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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Macroevolutionists in Flatland

Thanks to all who wished me well and/or prayed in my behalf. My recovery is now ongoing and I have strength enough to blog! (Yes, it was that bad!)

I am way behind on comments and so on, but one comment caught my attention. Many of those who believe in macroevolution are dedicated naturalists, that is, they consider science to be concerned only with the natural and not the supernatural. Of course, this dedication waivers when we begin talking about string theory or quantum mechanics. Since we live in three dimensions and can track (time) a fourth, any additional dimensions are supernatural to us and yet there are quantum posits concerning 12 different dimensions!

To a Creationist, the spiritual world is extra-dimensional and whereas we cannot traverse it and have difficulty comprehending it, the Creator has tried to communicate with us concerning the reality Himself and His "dimensions", so to speak. As a believer, I do not believe in fairy tales. I think that the God exists in a greater form than do we, having created us much as I am creating these words right now, only more so since He created everything, including time. But consider this excerpt from "Flatland" in which the Sphere tries to communicate with a denizen of two dimensions.

It was in vain. I brought my hardest right angle into violent collision with the Stranger, pressing on him with a force sufficient to have destroyed any ordinary Circle: but I could feel him slowly and unarrestably slipping from my contact; not edging to the right nor to the left, but moving somehow out of the world, and vanishing into nothing. Soon there was a blank. But still I heard the Intruder's voice.

Sphere. Why will you refuse to listen to reason? I had hoped to find in you -- as being a man of sense and an accomplished mathematician -- a fit apostle for the Gospel of the Three Dimensions, which I am allowed to preach once only in a thousand years: but now I know not how to convince you. Stay, I have it. Deeds, and not words, shall proclaim the truth. Listen, my friend.

I have told you I can see from my position in Space the inside of all things that you consider closed. For example, I see in yonder cupboard near which you are standing, several of what you call boxes (but like everything else in Flatland, they have no tops or bottom) full of money; I see also two tablets of accounts. I am about to descend into that cupboard and to bring you one of those tablets. I saw you lock the cupboard half an hour ago, and I know you have the key in your possession. But I descend from Space; the doors, you see, remain unmoved. Now I am in the cupboard and am taking the tablet. Now I have it. Now I ascent with it.


I rushed to the closet and dashed the door open. One of the tablets was gone. With a mocking laugh, the Stranger appeared in the other corner of the room, and at the same time the tablet appeared upon the floor. I took it up. There could be no doubt -- it was the missing tablet.

I groaned with horror, doubting whether I was not out of my sense; but the Stranger continued:
"Surely you must now see that my explanation, and no other, suits the phenomena. What you call Solid things are really superficial; what you call Space is really nothing but a great Plane. I am in Space, and look down upon the insides of the things of which you only see the outsides. You could leave the Plane yourself, if you could but summon up the necessary volition. A slight upward or downward motion would enable you to see all that I can see.

"The higher I mount, and the further I go from your Plane, the more I can see, though of course I see it on a smaller scale. For example, I am ascending; now I can see your neighbour the Hexagon and his family in their several apartments; now I see the inside of the Theatre, ten doors off, from which the audience is only just departing; and on the other side a Circle in his study, sitting at his books. Now I shall come back to you. And, as a crowning proof, what do you say to my giving you a touch, just the least touch, in your stomach? It will not seriously injure you, and the slight pain you may suffer cannot be compared with the mental benefit you will receive."


Before I could utter a word of remonstrance, I felt a shooting pain in my inside, and a demoniacal laugh seemed to issue from within me. A moment afterwards the sharp agony had ceased, leaving nothing but a dull ache behind, and the Stranger began to reappear, saying, as he gradually increased in size, "There, I have not hurt you much, have I? If you are not convinced now, I don't know what will convince you. What say you?"

My resolution was taken. It seemed intolerable that I should endure existence subject to the arbitrary visitations of a Magician who could thus play tricks with one's very stomach. If only I could in any way manage to pin him against the wall till help came!

Once more I dashed my hardest angle against him, at the same time alarming the whole household by my cries for aid. I believe, at the moment of my onset, the Stranger had sunk below our Plane, and really found difficulty in rising. In any case he remained motionless, while I, hearing, as I thought, the sound of some help approaching, pressed against him with redoubled vigor, and continued to shout for assistance.

A convulsive shudder ran through the Sphere.
"This must not be," I thought I heard him say: "either he must listen to reason, or I must have recourse to the last resource of civilization." Then, addressing me in a louder tone, he hurriedly exclaimed, "Listen: no stranger must witness what you have witnessed. Send your Wife back at once, before she enters the apartment. The Gospel of Three Dimensions must not be thus frustrated. Not thus must the fruits of one thousand years of waiting be thrown away. I hear her coming. Back! back! Away from me, or you must go with me -- wither you know not -- into the Land of Three Dimensions!"

"Fool! Madman! Irregular!" I exclaimed; "never will I release thee; thou shalt pay the penalty of thine impostures."

"Ha! Is it come to this?" thundered the Stranger: "then meet your fate: out of your Plane you go. Once, twice, thrice! 'Tis done!"

From my point of view, God, like the Sphere, has gone to the trouble of communicating with beings of a lesser dimension and while hindered by our inability to truly comprehend Him, has yet given us clues to His existence. I believe the evidence that concerns things like fossils and the evidences of design in nature are clues that reveal that the Universe, the Earth and all of life were indeed designed.

