Grassroots Commentary

A Touch of God With a Dash of Science

Norm McDonald · Aug. 20, 2014

The mutually inclusive or exclusive characteristics of science and the belief in a creator, depending on how one views life and how it came about, seems to confound so many and has done for the nearly 200 years of scientific recent advancement. I have never understood why. I see no conflict whatsoever. Whether there was a Big Bang accident, a God induced Big Bang or some other Intelligent Design and method, as I see it, all are creation. The Universe as we know it consists of tens of thousands of galaxies with billions of stars in each of them and some sort of planetary bodies within these stars gravitational range. On many of these planets, and our own in particular, life happened. Do we know for sure there could be life outside of our own little blue and green planet? Not yet, but to quote the great Carl Sagan, “If there is no life out there, it sure is a waste of space.” Life is very complex and also very perfect from the largest galaxy to down to the atomic level. Every bit of matter at the quantum level fits exactly where it should be and as it gets larger, to the metabolic level, it becomes more complex and even more perfectly designed. Did this all happen by chance with mere accidental mutations? I think not.

I am not an astronomer, merely an avid of a reader of scientific journals and periodicals intended to whet my curiosity. Possibly a more powerful influence on my thinking is that I have been a passionate reader of Science Fiction for nearly 60 years. I remember very well the first Sci Fi books I read: Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars and the wonderful world of Jules Vern and his visions of what was outside the earthly bounds; or within the earth on a Journey to the Center. Then later came the “Golden Age of Science Fiction” and Issac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, Arthur C. Clarke,  Robert A. Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, L. Ron Hubbard and many others too numerous to list. These writers were foreseeing models in science that were far beyond their time periods. And now, many of those Science Fiction conceptions and images these authors foretold are part of our daily lives.

I do have degrees in the Life Sciences. Medical Laboratory Science, with minors in Microbiology, Chemistry and Specialties in Immunology and Immunohematology. Much to my delight, in the last few years, the Sci Fi authors have moved to adding the Life Sciences to their imaginative writing with the advancements in technology related to these disciplines. And what they can imagine now is so powerful an image that it is near to what we may call … Creation.

Are scientists generally atheists? Not hardly and frankly most are not; although the movies and media would have us believe this is true. Many may be agnostic; but that leaves them open to the question of creation by design or accident. All scientists, agnostic, atheist or believer, should be open to every question; the fundamental base of science. Most have an idea of a greater power of some sort simply because of the sheer complexity of the Universe and Life. An interesting fact is most of our Astronauts are believers and a few became that way after going into space.

Much has been written, discussed and taught over the last 150 years of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, or “Darwinism.” Many who use Darwin’s theories as the end of discussion on creation use his work as proof of the non-existence of a greater power; more short sighted nonsense. Those who completely reject Darwin’s theories out of hand look at creation with a fatal narrow view, and will someday see the error of over simplifying creation.

Darwin’s theories included such things as adaption of species. This means a living thing will, if at all possible, adapt to their changing environment; if they don’t adapt, they die. We see examples of this all the time in nature. Woolly or extreme hair on animals in the North, less wool in the South. Long legs for running on plains, short legs with grips, i.e. hands or claws in heavy forests. Or as simple as trees trying to be taller than their neighbors so as to get more of the sun. These adaptations apply to humans and as small as on a molecular level. In central Africa, there is a parasite we call Plasmodium falciperum, one of a few parasite species that cause the disease malaria. The parasite enters the human red blood cell to procreate. One of the methods it uses to break through the blood cell wall is a cell marker on that cell wall. We all have hundreds of these makers all received genetically from our ancestors. The marker that the malaria bug uses to enter the cell we call a Duffy. Interestingly enough, people of central African origin commonly do not have the marker. Most of the rest of humanity do have this marker. It is simply an adaptation to allow people who live in those regions have a defense against that type of malaria.

Darwin talked about isolation of species, genetic drift and many other things that we absolutely can prove. Genetic drift is an easy one to demonstrate using humanity as an example. We all know of the Rh factor. About 15% of Americans are minus the D antigen (cell marker) on our red cells, making those minus the D, Rh negative. We can look at a population map of Rh negative individuals throughout the planet, and we will see people in and around the Pyrenees Mountains in Northern Spain are nearly all Rh negative. Going north from the Pyrenees, the population goes from about 80% Rh negative to when it reaches northern Europe. Scandinavia, the drift falls to about 20%. Going south from the In Pyrenees it drops to about 30% then runs into the Mediterranean Sea, a natural road block to genetic drift. The majority of us in the U.S. are European, hence the 15% Rh negative in this country. Asia has very few Rh negative, hardly enough to count.

Isolation of species is very easy to see. Simply look at Australia. Animals who have been on that continent for thousands of generations have taken on a completely different way of living, eating and raising the young of their wildly different species.

We can see much of Darwinism is exactly correct. These examples are a just a few of thousands I could cite. How species change to fit their environment; how movement of population spreads a trait and how isolation breeds completely different adaptations. Yet with all this evidence of Darwin’s theories, we still haven’t seen cross speciesism. Even over a long period of time, it hasn’t been presented beyond doubt of the radical changes between species. To put in the vernacular, we haven’t found any of the millions of so-called “missing links” that would show this happening. Yes, we do find similarities, and rightly so considering all of us from humans to the carrot in your garden have the same DNA base pairs. Do I believe one species changed enough to become something entirely different? Frankly, I don’t know. Does the fact that we haven’t these missing links prove there is Intelligent Design or a God? Nope, not at all, but at the same time it doesn’t disprove it either. Maybe creation really did require these radical changes in speciesism because they were a requisite to make a man out of a chunk of virus; or maybe not.

What I am saying in this commentary is: From the awe inspiring vistas, breath taking views and complex colors the Hubble Telescope has sent us from our galaxy and other galaxies to the inner structure of the atom up through the mind boggling complexity and yet utter simplicity of double helix of Deoxyribonucleic Acid and how that DNA design builds living things from the smallest of the virus’ and bacteria to the marvelous and perfect function of the human body, I can say: I see God. The question is, do you?

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