Marks of Divine Wisdom in Nature

the incredible complexity of life
compiled by Joseph Sebag, physicist, electrical engineer

(mirrored from
"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)

In this series we will examine an area which is sorely neglected in our times - the study of the grandeur of nature.

We will observe the trees and flowers and animals and birds. the sea and clouds and sky and stars. Hopefully. the barriers will drop and we will get a feel for the marks of divine wisdom all around us.

Albert Einstein said:
"Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe - a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble."
One can also get a feel for this by visually observing the grandeur and harmony in the universe. Edgar Mitchell, an Apollo 14 astronaut said: "When I went to the moon I was a pragmatic test pilot. But when I saw the planet Earth floating in the vastness of space the presence of divinity became almost palpable and I knew that life in the universe was not just an accident".

Fortunately, one does not have to go to outer space to grasp this thanks to our multimedia era. One just needs to study nature with the right outlook.

In our very special times, the grandeur of nature is being increasingly revealed at an exponential rate. This is leading to a new vision of science and a new kind of knowledge that is so vast and awesome in its scope and implications, that it boggles our common, rational view of life and nature.

This is because the classical model of science sought a systematic grasp of G-d's laws, whereas today, modern science leads us to realize that this is probably impossible, leaving us in a state of complete awe and wonder at the creation.

Let us begin, but first a little math to put things in proper perspective.

According to scientific calculations, the total number of organisms that ever lived on planet earth, including all micro-organisms is no more than about 10^39 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 10^20 total mammals (including all rodent-sized mammals). While these numbers may seem high, nevertheless, when dealing with random probabilities, you are going to get preposterous numbers very quickly. For example, to randomly shuffle a deck of 52 playing cards in a particular order has odds of about 1 in 10^68 (52*51*50...). The number 10^68 already far exceeds the total number of atoms in the sun and all the planets in our solar system (10^57).

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 1/100 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 10^20.

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 in 10^40. If 2 parts are needed then 1 in 10^60, 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.

Amazing Creatures

The grandeur of the abundance of species is a fascinating area. If the universe is to reflect the all-capable ability of G-d, then surely we should find every possible sort of contraption biologically possible. Here is a sample of creatures which certainly seems to be consistent with this view.
Pistol Shrimp have one mighty claw that they can snap together with such force that it creates a pressure wave strong enough to kill nearby fish. Water is ripped apart and as the cavitation bubble collapses, the gases produce an acoustic shockwave of about 220 decibels well above the 160 db needed to rupture human ear drums. The violent implosion also produces visible light called 'sonoluminescence', and superhot vapors reaching up to 4,700 degrees Celsius. Conventional Military bombs reach a temperatures of up to 2,480 degrees Celsius. Naval Submarines have been known to hide amongst beds of Pistol shrimp to escape sonar detection. Apparently the noise they create is so much that other submarines find it impossible to pickup other noises using sonar. see it here

The Gastric Brooding Frog swallows between 18 and 25 of its own fertilized eggs. The eggs contain a jelly which turns off the production of hydrochloric acid in the mother's stomach. After the eggs hatch, the tadpoles excrete a substance from their gills which keep the mother's stomach in a non-functional state. For the entire six to seven weeks of development the mother does not eat. During this time the size of the mother's stomach continues to increase until it largely filled the body cavity. The lungs deflate and breathing relies more upon gas exchange through the skin. Despite the mother's increasing size she still remains active. Birth is accomplished by the female widely opening her mouth and dilating her esophagus. The offspring, now metamorphosed into tiny frogs, are propelled from the stomach to the mouth, and then hop away.

The Spook Fish has a transparent dome intact with tubular eyes located inside its head like a fighter plane's cock-pit. This deep sea fish's periscope like eyes are rotatable and can easily detect the silhouette of its available prey. It is the only creature known to use a mirror eye structure as opposed to a lens, to focus an image in its eyes. The two dark capsules over the mouth are the fish's olfactory organs, or the equivalent of nostrils. see it here

The Fishing Spider can plunge its legs beneath the water's surface, grab its prey and pull it off to land. The fishing spider sneaks up to fish by walking on the surface tension of water, then attacks them from above. It can also stay submerged underwater for almost an hour by trapping air in its fur and it is an excellent swimmer.
Spider silk is about five times as strong as high-grade steel, pound for pound. It's also waterproof, highly elastic, and completely immune to bacteria and fungus. It is one of the most fantastic materials in nature, and the leggy creatures make it in their guts. They assemble proteins together into extremely long and unbreakable chains, then spit the protein assembly out through glands called "spinnerets", while at the same time removing water to harden it into a strand. It is also incredibly lightweight; a strand long enough to circle the Earth would weigh less than a bar of soap. The Bark spider, a native of Madagascar, produces the strongest natural substance on the face of the Earth. Their webbing is 10 times stronger than Kevlar (which bulletproof vests are made of) and a whopping 25 times stronger than steel. It also easily surpasses titanium, tungsten and pretty much any other metal around. They make some of the largest webs on the planet that can reach over 80 feet in length. Bark spiders can weave their webs from one river bank to another presumably using wind gliding techniques or a raft.

Water Bears are micro animals composed of only about 40,000 cells but are about the same size as larger single-celled organisms [3]. Water Bears have an incredible resistance to extreme conditions. They can reversibly lower their metabolism to less than 0.01% of normal and go without food or water for more than 10 years until they dry to the point where their water content drops to less than 1% of normal, and they are just a husk of their former selves. Amazingly, they can then rehydrate, forage, and reproduce. They can be frozen to 1 degree Kelvin (-458F), where atoms come to a standstill, matter goes bizarre, gases becoming liquids and liquids becoming solids and the odd rules of quantum mechanics reign. And that's all the more incredible when you consider that the water bear has a brain that somehow emerges from this unscathed. They also can tolerate pressures six times that of the deepest oceans. And a few of them once survived an experiment that subjected them for 10 days to the vacuum of space. (humans can survive for a couple minutes, max. One poor fellow at NASA accidentally depressurized his suit in a vacuum chamber in 1965 and lost consciousness after 15 seconds. When he woke up, he said his last memory was feeling the water on his tongue boiling). They can also take hundreds of times the radiation that would kill a human due to highly efficient DNA repair mechanisms. Water bears don't mind hot water either-like, 300 degrees Fahrenheit hot. Why the Water Bears "evolved" the ability to survive the kind of cold that only scientists can create in a lab, and pressures that have never even existed on our planet, etc. is a mystery to scientists. see it here

The Bombardier Beetle when disturbed, ejects a hot noxious chemical spray from the tip of their abdomen, with a popping sound. The spray is produced by a violent reaction between two chemical compounds, hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide, stored in separate reservoirs in the beetle's abdomen and mixed when needed in a third chamber with water and catalytic enzymes. Heat from the reaction brings the mixture to near the boiling point of water and produces gas that drives the ejection. The damage caused can be fatal to attacking insects and small creatures and is painful to human skin. Some bombardier beetles can direct the spray over a wide range of directions. see it here. The Bombardier beetle has caused much trouble in the hallowed halls of academia leading some evolution trained scientists to have a change of heart. Here is the story of one such scientist.

