Sunday, July 26, 2009

What you might miss by taking the freeway through life: Part 1, Leaves Blowing in the Wind

This series is titled (obviously), what you might miss by taking the freeway through life. The freeway is the easier way, but there is a richness in God's country just like what you miss by jetting through God's life in the fast lane.

We went to a church event down in Calhoun county two weeks ago on a Sunday evening (when I started this behemoth). Instead of taking the freeway--which was all of one minute faster--we took a parallel road (Old US 27).

On the way, I was looking around at all the scenery and noticing the evidences of creation. And not only that, but the results of the curse--and what I can do about it.

It was worth going cross-country. As Charles Kuralt said, "The interstate highway system is a wonderful thing. It makes it possible to go from coast to coast without seeing anything or meeting anybody."

Ruminations from watching leaves blow in the wind

Allow me to begin with an interesting example of God's ingenuity. Place two green objects outside in the sun and rain (not both elements simultaneously, of course [although the resulting apparition is quite pleasing if you mix them at the correct angle {think Noah and ark}]): a piece of cloth and a small maple tree. Now, after setting in the sun for a sufficient period of time (it varies depending on how hot the sun is) the cloth will have turned a light, bleached green. However, the tree will be a darker green. Flip one of the maple leaves over, and it's a lighter color. Being in the sun increased the vibrancy of the leaf.

Consider the technological implications: what if clothes could be made that got brighter in the sun, instead of bleached? What if fabric became stronger as well as cleaner when subjected to water? What if a tear could repair itself? I can hear most of you, at least, saying that's never going to happen until Christ returns.

But, that's what the maple tree does! It gets stronger when it gets dirty and wet, and the summer sun makes its color brighter. What an amazing designer God is!

Look at the green color in plants--most of it is from Chlorophyll (some of us drink that stuff because it's so good for the body). Chlorophyll is what plants use to produce energy from the sun in the process called photosynthesis. So, more of the green stuff is needed where the energy is at than on the underside of the leaf, where there isn't as much sun. And, look at the design: the underside of the leaf isn't as green! The plant can recognize where it needs the chlorophyll and concentrate it there!

From an aspiring AI [artificial intelligence] coder's perspective, plants are extremely complicated. From the same perspective, even the simplest animal is nearly impossible to duplicate electronically. You can imagine my point by trying to predict where that annoying fly that's buzzing around your head is going to land next. You're right, it's basically impossible, as the still annoying fly can attest to. Then, consider your pet dog or cat or rabbit or hamster or ferret: try to imagine what decisions they are making right now (or the last time they were awake, in the case of our aging 18 year old cat who sleeps 16 hours a day and meows the remaining 8). It is nearly impossible for our brains to comprehend the millions of electrical signals that are received, processed, cataloged and sent in an animal's brain in just a few seconds.

Take it up another level. To the next kingdom. To those created in the image of God. Look at humans. Can you imagine a computer just managing all your sensory inputs? Let's start with graphics: a nice $200 point & shoot digital camera takes pictures at about 10 MPs. A $600 video camera can take 30 two MPs pictures in a second. That's pretty much what high-end computers display. One Megapixel (Mp) is 1,000,000 pixels, which are dots of color. Each dot of color has 256 bits (a zero or one) of information in it. So, a 10 MP digital image has 256,000,000 0's or 1's describing it.

The human eye has a resolution of approximately 600 MP ( ). Adding color and assuming 30 frames per second, our hypothetical computer would need to process 4,608,000,000,000 bits of data [a 0 or 1] every second. That works out to 576 Gigabytes of data every second (8 bits in a Byte). In 2 seconds, you would have run out of space on one of the biggest hard drive available (1 Terabyte). To record one minute of what your eyes see, you'd need 17 hard drives, which would run you about $3,400. It would take about 15 days (you couldn't even record in real time!) to transfer that data to the hard drives on a modern system. And that's going to be the cheapest part of our computer.

That's solely to process what our eyes see. Then you have to process millions and billions of touch sensors (think a swimming pool filled with tablet PC's, all wired to our hypothetical mainframe), audio, taste, and smell (taste and smell can't be captured to current computer systems, you'd have to design something specifically). Then, figure out a system to make this thing self sustaining and self replicating.

Even after you get a computer that is up to thinking like a human (forget all the other stuff, and I still can't see this happening in the next two centuries [Moore's Law--it's a computer chip speed prediction], and that's banking on the world continuing in its current semi-peaceful state), you've got to program it. Now if you gave me unlimited funds and our super-computer to work with, I'd still need about 4,000-8,000 experienced software engineers and about 40 years to get the thinking processes ready for this behemoth. In all of this, I'm neglecting the spirit of a human, because I don't have enough information to even consider how it is created--and I doubt if we could mess with that kind of stuff even if we did understand it. Ever get one of those 401 'Authentication Required' errors, where you need permission to access a web page? It's like that.

And after all that, consider that God designed his creation to run off plentiful resources. Consider that a woman (with a little jump start from her husband) can create a new one of these machines in 9 months.

And here's the kicker: evolutionists believe that this incredibly complex machine that we're replicating exists because of some mistakes in the programming. Which wasn't really programmed by anybody. And nobody designed and programed this thing without a pattern, like we had. It all just happened when nobody blew nothing up. It kind of begins to sound like the universe wasn't really made that way, doesn't it? :-)

Part 2: Ruminations from examining housing architecture coming Monday@ 2:30 p.m.!