Saturday, April 30, 2011

"I see trees of green..."

I see trees of green, red roses too.
I see them bloom, for me and you.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white;
The bright blessed day, dark sacred night.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world!

Louis Armstrong, "What a Wonderful World,"

This is just going to be a post where I think about all the good stuff that I've been given.  (It probably wouldn't include so much stuff on nature if I hadn't been born on the west coast, but I guess you'll have to deal.)

Just walking along, Elder Milstead at my side, going to an appointment, I started looking around a few days ago.  A cloud caught my eye, and I stopped just to look at it.  It looked like a cumulonimbus; the bottom was so dark it was almost black, but the top was about as blue as the sky at noon.  It really stood out, since it was evening; the bright blue of the top of the cloud contrasted pleasingly with the darkness of the sky.  It was very pretty, to sum it up.

I just started thinking about all the little things that we take for granted.  Have you ever just taken the time to go up to a tree and feel it's bark? To try to get a sense of all the things that this tree has seen? To be grateful that this tree exists, giving you shade and oxygen?  (Yeah, I know.  I'm a tree-hugger.  So sue me.)

Have you ever looked at a dandelion, and said, "Yeah, I know it's a weed.  Dang, that's a pretty good looking weed?"  Or gone up to a river and just sat there, appreciating the sounds?

Nature is wonderful.  Not just the plant or minerals, either; the sheer variety of animals on this little cosmic speck that we call home is astonishing.  Each continent and country has its own variety of animals, each suited to its environment.

Then, we turn to ourselves.  The more I know about our human body the more astonished I am.  I highly reccommend that you read a talk about the human body: (Click Here.)  

To demonstrate, I'm going to offer a contest.  I challenge anybody to make a robot that meets these requirements:
  • Must be able to 
    • see in three dimensions
    • heal itself
    • reproduce itself for a period of eighty+ years
    • see an object in motion, calculate the trajectory of that object, determine the best place to place itself in order to catch that object, move itself into that position, and catch the object, all in less time than it takes to read this sentence
    • be self aware.  In other words, it must be capable of realizing that it is a machine, and it must determine its own qualifications.
    • choose.  It should have certain dispositions, but it should be able to choose to ignore its own programming when it wants to.
    • improve itself.  (One of my friends once said that this itself was his best proof that there is a god. "After all, the longer you drive a car, the faster it dies.  The more you work a machine, the faster it wears out. Yet, the more we drive ourselves, the better we go.  The more we work, the longer we last."
    • Grow from two cells to a being of around 150 pounds, perhaps six feet tall.
    • have more than two means of moving itself from place to place.
    • create an object when it has no pattern, deciding how to make it
    • when in pairs of two, reproduce itself.
    • Love.  This robot must be able to love another being so much that it will allow itself to be destroyed so that the other being can live.
    • dedicate itself to a cause.
    • wonder.  This machine must be able to look at something, and think about it. Not just about the how or what of the thing, but the why.  Why does this thing exist? Why do I exist?
    • want.  It must be able to desire something, and then take action to achieve that desire.
    • ride a bicycle. The best computer in the world can't do that, but we clever apes can!
Our body is the best computer ever built.  The world has never seen the smart phone or anything else that can do as many things as well as the human body can.

People tell me that God doesn't exist.  The world came about by chance, they say.  Somewhere, a cosmic computer hiccuped, and the universe boomed into existence.  Maybe four billion years later, the earth is formed, and life forms from some great primordial soup.  I don't buy that.  This world is too complex to be chance.  It is a creation.  Where there is a creation, there is a creator.

I know that God exists.  All of these things could give the effect of an intellectual conviction that there is a god.  However, I know more than anything else that God exists because I speak to him.  I feel his presence when I pray.  I've felt his love, and I know that he feels this same love for all people who will diligently seek him.  We are all his children, and he wants the best for us.  I know this to be true.

PS: If you want to read something about evolution and why it doesn't make sense, read this: Why Evolution just doesn't add up.  Skip down to "Points to Ponder."

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