The Diving Bell Spider creates a bubble like web that traps air so they can survive underwater for long periods of time. see it here

The Horned Lizard has the ability to literally burst blood vessels in it's eye sockets and shoot an aimed stream of foul tasting blood that can hit targets up to 2 meters away. Amazingly, this bizarre bursting can even be repeated several times if necessary. see it here

The Cuttlefish is a master of disguise. The amazing creature has the ability to rapidly alter its skin color at will. Various highly specialized groups of pigment cells orchestrate together to give it dazzling abilities and a photo resolution of about 360dpi. Their skin can even affect the light's polarization giving metallic and shimmering effects. What's even more incredible is that the cuttlefish is completely color blind. And if that's not amazing enough, it has the ability to assess its surroundings and match the color, contrast and texture of whatever its on even in total darkness [4]. Watch it attempt to blend into a checker board here

The Hagfish has an unusual defense mechanism. When under attack, the eel-like creature secretes proteins and micro-fibres from specialized cells in its many pores. The mixture combines to form a micro-scaffold which traps the surrounding water molecules. The scaffold rapidly expands into a huge mass of suffocating slime that envelops its predator in a disgusting mass of fibrous gunk. The hagfish, to avoid falling prey to its own defense mechanism, normally twists itself into knots to escape the gelatinous goop. Unlike other slimy secretions, the hagfish's slime is reinforced with micro fibres which lend tensile strength and toughness to the slime. The fibres are ten times stronger than nylon, sparking intensive research by materials scientists. see it here

The Tripod Fish is a deep sea fish with very long bony protrusions which it uses as stilts to face upstream and wait perfectly still for whatever tiny prawns, fish, and crustaceans the current will deliver straight into its mouth. see it here

The Plumed Basilisk is a lizard which can literally run across the surface of water on its hind legs. They have specially designed feet with long toes on their rear feet and fringes of skin that unfurl in the water, increasing surface area. As they rapidly churn their legs, they slap their splayed feet hard against the water, creating a tiny air pocket that keeps them from sinking. They can even drop from a tree into the water and sprint, upright, about 5 feet (1.5 meters) per second across the surface. Abundant natural predators like snakes and birds keep these amazing lizards on their toes. see it here

Embiids are insects which can spin silk from structures on their front legs which they use to weave tunnels and galleries on the ground in which they live. see it here

Archerfish prey on land-based insects and other small animals by shooting them down with water droplets from their specialized mouths. It compensates for the curving of the jet through gravity and adjusts for the way light bends at the boundary between water and air. They also "modulate" the velocity of the water jet as they spit to alter its shape through the air. The head of the water jet increases in volume from liquid arriving from its tail to form a large drop, which hits insect prey with greater force. Adult fish usually hit the target on the first shot. Perhaps they should be called sniperfish. see it here

Ants are the only creatures besides humans known to keep domesticated animals. A species of ants in Indonesia are nomadic shepherds, moving with their domesticated herds of millibugs from plant to plant, always looking for fresh foliage for their stock. In this and many other ways, ants display a remarkable intelligence despite their tiny brains. see it here

A Chicken Egg has an incredible array of mechanisms which must be done in precise clockwork timing and order. see this amazing video for details.. see it here

The Blackpoll Warbler can fly all the way from Canada to South America and back, then return to the exact same nest.

Mantis Shrimp pretty much everything about the Mantis Shrimp is unbelievable. They are crustaceans with two boxing glove like clubs which can deliver a killer blow accelerating as fast as a 22-caliber bullet (100,000M/s2). Because they strike so rapidly, they generate cavitation bubbles between the club and the striking surface. The collapse of these cavitation bubbles produces measurable forces on their prey in addition to the instantaneous forces of 1,500 newtons that are caused by the impact of the club against the striking surface, which means that the prey is hit twice by a single strike; first by the club and then by the collapsing cavitation bubbles that immediately follow. Even if the initial strike misses the prey, the resulting shock wave can be enough to stun or kill the prey. To provide superfast hand/eye coordination, it has the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom, with 12 different color receptors for light analysis and sixnocular vision for unsurpassed depth perception. They can detect UV, visible and polarized light. They are also the only animals known to detect circularly polarized light, which is when the wave component of light spirals in a circular motion. Special visual signal processing, is performed in the eye instead of the brain for greater speed, and the visual information leaving the retina is processed into numerous parallel data streams leading into the central nervous system. Its eye plates outperform all current man-made polarizing optic design[5]. This has inspired research into a new type of optical media that would outperform the current generation of Blu-ray disc technology.
The mantis shrimp's limbs are extremely resilient, their "fists" can withstand thousands of super-strikes without breaking. They have inspired a new carbon-fiber composite material that is stronger and more durable than what is now used by the commercial aircraft industry. Researchers created an architecture of carbon fibers to mimic the claw's shock-absorbing interior and then used impact testing to judge its toughness vs. other composites. In the end, the mantis shrimp's design reigned supreme [6], with less denting and greater residual strength after impact. These ceramics are forged at 1,500 degrees Celsius; the mantis shrimp outclasses them all with a body part that's grown at room temperature. see it here

Lyrebirds are the greatest audio mimics in the world. Besides copying the songs of other birds, they can copy the sounds of car alarms, construction equipment, gunshots, dogs barking, camera shutters, chainsaws, musical instruments and even people. They have the most advanced set of vocal cords in the world, made all the more impressive by the fact that it has no lips to help it shape the sound. The lyrebird does it all with its throat. They also have an amazing memory for recording and storing these sounds. For example, in 1969 a lyrebird song was recorded and sent to a scholar named Norman Robinson. After filtering it, he figured out to his surprise that this bird was singing two popular tunes from the 1930s ... at the same time[7]. see it here

Box Jellyfish have up to 60 tentacles reaching seven feet in length. Every inch of those tentacles has over two million stinging cells full of venom. Within each of the stinger cells is a harpoon style weapon designed to deliver the maximum venom on contact. When the trigger (nematocyst) is fired the harpoon is discharged in less than 700 nanoseconds with an acceleration of up to 5.4 million times the force of gravity. This kind of acceleration is hard for us to imagine. It is about 500 times the acceleration of a 22-caliber bullet. The discharged harpoon strikes its target with enough kinetic energy to pierce the tough armor of exoskeleton. Once the armor is breached, a long, coiled tubule everts from the nematocyst capsule through the stylet and into the victim. Further contraction of the capsule forces neurotoxins through the tubule, paralyzing and often killing the victim.

Deep sea copepods are little bioluminescent crustaceans which can blink on and off like a flashing light. More amazingly, they can also fire time-delayed chemical 'light bombs' to throw off predators that try to zero in on their flashes. see it here

The Sea Cucumber when attacked literally spills out its guts, then later regenerates all of its vomited body parts. Another remarkable feature of this animal which no other creature possesses is the special collagen fiber that forms its body wall. This can be loosened and tightened at will, and if the animal wants to squeeze through a crack or small crevice, it can essentially liquefy its body and pour into the space. see it here

The Kamikaze Ant is packed with poisonous sacks from its head all the way down its back. When a predator to the colony appears, the ant will contract its muscles to build up the poison. Then, similar to a pressure cooker, it explodes, spraying the toxins on the threat. The predator can die from the poison, or if it's large enough to survive, it will think twice before approaching another ant in the area.

