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  Wednesday July 23rd, 2014    

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This magnificent universe (09/22/2013)
From: Finbar McMullen, FSC

When I was younger, I used to enjoy the writings of Teresa of Avila. She was a practical person who knew how to get things done. Even though she had authorization from high authorities to begin her reform of the Carmelite Order, she frequently had to fly under the radar of lesser ones to establish her new convents. She wrote in glowing terms of the goodness of God as if she had just learned that God was not out to zap us at every turn. I could not relate to her enthusiasm. It was not until I had discovered astronomy and cosmology that I could join her in those feelings. People who relegate the earth to only 6,000 years are totally unable to appreciate the marvels that are all around us. Just take the sun. Astronomers can talk about its temperature, but that is just a number. One tiny sliver of its light and heat makes its way 93 million miles to the earth. All surface life on the earth depends on that heat and light. All the rest of it just goes off into space. To get some idea of that quantity of heat, I imagine a sphere with a radius of 93 million miles around the sun. I canít vouch for the accuracy of my calculations, but I figure that well over 200 million earths could fit on that sphere and each would get as much from the sun as we do. Our sun is just average size, but every star we see in the sky is another sun, and there are many billions in our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers can estimate how many billions of galaxies there are, but itís only an estimate. All this energy was somehow locked up in the big bang. Some people deny the big bang, in much the same way as those who have an axe to grind in denying global warming. The big bang was just a conclusion from mathematics, but those who believed in the theory kept looking for evidence in much the same way that those who have religious faith keep looking for evidence to support their beliefs. By their calculations there should still be a remnant of that original energy floating around in the entire universe, but, how to prove it? They developed equipment to detect faint amounts of energy while scanning the whole universe but had to wait many years before getting space in a rocket that would carry it into orbit. The results were an exact fit with their calculations. Now this might not be a direct proof of the big bang, but it does confirm the original calculations. I recently learned that all the matter we now have in the universe is just a small fraction of what originally came from the big bang, because all the rest was destroyed by anti-matter. If this had not happened would there have been so much matter that there would have been no empty space between galaxies? Would gravity have been so great that the universe would have been one huge black hole that would have swallowed everything?

Those who hold to 6,000 years and the direct creation of Adam and Eve still need to explain why men have nipples and are able to get breast cancer. Tracing oneís genealogy back through 300 generations is no answer to the problem. Anyone who thinks that tracing it back that far has any meaning lives in a dream world. There is another problem to consider. We all get goose bumps. Every hair has a little muscle that makes it stand erect. Some animals need that feature to help them keep warm. We donít need them. Did God just slip up once more? I think it is more to Godís honor to think that matter was given the property to continually develop into more complicated forms. I might be wrong, but I hold that the only place where God put a finger into the regular order of things is with regard to water. When matter gets colder it shrinks and becomes more dense. and continues to do so down to absolute zero. In common parlance it gets heavier. Water doesnít do so. When it gets down around 32 degrees it starts to expand, becoming lighter. Then it freezes and stays on top of the water. If it kept getting more dense it would sink to the bottom of the lake. Perhaps it would never freeze, but what would things be like if ice formed at the bottom of a lake? I guess fish can survive in ice, but what about the plants? How long would it take for the ice to melt?

There are so many fascinating things about nature that lead a person to wonder, but only if one accepts evolution. How did camels come to have such wide feet? How did chameleons come to have cells in their skin that have color that can be turned on and off? How did they manage to get the connections from their eyes to the brain, and then to each of those cells? How did snakes and other venomous animals develop those venoms and the hollow teeth for delivering them? Did they somehow know what they were doing? How did we manage to get the coughing reflex when something goes down our windpipe? And not only that, but how did we manage to get all those little ďhairsĒ in our windpipes that move to work food particles back into our throats? There are perhaps hundreds of different electromagnetic types of radiation that come from the sun. They are distinguished by the frequency at which they vibrate. How did the retinas of our eyes come to have cells that are responsive to the visible colors of the spectrum? Infrared and ultraviolet waves are just a little different in frequency from red and violet, but we do not see them, which is a good thing. When a mammal breaks a bone, about seven different processes must kick in to complete the healing. Thatís quite complicated. Filling a whole page with things like this about the human body and the plant and animal kingdoms would be a piece of cake.

Here is where I go into theory. My position is that all living beings, plant or animal, have an intelligence, and that all species have some form of collective unconscious. They know what their shortcomings are and they know how things could be changed to make survival easier. They are able to modify their genes, perhaps over many thousands of years, but they do it. Perhaps they can work on atoms at the quantum level where reality is more fluid. This does more to honor Godís power and wisdom than any theory of creationism ever can. And it gives full scope to the universal human question: ďHow?Ē

 

 

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