So, macroevolutionists? Are you able to see what I mean? Is it possible that you, like the two-dimensional one, are not able to see the big picture?

~~~

Nice way for me to come back, eh? Back to blogworld I have come!

4 comments:

Juggling Mother said...

"Listen: no stranger must witness what you have witnessed. Send your Wife back at once, before she enters the apartment. The Gospel of Three Dimensions must not be thus frustrated."

This is the bit that confuses me about God.

Why?

why is he constrained to showing himself only to individuals while they are alone? why not, just occasionally, manifest in a nice crowded shopping centre say, or a football stadium, where many people could see the same thing at the same time?

OK, I know it's off topic, and this is not designed to start of a whole theist/atheist debate (as i believe these are totally pointless - especially online), but since "why" is the fundemental question any scientist will ask about any topic, it is the one that occurs to me whenever discussing supernatural phenomonen.

creeper said...

"Is it possible that you, like the two-dimensional one, are not able to see the big picture?"

It is not just possible but I would say even inevitable that we can't see the big picture - and I include you in that 'we', Radar.

The thing is, we have no way of studying such a thing scientifically, and so it does not serve to advance our state of scientific knowledge. But science doesn't need to explain everything within the realm of human experience. Also, and this has been said more than once, it is not necessary to deny God or some 'big picture' before engaging in a useful naturalistic process of scientific research.

Science is justly neutral on the subject of God's existence.

"Many of those who believe in macroevolution are dedicated naturalists, that is, they consider science to be concerned only with the natural and not the supernatural. Of course, this dedication waivers when we begin talking about string theory or quantum mechanics. Since we live in three dimensions and can track (time) a fourth, any additional dimensions are supernatural to us and yet there are quantum posits concerning 12 different dimensions!"

There is no arbitrary barrier that says that nature must only consist of the three physical dimensions plus time. If scientists find a way to study another dimension, then that would not be considered supernatural, but natural.

Also, there is a pretty significant difference between theoretical and supernatural. Theoretical physics exists quite constructively alongside experimental physics, with advances in one leading to advances in the other. This does not constitute scientists (or whatever these 'macroevolutionists' are) dabbling in the supernatural.

Which reminds me: what is a 'macroevolutionist'?

Glad you're feeling better, btw.

Anonymous said...

"Is it possible that you, like the two-dimensional one, are not able to see the big picture?"

Sure. In fact, I'll agree with Creeper and go for defintely. So?

After all, the Square was able to make many repeated observations about the Sphere, and finally about Spaceland.

His fate is unfortunate, but sadly understandable:
"It is true that we have really in Flatland a Third unrecognized Dimension called 'height,' just as it also is true that you have really in Spaceland a Fourth unrecognized Dimension, called by no name at present, but which I will call 'extra-height.' But we can no more take cognizance of our 'height' than you can of your 'extra-height.' Even I -- who have been in Spaceland, and have had the privilege of understanding for twenty-four hours the meaning of 'height' -- even I cannot now comprehend it, nor realize it by the sense of sight or by any process of reason; I can but apprehend it by faith.

. . . Does this still seem strange to you? Then put yourself in a similar position. Suppose a person of the Fourth Dimension, condescending to visit you, were to say, 'Whenever you open your eyes, you see a Plane (which is of Two Dimensions) and you infer a Solid (which is of Three); but in reality you also see (though you do not recognize) a Fourth Dimension, which is not colour nor brightness nor anything of the kind, but a true Dimension, although I cannot point out to you its direction, nor can you posssibly measure it.' What would you say to such a visitor? Would not you have him locked up? Well, that is my fate: and it is as natural for us Flatlanders to lock up a Square for preaching the Third Dimension, as it is for you Spacelanders to lock up a Cube for preaching the Fourth."

Of course, I would not have him locked up, but neither would I see (and nor would I have) any particular reason to believe him. It may be that faith allows us to apprehend a reality that senses and reason alone cannot. But that is a different matter from science.

" I believe the evidence that concerns things like fossils and the evidences of design in nature are clues that reveal that the Universe, the Earth and all of life were indeed designed."

They're very subtle clues, then, since they seem to indicate other things.

(. . . Frankly, I think the butler did it . . .)

I do like the Flatland bit, though! It often comes to mind thinking about theistic evolution and protestations of God not relying on chance, natural laws, etc., since one could imagine that what looks like a intricate byplay of chance and order and all from our perspective looks quite different from Another's.

I don't think this is the case, but it is amusing.

Anyway, glad you're feeling better! Welcome back!

Plannning to call anyone and tell them of your recovery?

NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls
"The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews. . . .

. . .For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made — across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others. . .

The NSA's domestic program, as described by sources, is far more expansive than what the White House has acknowledged. Last year, Bush said he had authorized the NSA to eavesdrop — without warrants — on international calls and international e-mails of people suspected of having links to terrorists when one party to the communication is in the USA. Warrants have also not been used in the NSA's efforts to create a national call database.

In defending the previously disclosed program, Bush insisted that the NSA was focused exclusively on international calls. "In other words," Bush explained, "one end of the communication must be outside the United States."

As a result, domestic call records — those of calls that originate and terminate within U.S. borders — were believed to be private.


Very interesting article, discusses a number of issues, gives background, etc.

"why is he constrained to showing himself only to individuals while they are alone? "

Shy?

-Dan S., Pa Bell.

A Hermit said...

Glad you're feeling better Radar.

There are plenty of questions that science does not have answers for, may never have answers for. That's fine. I'm personally more comfortable just admitting "I don't know" than adopting some unprovable mythology to fill in the gaps. Your mileage may vary...