The Woodpecker has an industrial strength beak with special shock absorbers. His skull is the thickest bone per body weight of any creature. His 10 inch tongue has barbs to stab prey and special glue to stick to the bug. After retracting its prey in its mouth special solvents dissolve the glue so that he doesn't swallow his tongue with the prey. see it here

Naked Mole Rats are extraordinary rodents which spend most of their lives underground, digging in poorly ventilated tunnels. Their ability to conduct intensive aerobic work under low oxygen pressures is remarkable, as is their lifespan of 20 years or more, which despite its length is not associated with spontaneously arising tumors. They also have an unmatched resistance to cancer sparking intensive scientific research. While laboratory mice and rats develop multiple skin cancers in response to applied carcinogens, the skin lesions produced by this treatment in blind mole rats heal without tumors being formed. Studies applying DNA damaging compounds have shown that NMR cells have extraordinarily efficient DNA repair mechanisms. The NMR also have superhard teeth which can chew threw solid concrete and 25% of their muscles concentrated in their jaws (this is like having all the muscles of one leg there). Their teeth can move independently like chopsticks and are outside their mouths, so the mole rats can shovel away without eating dirt. They are also the only known mammals that operate a hive system, in the way that ants do, with one queen who does all the breeding and a hierarchy of workers and warriors who have no children of their own. Thus they build underground cities with specialized subterranean chambers such as those dedicated to rearing offspring, storing food, or eliminating bodily waste - there are even major "highway systems" - complete with on-ramps and off-ramps - that allow for more than one animal to travel quickly over vast underground distances.

The Platypus possesses a brilliant type of internal radar. It shuts down all of its main senses as it dives for food, its bizarre duck bill takes on an amazing power all of its own - an electro-sensory power that picks up on tiny electric movements. It allows them to detect the weak electric fields generated by the bottom-dwelling invertebrates that are their principal prey. Thus, platypuses can hunt successfully even in very murky water. The unusual appearance of this egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it, with some considering it an elaborate hoax. see it here

Peregrine Falcons have been clocked at 242 mph (390 kmh) making them the fastest members of the animal kingdom. Diving toward prey, peregrines tuck their wings into their bodies, creating an aerodynamic teardrop shape. The air pressure from the high speed dive could explode a bird's lungs, but small bony tubercles on the falcon's nostrils guide the powerful airflow away from the nostrils, enabling the bird to breathe more easily while diving by reducing the change in air pressure. The design is so effective, it is now used in jet engines. To protect their eyes, the falcons use their nictitating membranes (third eyelids) to spread tears and clear debris. see it here

The Star Nosed mole has a unique and highly specialized sensory-motor organ shaped by 22 fleshy finger-like appendages that ring their nostrils. The extremely sensitive star like structure is wired with over 25,000 minute touch receptors known as Eimer's organs. It is so sensitive that the mole can detect a grain of salt buried in a pile of sand. What's more it has one of the fastest responses to stimulus in the animal kingdom, deciding in only 8ms whether something is edible or not. Vanderbilt University neuroscientist Kenneth Catania, who has studied star-nosed moles for 20 years called them "a gold mine for discoveries about brains and behavior in general-and an unending source of surprises"[8]. see it here

The Giant Palm Salamander of Central America captures fast-moving bugs with an explosive tongue thrust that releases over 18,000 watts of muscle power per kilogram, the highest of any known muscle. The strongest muscle in the human body (the quadriceps) can produce only about 100 watts of power. If your thighs could barely power a lightbulb, the palm salamander could power 18 lighthouses with gigantic 1000 Watt lightbulbs. Watch its almost invisible laser tongue. see it here

The Angler Fish sits camouflaged with a fishing rod and a lure which it skillfully waves around to catch prey. When its prey is near, its mouth expands to more than 12 times original size in less than 5 milliseconds (about 1/60th of an eye-blink). The low pressure region thus created sucks in water at great speed, as well as whatever unfortunate fish happens to be nearby. see the video with narrative by Rabbi Avigdor Miller zt'l here

The Starfish ejects its stomach from its mouth - placing it over the digestible parts of its prey, typically a mussel or clam. The stomach then partially digests what it can, producing a chowder-like slurry that is then drawn back into the starfishes' ten digestive glands. The Starfish have tube feet operated by a hydraulic system and a mouth at the centre of the oral or lower surface. They have two stomachs and no brain. see it here

Honey badgers are classified as the world's most fearless creatures. They are known to chase away lions and rhinos, attack king cobra snakes, bee hives, and just about anything else they feel like. Their secret is an incredibly cut-resistant skin which is so tough that it's been shown to be nearly impervious to arrows and spears, and can even take a full blow from a sharp machete. It's skin is also remarkably loose, allowing the badger to rotate inside it when grabbed to launch a counter-attack. The badgers also have a few other tricks up their sleeves such as the ability to eject a cloud of suffocating stench. They are also nearly immune to the venom of bees, scorpions and snakes and are incredibly clever, successfully outwitting human beings who underestimate them. Watch the badger defend itself against a group of lions. see it here

The American Opossum usually reacts to danger as many other mammals do; by hissing, growling and baring its teeth. It can also bite viciously if pushed too far. However, if this all fails and the situation becomes too dangerous, plan B is to feign death; the opossum collapses to the ground, drools as if it was very ill, and then remains motionless, with its mouth open and its teeth bared. It even produces a putrid, corpse-like smell that only adds to their act. The stiff, curled form can be prodded, turned over, and even carried away without reaction. Opossums also emit a protein that can neutralize nearly all poisons that enter their body. see it here

The Pacific Golden Plover is a non-swimming bird which migrates thousands of miles from Alaska to Hawaii over the Pacific ocean. They use special formations to reduce aerodynamic drag to conserve energy for the herculean trip. see it here

Redwood Trees reach heights of over 110 meters (120 yards) pulling water against gravity and distributing nutrients throughout the tree, without the help of any mechanical pump. see it here

The Butterfly metamorphosises into a completely different creature. Its cells dissolve and their components are recycled and turned into a soup from which the adult structure is rebuilt. see it here

"the study of the other species of living creatures, their habits and their sustenance will not be concealed by one who observes them and reflects upon the marks of divine wisdom manifest in them" - Shaar Bechina ch.5

Owls have a satellite dish built into their face. The circular pattern of feathers acts as a dish, channelling sounds into the ears. More strangely, those feather patterns can also be individually adjusted to increase reception. The owl also has assymetrical ear opening height allowing them to detect the height from which sound is coming from. The owls' ears are linked to specialized cells contained within a discrete region of the midbrain. Each cell is sensitive to a unique combination of time and intensity differentials and responds only to sound issuing from one small area in space. The owl's brain thus contains a "neural map" of auditory space [9]. Once a sound is detected, the owl orients toward it and accurately pinpoints its location to within 1.5 degrees in both horizontal and vertical planes. Basically, an owl can hear a mouse stepping on a twig from 100 feet away. The bird can make in-flight course corrections to strike at its victim. And keep in mind, we're talking about a nocturnal hunter - they're using this finely tuned sense of hearing to hunt prey that they can't even see. Owls also happen to have special serrated feathers rather than smooth, which has the effect of disrupting the flow of air over the wing in flight and eliminating the vortex noise created by airflow over a smooth surface. Thus equipped, owls arrive upon their prey without a sound like a stealth fighter. Furthermore, they have the lowest wing-loading ratio of any bird, meaning they can fly extremely slow if they need to, or carry large loads. see it here

The Immortal Jellyfish has a unique ability to avert death by reverting to its juvenile state near the end of its life. The tentacles retract, their bodies shrink, and they sink to the ocean floor and start the life cycle all over again. They can rejuvenate like this indefinitely thereby exhibiting a certain form of biological immortality.

