts."
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