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» the Mask of Nature
» Divine wisdom vs Human Wisdom
» the Nature of Reality
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» The Bite of Rationalism
» The March of Science
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** The Marks of Divine Wisdom **
the incredible complexity of life
compiled by Y. Sebag, physicist, electrical engineer

"For [divine] wisdom, though varied in its manifestations in created things, is fundamentally and essentially one - just as the sun is one body, while the appearance of its rays when passing through glasses that are white, dark, red or green, varies and assumes respectively the color of each medium, and just as water with which a park is sprinkled assumes the color of the blooms on which it falls. Contemplate, therefore, G-d's creatures, from the largest of them to the smallest, and reflect on those matters which are at present hidden from you; and, with the help of the Al-mighty, you will find that they are as I have told you. And because these marks of divine wisdom vary in created things, it is our duty to study them and meditate on them till the whole matter becomes established in our souls and abides in our consciousness" - (Duties of the Heart 2:1)

According to scientific calculations, the total number of organisms that ever lived on planet earth, including all micro-organisms is no more than about 1039 (1 followed by 39 zeros) total organisms [1][2] (even if the planet were 4.5 billion years old). The total number of mammals that ever lived on planet earth is no more than around 1020 total mammals (including all rodent-sized mammals). While these numbers may seem high, nevertheless, when dealing with random probabilities, you are going to get crazy numbers very quickly. For example, to randomly shuffle a deck of 52 playing cards in a particular order has odds of about 1 in 1068 (52*51*50...). The number 1068 already far exceeds the total number of atoms in the sun and all the planets in our solar system (1057).

As another example, let us consider the odds of assembling a wooden chair from spare parts by a completely random process (such as by a blind monkey or a blind small child). Suppose hypothetically that this would require a minimum of 10 steps and each of the ten steps had a 1 in a 100 chance probability of success, with no intermediate advantage or usefulness whatsoever (precursor or otherwise). In such a case, the probability of assembling the chair by the monkey would already be: (1/100)10 = 1 in 1020.

If in addition, one part of the chair needs to be pre-assembled with its own independent set of 10 steps before the chair can be assembled, the probability of assembling the chair would drop to 1 chance in 1040. If 2 parts are needed then 1 chance in 1060, etc.

Let us now get a feel for the kind of complexity found in nature and estimate whether it is on the order of what we can expect from such a bounded random process.

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