Pit Vipers have extremely sensitive infrared detecting organs, which in effect give them a sixth sense to help them find prey. Having one of these organs on either side of the head produces a stereo effect that indicates distance, as well as direction. Experiments have shown, when deprived of their senses of sight and smell, these snakes can strike accurately at moving objects less than 0.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the background. The paired pit organs would seem to provide the snake with thermal rangefinder capabilities. Its accuracy sometimes is 0.0002%. These specialized organs supposedly arose multiple times independently in species of vipers, boas, and pythons.

Velvet worms immobilize their prey by shooting a fast-drying glue-like substance out of glands in their heads which lassos their prey. see it here

Bears such as the Silvertip Grizzly are thought to have the best sense of smell of any animal on earth. It is 7 times better than a bloodhound's, which in turn is 300 times better than a human's. Hence, the bear's sense of smell is 2100 times better than a human's. They also have highly developed noses that contain hundreds of tiny muscles which lets them manipulate their noses with the same dexterity as people's fingers [src]. The surface area inside their 9 inch noses also has hundreds of times more surface area and receptors than a human's and their part of the brain which manages smell is 5 times larger than a humans' despite their smaller brain. A bear's sense of smell is so acute that they can detect animal carcasses even upwind and from a distance of 20 miles away. Basically, the bear knows who walked down the path last night at 11pm, what the soles of their shoe was made of, who they were with, what food they ate, etc. When a Silvertip tracks your steps, you're finished. Even if you have a 2 day head start, you will be emitting a light house trail for the bear to follow until you get tired. see it here

The Elephantnose Fish has a probe on its chin which generates an electric field that becomes distorted by nearby objects. The electrical charge is generated on a special organ in the fish's tail, then measured by sensors in its probe. These sensors are so advanced that they can differentiate exact shapes, materials, sizes, volumes and distances (within millimeters) [10]. As it sweeps the ocean floor, the fish can even "sense" if the buried microscopic insects it detects are dead or alive by measuring their ability to store charges. see it here

Bees have the most complex language out of any animal. They have a unique dance-based sign language. Through their waggling and shaking which consists of one to 100 or more figure eight circuits, scouts can report the distance and direction to patches of flowers yielding nectar and pollen, to water sources, or to new housing locations, etc. They also explain about the terrain, whether the area is dangerous, and how rich is the food source. The bees are able to triangulate as well as a civil engineer. The directions are accurate to within about 15 feet. Researchers attached antennas on a few bees to track them through radar to confirm this. Bees also use a voting system to determine certain decisions of the hive. They are also hypersensitive to electricity and use it in lots of unique and amazing ways. Bees' wing flapping builds up a static electricity field which gives them navigation ability and many other amazing uses. When they enter a flower the pollen zaps onto them, and they leave a charge on the flower to let other bees know they were there. Some researchers have even concluded that bees are sensitive to electricity all the way down to the quantum mechanical level. Bees also have a small ring of magnetite particles, magnetic granules of iron, inside their abdomen to detect the magnetic field of the Earth for navigation. see the bee waggle dance see it here

The Cave Fish lives in pitch black underwater caves. They have no eyes but a super sense of touch and can "feel" walls, rocks, and obstacles all around them. The cavefish does this by using a unique navigation system. It generates high frequency suction waves with its mouth and then uses these vibrations to measure the distance to objects or other fish nearby. Researchers have found that the cavefish don't measure time with the waves as in echolocation, but rather the way in which pressure magnitude is changed. By feeling the resulting field of pressure changes around them, they can build up a map of what is around them as a kind of extended sense of touch. After mapping out its surroundings the cavefish reduces the frequency of its suction waves relying on memory [11]. The cavefish also passively gathers information produced by body waves when they swim through water. Both navigation methods are used in tandem, similar to how submarines rely on both active and passive sonar. see it here

Electric Eel normally water and high voltage don't mix, but these creatures have special cells called "electrocytes" that effectively turn them into batteries. The eels use these electric organs to sense foreign objects and smaller fish that might make a good meal. To feed, they will deliver small shocks to fish, rendering their victims paralyzed. When they sense a threat, they can generate about 600 volts of electricity to the predator, which knocks most enemies dead. The standard U.S. wall outlet only carries about 110 volts. Because its "adaptation" is so epically weird, taxonomists decided it has to be the only species in its entire genus. see it here

The Mimic Octopus can change its shape, size, and color to take on the characteristics of more than 15 different types of marine life to camouflage itself or ward off prey. Watch it scuddling on the ocean floor looking something like a furry turkey with human legs here.
Other species of octopus have specialized skin cells which change not only their coloring, but also the texture of their skin to match rocks, corals and other items nearby, creating textures ranging from small bumps to tall spikes. The result is a disguise that makes them nearly invisible. Their skin is essentially like a 3D television screen. see it here

The Pipe Fish have a highly modified skeleton formed into armored plating. This dermal skeleton has several longitudinal ridges, so a vertical section through the body looks angular, not round or oval as in the majority of other fishes. Watch this and other incredible underwater masters of disguise here

The Wood Frog is able to withstand being frozen solid - and then thaw out again as if nothing had happened. The wood frog stops breathing and its heart stops beating entirely for days to weeks at a time. What's more, the frog is likely to endure multiple freeze/thaw episodes over the course of a winter. Normally living cells sustain damage when frozen. But when the wood frog feels ice forming on its skin, its liver produces special sugars which are pumped into the cells in place of water. Since the sugars won't lose shape when frozen, the cells are not damaged by being frozen. The water from the cells is pumped out and deposited on the frog's skin to form an icy suit of armor to protect the frog. While other animals take time and effort to hibernate, this frog can sit back and let nature take its course. see it here

Bear Hibernation During the 5-7 months of hibernation a bear does not eat, drink, defecate, or even urinate. It essentially enters a mode of conservation, efficiency and recycling. For months on end the bear doesn't consume any fluids all the while never becoming dehydrated (despite that the bear loses considerable water via the moisture in its exhaled breath) which would obviously normally kill any animal. However, the bear hibernation physiology allows it to get all the water it needs from the metabolization of fat. Water is a byproduct of fat metabolization and the bear is able to use this water to supply all of its fluid requirements. Their kidneys shut down almost completely and urea, a major component of urine, is recycled into proteins that maintain a bear's muscle mass and organ tissues. Without the ability to recycle urea, ammonia would build up to toxic levels and poison the animal.

