Friday, April 1, 2016

Playing the Odds

Surveying my house after the last storm, the trend is obvious. Nature is trying to destroy it (and I'm a little slow to repair it). Some of the paint is cracking. A shingle has been relocated to the yard from the roof. And my recycle bin is a little more broken from another wind driven tumble down the street. But the odds still favor my house because I'm here to take care of it.

Yes. Of course this is a spiritual analogy so you can bail here if you like. In kind, it's a tired analogy too, a spin-off of the tornado-in-junkyard example where a whirlwind happens to assemble a Ferrari (or a Honda, depending on whether the junkyard is in Japan or Italy). Watching anything deteriorate at the hands of nature serves the same purpose, one that's still convincing and ironically encouraging to me regardless of how tired it is. It goes like this: In regard to home maintenance or the existence of anything beyond a perfect vacuum, the odds don't favor us (though they do seem to favor insurance companies. I think there's something going on there). Anyway, we cling to million-to-one odds (or much worse) as if the the rest are merely non-instances, non-events. We just need enough one-in-a-million successes in a row and we will get our desired result, say a house. And the infinity of numbers provides however many one-in-a-millions are needed to build it, so long as we pay no attention to the 999,999 shingles the odds blow off for every one they place correctly. But leave those out and it becomes believable that the house could not only build itself but could gain consciousness and decide how best to do it. We just need enough one-in-a-million's.

Let's cut to the point. My reasoning proves that I'm a marginalized, unscientific idiot. Wait...I meant my point, not everyone else's. I just read it in the funny's this morning. Moving on, at present, nature as we can observe it does not produce things like us. It produces things more and more similar to junkyards and black holes, and leaves us still searching for the thing that produces things like us or complexity in general. For me, this rationally leads to the conclusion that order of any kind is a supernatural product, even nature itself. And, again, not as we imagine but as we actually observe, we are the pinnacle of order and complexity in the natural world. A supernatural creator is indeed what we are rationally looking for. And whether I like him or not, I haven't found one more convincing than the God of the Bible.

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