The Blue Whale is the largest known animal ever to have lived on Earth; it is larger than any of the giant dinosaurs were. The biggest recorded blue whale was a female in the Antarctic Ocean that was 30.5 m long (more than 3.5times the length of a double-decker bus and as long as a Boeing 737 plane) with an estimated weight of 144 tonnes (almost the same as 2,000 men!). The tongue alone of a blue whale can weigh as much as an elephant and an entire football team could stand on it! The heart of a blue whale is about the size of a VW Beetle car and weighs up to 1000 pounds. The aorta, a major blood vessel for the heart, is big enough for a human child to crawl through. [12]. The call of the blue whale reaches levels up to 188 decibels and can travel thousands of miles across the ocean. see it here

Gannets are seabirds with amazing hunting habits. They fly high and swoop down crashing into the water face-first at speeds of up to 145KMH (90MPH). To protect itself from becoming a meal to the fish it is trying to catch, it has an extra-thick helmet-like skull that is able to withstand impact. The bird also has special safety airbags in its face, chest, and shoulders which can be inflated at will to absorb impacts that would kill just about any other animal. see it here

The Human Brain is the most complex and least understood organ in human anatomy. It is about 3 times larger than that of the great apes and much more advanced. It has about 10 billion neuron cells. Each neuron cell sprouts a vast dendritic tree ending in 100,000 branches to contact other neuron cells. That's a total of 10^15 connections. If you had a forest that covered half of the USA, all the leaves in those trees would be about 10^15 leaves. That's how many connections there are in the human brain. That's way more than all the connections in the phone and internet systems on the entire planet - and those connections are not random. The neurons connect to other very specific neurons to get certain results and effects. They have to connect correctly. Computer scientists worldwide are currently nowhere near getting anywhere close to making a supercomputer which can have a basic intelligent conversation remotely like a human being (that one feels he is conversing with an "intelligent personality"). A computer can be programmed to calculate chess moves or the like but such things as rational thought and intelligent speech are a whole different ball game. The power consumption of the brain is only about 20 Watts and its resilient parallel network architecture can withstand deaths of many millions of nodes (neurons).

Michael Denton writes in Nature's Destiny (pg.258): "Furthermore, the neuron and its dendritic tree is not a mere frozen network of silicon threads but a living, ever changing network, learning, reacting, responding, and integrating a vast number of different electronic and chemical signals. In the words of a recent Nature reviewer, 'the latest work on information processing and storage at the single-cell level reveals previously unimagined complexity and dynamism. We are left with a feeling of awe for the amazing complexity found in nature. Loops with loops across many temporal and spatial scales'".

The development of the fetus is the most advanced system known in the universe. It magnifies its size in only a few weeks or months million-folds and more. It self-organizes into some 10 trillion specialized cells. What system known in reality is able to do so only with mother's food and air digested and moved through the blood. Nothing like it even a tiny bit 1000 times exists anywhere ever, such brilliant ability to magnify a structure by such an enormous factor - all autonomously in the womb, such sophistication and wisdom of Creation. See below video where a university professor of neurology marvels at the sophistication of the assembly of the neural network in the human brain. The underlying wisdom it exhibits is so mind boggling and so incredibly complex that the professor can only call it a "miracle". see it here

Let us zoom down into the world of plants and even further down into the sub-group of wild flowers. Here are some unedited pictures of actual, real-life flowers. These are not fake pictures.

Laughing Bumble Bee Orchid (Ophrys bombylifora)

Swaddled Babies (Anguloa Uniflora)

Parrot Flower (Impatiens Psittacinum)

Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana Major)

An orchid that looks remarkably like a tiger

Happy Alien (Calceolaria Uniflora)

And his friends...

Angel Orchid (Habenaria Grandifloriformis)

Dove Orchid Or Ghost Orchid (Peristeria Elata)

White Egret Orchid (Habenaria Radiata)

Red Lips (Psychotria Elata)

Dancing Girls (Impatiens Bequaertii)

The Darth Vader (Aristolochia Salvadorensis)

An Orchid That Looks Like A Ballerina

Monkey Face Orchid (Dracula Simia)

Snap Dragon Seed Pod (Antirrhinum)

Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera)


Flame Lily (Gloriosa superba)

Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)

Flying on Instruments
the vision of bats
Consider also sound based sonar vision in bats, smell warfare in skunks, porcupines, or the dam making ability of the beaver, or general consciousness in animals, abstract thinking and self-reflection in humans, or other inventions such as insulation, infrared sensors, hypodermic needles, etc. etc., we could go on and on. There are also all sorts of useful biologically active chemicals such as antibiotics, analgesics, emetics, diuretics, laxatives, tranquilizers, contraceptives, hallucinogens, pain killers, antifreeze, antidotes and many, many more.

Not to mention, the vast diversity of early creatures found in the fossil record. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that every conceivable sort of creature and biological system possible on earth appears to have been actualized.

Let us now examine a bit more closely one example - the navigation system in bats [13]. Bats do not fly by sight. They are nocturnal creatures. They can barely see in the day but they sleep in the day. They do all their activities at night and at night they are blind. They fly by means of sonar. They send out sound waves through their nose as they are flying. If those waves bounce off something and echo back at them, they pick them up and know that they are heading toward something and need to veer in a different direction. Somehow they know how fast they are flying and they know that sound travels at 723 MPH and as they fly they continue to send out sound waves so they continue to get updated information. From these echoes, the bats can determine the size of objects, how far away they are, how fast they are traveling and even their texture[14], all in a split second.

Given enough data (and continued updated info) a mathematician could sit down with a pencil and paper and some calculus equations and figure out how far the bat was from the object and with the right info could even figure out if the object the bat is heading toward is stationary or moving toward the bat or away from it. But that would take time and if the bat took that much time he'd be flying into trees, poles and other things. We have developed computers that can do this very quickly. That's what the bat needs. The bat has a computer in his head that can figure out that information very quickly. It knows what it is heading for without being able to physically see. It's flying by instruments (as pilots would say). The computer in the bat's head processes the flux of data from the instruments and forms an image of the environment in the bat's consciousness.

Recently, scientific instruments have revealed that tiger and hawk moths which the bats feed on have a suite of defensive strategies including bat-detection sonar ears. When they detect a bat and sense they have been "pinged" by the incoming bat's sonar, this will trigger aerobic evasive behavior (loops,spirals,dives). Tiger moths have even been shown to produce anti-bat sonar jamming, much like modern military jamming techniques used to disrupt radar. They produce sonic illusions by faking echoes off of non-existent objects that trick the incoming bat into seeing phantom objects that don't exist (see the spectrogram [15]). Imagine all the things that go on in 'simple' insects that we havent realized yet! Let us now look at an example of the kind of complexity we find in micro-organisms. The E-coli bacterium is considered a "primitive" form of life due to its relatively simple structure. As such it is one of the most thoroughly and intensely studied micro-organisms.

The flagellum which drives the E. Coli bacterium, is essentially an outboard motor. The structure comprises a hook with filament or propeller rotating up to 100,000 rpm, a rotor, stator, drive shaft, U-joint, bushings and engine casing (inner and outer membranes). If just one of 40 structural components of the engine is missing, it does not work and the bacterium dies.

Studies of the bacterial flagellum reveal that the parts have to be assembled in a certain order, as with a car engine. Chemicals cannot do this, there has to be information orchestrating the construction - and there is, on the DNA strand. Molecular machines construct the bacterial flagellum in the correct order for it to work. If one piece is mislaid or put in the wrong place, the engine won't work, so the system is said to be irreducibly complex. And the machines which make the flagella are in turn made by other machines, which are themselves constructed by further systems which are also irreducibly complex. Such mind-boggling complexity goes all the way "down" [16] to levels beyond our ability to understand.

Furthermore, besides the rotary motor type flagella in bacteria, there are also various types of flagella out there, such as those in eukaryotes (ex. sperm cells) which beat back and forth. Here's what researchers from Brandeis University [17] say about those:
Eukaryotic flagella, whip-like organelles that elegantly propel microorganisms and pump fluid, seem to embody simplicity on the microscopic scale. But appearances can be deceptive: Flagella are composed of 650 different types of proteins.

Their jobs are vitally important. Flagella help sperm swim, sponges eat, and sweep mucus from the lungs, among other functions. Their length depends on their purpose but flagellas' structure and rhythmic, beating movement remain the same across functions and species (though they necessarily arose independently).

That fluid movement is a highly sought-after capability in small-scale devices, such as microrobots. But scientists have struggled to build a simple, controllable model that can recreate it.
Six hundred and fifty components to get this tiny filament to beat with the proper rythm! Scientists tried to produce a synthetic one but eventually gave up and settled for a simple string of beads computer model.

Let us now look a bit at how scientists are faring in reverse-engineering the "primitive" E-Coli bacterium. The authors of the article on E. coli in the "Annual Review of Microbiology" (Riley and Serres 2000) wrote:
Even though the entire sequence of the E. coli K-12 chromosomal DNA has been known for [over] two years, we are still far from knowing all of the details of how the cell operates, lives, replicates, coordinates, and adapts to changing circumstances . . . the number of experimental journal articles on aspects of the basic biology of E. coli has increased from an average of 78 per month in 1996 to an average of 94 per month today . . . new biological information about this well-studied organism continues to roll in. New metabolic capabilities are discovered and are connected to underlying genes. There are new regulation systems, new transport systems, and more information on cellular constituents and cellular processes.

. . . but how many regulators are needed to maintain coordination of expression of the genes and correct interaction among the gene products? Regulation systems are not the same in all bacteria, and we still do not have all of the information for the regulatory networks of even one bacterial species . . . the minimal set of genes and proteins necessary for life of an independently replicating cell does not have an easy answer.

Experimentation into details of the biology of E. coli continues unabated today, and the numbers of papers published annually continues to increase . . . not all enzymes and pathways in E. coli are known . . . besides genes for unknown enzymes, we have data for enzymes that don't have genes. There are 55 enzymes of E. coli that have been isolated, purified and characterized over the years, but their genes have never been identified.

The advent of massive DNA-sequencing technology and the completion to date of [more than] 20 microbial genomes that are now available to the public have not brought us (yet) to a complete understanding of exactly how a single free-living cell functions and adapts to changing environments.[18]
Regulation systems? Transport systems? Looks like scientists are learning the hard way just how unbelievably complex even "simple" life forms truly are.

There is another class of Bacteria, even "simpler" than E-Coli called Mycoplasma. Like E-Coli, mycoplasma bacteria are one of the most thoroughly and intensely studied microorganisms. In 1979 T.D. Brock's biology textbook stated mycoplasmas are "of special evolutionary interest because of their extremely simple cell structure". Sure enough though in 1996 Dybvig and Voelker stated, "Mycoplasmas can no longer be thought of as a simple organism." Scientists used the word simple. Notice also, that with more time and research, the 'simple' turned out to be awfully complex!

This pattern we are seeing in everything. Down to the "simple" electron and quark, etc, which turns out to be a bottomless world of mathematical complexity. G-d is giving the poor scientists a heck of a run for their money!

Let us now look a bit at the mind boggling complexity of cells, a complexity which is almost unbelievable.

The Amazing Cell
Up until the mid-20th century, the cell was initially thought to be simple. Ernst Haeckel famously stated that the cell is nothing more than an undifferentiated piece of protoplasm, meaning, in today's language, a blob of Jello. So that's how you evolved. To quote Dr. Mark Eastman, "From the goo to the zoo to you."

As new technologies emerged, such as the electron microscope, scientists found themselves confronted not with Haeckel's homogenous blob of protoplasm, but rather, with a system of complexity far beyond anything we could have imagined.

It turns out that even the simplest known cells are a highly organized, micro-miniaturized city looking like something straight out of a science fiction film. The spectacle features automated assembly plants manufacturing hundreds of thousands of specific products, databanks employing artificial languages and decoding systems, mobile power plants generating energy, chemical stations and refineries for breaking down raw materials into their usable parts, transportation networks and channels complete with highways, traffic rules and law enforcement, border control and sensory devices regulating the arrival and departure of substances, and a host of other things we don't even begin to understand.

Am I exaggerating? Let me quote Michael Denton, a geneticist and agnostic:
To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometres in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units. The nucleus itself would be a vast spherical chamber more than a kilometre in diameter, resembling a geodesic dome inside of which we would see, all neatly stacked together in ordered arrays, the miles of coiled chains of the DNA molecules. A huge range of products and raw materials would shuttle along all the manifold conduits in a highly ordered fashion to and from all the various assembly plants in the outer regions of the cell.
We would wonder at the level of control implicit in the movement of so many objects down so many seemingly endless conduits, all in perfect unison. We would see all around us, in every direction we looked, all sorts of robot-like machines. We would notice that the simplest of the functional components of the cell, the protein molecules, were astonishingly, complex pieces of molecular machinery, each one consisting of about three thousand atoms arranged in highly organized 3-D spatial conformation... Yet the life of the cell depends on the integrated activities of thousands, certainly tens, and probably hundreds of thousands of different protein molecules.
We would see that nearly every feature of our own advanced machines had its analogue in the cell: artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction. In fact, so deep would be the feeling of deja-vu, so persuasive the analogy, that much of the terminology we would use to describe this fascinating molecular reality would be borrowed from the world of late twentieth-century technology.
What we would be witnessing would be an object resembling an immense automated factory, a factory larger than a city and carrying out almost as many unique functions as all the manufacturing activities of man on earth.. (Michael Denton, Evolution, a Theory in Crisis, pg.250)
To add to the amazement this great, complex, and busy metropolis reproduces itself in a matter of hours!

Hard to imagine, isn't it? But we can actually get a glimpse into this bewildering world with David Bolinsky's short computer-generated animation commissioned by Harvard University. It took about 14 months to produce these few minutes and is still an ongoing process. Bolinksy admits "believe me we know maybe one percent of what's going on [in cells]". ( video: David Bolinsky visuallizing the wonder of a cell, at 8:38)

John Liebler, the lead animator, said: "All of those things that you see in the animation are going on in every one of your cells in your body all the time... I've been in the medical animation field for seven years now, so I'm a little jaded, but I still get surprised by things. For instance, in the animation there's a motor protein that's sort of walking along a line, carrying this round sphere of lipids. When I started working on that section I admit I was kind of surprised to see that it really does look like it's out for a stroll, like a character in a science fiction film or animation. But based on all the data, it's a completely accurate rendering."[19] (though simplified for in real life things happen in a much more crowded, much harder to view manner)

(see below for the video)

Just briefly, to get a feel for what cells need to do, let us consider the basic autonomous cell whose task is to reproduce and synthesize the parts it needs from raw materials.

1. Information System - to build something which can reproduce and synthesize its own parts from raw materials requires a coordinated series of steps. Chemicals cannot do this. On their own, they just combine chaotically or crystallize into regular patterns such as in snowflakes. Hence, there must be information (ex. RNA or the like) storing the instructions to orchestrate the assembly.

2. Energy System - information by itself is useless. To implement the instructions requires energy. A system that cannot generate or source energy just drifts chaotically or crystallizes into simple forms, forced to follow the path of least resistance. Hence, a system of producing or sourcing energy is necessary along with subsystems of distribution and management of that energy so that it goes to the proper place.

3. Copy System - in order to reproduce itself, the device must be able to implement the instructions of the information system using the energy system. This includes the ability to rebuild all critical infrastructure such as the information and energy systems and even the copy system itself.

4. Growth System - Without a growth system, the device will reduce itself every time it reproduces and vanish to zero-size after a few generations. This growth system necessitates subsystems of ingestion of materials from the outside world, processing of those materials, and assembling those materials into the necessary parts.This alone is a formidable chemical factory.

5. Transportation System - the materials must be moved to the proper places. Hence, a transportation system is needed for transporting raw materials and products from one place to another within the cell. Likewise, a system for managing the in-coming of raw materials and out-going of waste materials of all these chemical reactions.

6. Timing System - the growth system must also be coordinated with the reproduction system. Otherwise, if the reproduction occurs faster than the growth, it will reduce size faster than it grows and vanish after a few generations. Hence, a timing or feedback mechanism is needed.

7. Communication System - signalling is needed to coordinate all the tasks so that they all work together. The reproduction system won't work without coordination with the growth and power systems. Likewise, the power system by itself is useless without the growth and reproduction systems. Only when all the systems and "circuitry" are in place and the power is turned on is there hope for the various interdependent tasks to start working together. Otherwise, it is like turning on a computer which has no interconnections between the power supply, CPU, memory, hard drive, video, operating system, etc - nothing to write home about.

Hence the "simple" task of reproducing and synthesizing parts is by no means simple. A cell is a marvellous entity no less mind-boggling than a full fledged organism.

Furthermore, all of this complexity is just for the basic cell. Consider for instance, all the processes that need to occur in the human egg cell after fertilization. It magnifies its size in only a few weeks or months thousand-folds and more. It self-organizes into some trillion specialized cells. What system known in reality is able to do so, only with mother's food and air digested and moved through the blood. Nothing like it even a tiny bit 1000 times exists anywhere ever. Such brilliant ability to magnify a structure by such an enormous factor, such sophistication and wisdom of creation - all autonomously in the womb. (based on a teaching by Rabbi Omer Furmanski).

All this makes ever more poignant the words of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (17th century) commenting on a verse in our daily prayers.
You should know that all of G-d's works are awesome, infinitely broad and deep. This is the meaning of "how great are Your works O, G-d" (Ps. 92:6). The least of His works contains such degree of wisdom, in quantity and depth, that it is impossible for us to ever fully grasp it. This is the meaning of (the second half of the verse): "Your thoughts are exceedingly deep" (i.e. infinitely deep). We can only grasp the superficial surface of the works of G-d.. (Daas Tevunos sec.54)
Indeed, the more we discover, the more we realize how much more there is to know. This wisdom, in other words, is of a different kind of wisdom than ours. It is of the infinite enclothed in the finite - precisely the concept of creation.

Some assert there are no miracles in nature. But really the miracle is right under our noses - for the bottomless divine wisdom in all living things is itself a miracle.

Furthermore, this way teaches us far more about the infinite power, wisdom and ability of the Creator than any "supernatural" miracle.

(Note that whenever one reads news stories of "artificial cells" created in the lab, he can safely assume it is something that neither grows nor reproduces, for that would require all the above complexity. Alternatively, it is just a modification of an already living organism and then hoping it will survive the change.)

The following short videos give a glimpse into the awe-inspiring world of the cell which we are only beginning to understand.
Inner life of the cell
Harvard University's computer generated animation giving a glimpse into the world of | download
Powering the Cell: Mitochondria
Harvard University's computer generated animation about the microscopic world of mitochondria, the organelle generating the cell's power.
Astonishing Molecular Machines
DNA Replication
(without the error correction mechanisms)
see here [20] for an outline of the process.
Voyage Inside the Cell
Cell Division and many more short videos
Neurons and Nerve Cells
see also:the Central Nervous System [21]
The Immune System (amazing video on microwarfare)
see also: T-Cells | Immune Response
The Water Bear (amazing video on the micro-animal)
Let us now zoom down into the world of protein machines.

Nature's Game
Nature likes to play hide and seek with us. It seems the more we try to unlock its mysteries, the more elusive it becomes, hiding behind ever deeper layers of complexity. Yet, at the same time beckoning us to follow along by revealing wisdom we can understand at the level we have reached.

We are seeing this game when probing the atom. Endless, ever more dense amalgamations of all sorts of particles are discovered as we smash the atom with faster and faster colliding particles.[22]

So too in the fundamental science of life - biochemistry. Things are getting more and more complicated every decade as our understanding of the cell increases. Anyone working in this area can hardly fail to see this. Of course it can't be infinitely complex.. or can it?

Let us take a tiny glimpse into this fascinating little world of the cell, visiting a day in the life of a protein molecule. It is here at this most fundamental level of life, that nature begins to whisper to us its secrets.

We shrink a thousand, thousand, thousand times, descending into the domain of the cell. Looking around we notice a world resembling some sort of advanced alien civilization. In every direction robot machines perform all sorts of biological functions.

Everything appears highly organized and of utmost efficiency. The robot machines are as small as can possibly be, yet remarkably complex. Each consists of thousands of atoms intricately folded in specific three dimensional configurations.

As we approach the spherically shaped nucleus of the cell we notice strands of information molecules snaking out from its many pores.

We notice a typical information strand is about 1000 DNA letters long[23]. In our computer terms this is roughly 250 bytes of data; enough information to encode a 250 letter ascii password. To crack this password has odds of 1 in 10^600, or for all practical purposes infinity time.

Approaching a nuclear pore, we are scrutinized by security checkpoints. Going through, and entering the nucleus, we see the endless coils of the DNA information bank all neatly stacked and organized.

We notice messenger molecules coming in and out of the pores. Each one locating the exact section of DNA it was sent to fetch. It unwinds it and transcribes a copy and begins to snake out the nucleus.

Following one strand out, we observe large editor machines (spliceosomes) suddenly assembling and latching on to the messenger strand.

The editor machines edits out specific parts of the strand preparing it for factory machine language. After their work is done, a mobile factory arrives and begins to work on the information strand.

All sorts of helper machines and materials arrive at the right time in the right quantity to coordinate the factory assembly.

We watch as atom by atom, molecule by molecule, the new robot machine's components are assembled.

After completion, chaperone machines help the new protein fold into the right three dimensional structure so that the protein can become activated.

The folding of a protein is not a chemical reaction, with a bond breaking here and a new one forming there. It is more like the weaving of an intertwined molecular pattern, the stability of which is defined by innumerable forces between atoms in a wonderfully holistic manner. Our computer simulations cannot yet solve the folding code that is behind the molecular dynamics, as to work though just 50 milliseconds of folding would take even the fastest computer around 30,000 years.[24]. This little 250 byte algorithm packs quite a wallop!

Localizer machines then usher the new protein to its destined work area. Along the way all sorts of enzymes slap on chemical tags to the new protein for many different reasons.

The protein then joins the army of molecular machines, performing its task with military discipline for the rest of its life. Alternatively it is assembled as a component of larger order molecular machines.

As we begin to leave, we notice a great commotion beginning. The rush hour starts as the cell prepares to reproduce. Hundreds of thousands of different types of simple proteins and higher order machines are formed along with all sorts of other structures and substances.

We quickly eject out so as not to get caught up in the avalanche of processes.

Looking back from afar we notice a mad chaos, a raging sea of countless processes. It seems the cell is about to self-destruct until a pattern emerges, and a greater pattern, and yet greater until the sea calms down and there emerges two identical cells.

This process repeats until higher order patterns emerge and a functional multi-cellular system such as an organ or leaf emerges. Each component assembled by these molecular machines, atom by atom, molecule by molecule.

This my friends is the world of cells. Fortunately, we have some scientific animations worth more than a thousand words giving a wondrous glimpse into this hidden world. Here is one on the basic process of protein formation common to all living things. It appears like some sort of wacko sci-fi movie but this is real and even highly simplified.

Here is another animation on the mysterious editor machines called spliceosomes. While we have learned a great deal about them much of their details remains a mystery. Video here.

It seems despite our decades of research we are still very, very far away from grasping the nature of the cell. On the contrary, the more we discover, the more we find hints of new and strange worlds of bewildering complexity awaiting us.

Here's what Dr. James A. Shapiro of the University of Chicago discovered about protozoa (single celled micro-organisms) [25].

A cell under stress will splice its own DNA into over 100,000 pieces. Then a program senses hundreds of variables in its environment and then re-arranges those pieces to produce a new, better, evolved cell.

That's pretty impressive, no? What if your Windows software could do that? Instead of downloading another darn service pack or new upgrade, it could just reprogram itself and upgrade itself as needed. Not bad, no?

Let us now watch these proteins in action.

Horrendous Complexity
Let us now zoom in to watch these protein machines performing. Viewed down a light microscope at a few hundred times magnification as was in Darwin's day, the cell was a boring spectacle. It appeared only as a disorderly blob of goo which would shift around here and there randomly. But as our understanding grew, and new technologies such as the electron microscope emerged, the spectacle turned out to contain machines performing, well.. let's just say better than the Moscow State Circus.

Here is a simplified overview given by Biochemistry Professor Michael Behe of Lehigh University regarding the first stage of how light is transformed to an electrical signal in the human eye [26] (we prepared a version with commentaries which is available here). Please fasten your seatbelts and keep your arms inside the vehicle:
When light strikes the retina a photon is absorbed (through a quantum mechanical process) by an organic molecule called 11-cis-retinal, causing it to rearrange within picoseconds (10^-12 seconds) to trans-retinal.

The change in shape of 11-cis-retinal forces a corresponding change in shape of the protein, rhodopsin, to which it is tightly bound.

As a consequence of the [rhodopsin] protein's metamorphosis, the behavior of the protein changes in a very specific way. The altered [rhodopsin] protein can now interact with another protein called transducin.

Before associating with rhodopsin, transducin is tightly bound to a small organic molecule called GDP, but when it binds to rhodopsin the GDP dissociates itself from transducin and a molecule called GTP, which is closely related to, but critically different from, GDP, binds to transducin.

The exchange of GTP for GDP in the transducinrhodopsin complex alters its behavior. GTP-transducinrhodopsin binds to a protein called phosphodiesterase, located in the inner membrane of the cell. When bound by rhodopsin and its entourage, the phosphodiesterase acquires the ability to chemically cleave a molecule called cGMP.

Initially there are a lot of cGMP molecules in the cell, but the action of the phosphodiesterase lowers the concentration of cGMP. Activating the phosphodiesterase can be likened to pulling the plug in a bathtub, lowering the level of water.

A second membrane protein which binds cGMP, called an ion channel, can be thought of as a special gateway regulating the number of sodium ions in the cell. The ion channel normally allows sodium ions to flow into the cell, while a separate protein actively pumps them out again. The dual action of the ion channel and pump proteins keeps the level of sodium ions in the cell within a narrow range.

When the concentration of cGMP is reduced from its normal value through cleavage by the phosphodiesterase, many channels close, resulting in a reduced cellular concentration of positively charged sodium ions. This causes an imbalance of charges across the cell membrane which, finally, causes a current to be transmitted down the optic nerve to the brain: the result, when interpreted by the brain, is vision.

If the biochemistry of vision were limited to the reactions listed above, the cell would quickly deplete its supply of 11-cis-retinal and cGMP while also becoming depleted of sodium ions. Thus a system is required to limit the signal that is generated and restore the cell to its original state.

There are several mechanisms which do this. Normally, in the dark, the ion channel, in addition to sodium ions, also allows calcium ions to enter the cell; calcium is pumped back out by a different protein in order to maintain a constant intracellular calcium concentration.

However, when cGMP levels fall, shutting down the ion channel and decreasing the sodium ion concentration, calcium ion concentration is also decreased. The phosphodiesterase enzyme, which destroys cGMP, is greatly slowed down at lower calcium concentration.

Additionally, a protein called guanylate cyclase begins to resynthesize cGMP when calcium levels start to fall.

Meanwhile, while all of this is going on, metarhodopsin II is chemically modified by an enzyme called rhodopsin kinase, which places a phosphate group on its substrate.

The modified rhodopsin is then bound by a protein dubbed arrestin, which prevents the rhodopsin from further activating transducin. Thus the cell contains mechanisms to limit the amplified signal started by a single photon.

Trans-retinal eventually falls off of the rhodopsin molecule and must be reconverted to 11-cis-retinal and again bound by opsin to regenerate rhodopsin for another visual cycle.

To accomplish this trans-retinal is first chemically modified by an enzyme to transretinol, a form containing two more hydrogen atoms. A second enzyme then isomerizes the molecule to 11-cis-retinol.

Finally, a third enzyme removes the previously added hydrogen atoms to form 11-cis-retinal, and the cycle is complete...
Other examples of irreducible complexity abound, including aspects of protein transport, blood clotting, closed circular DNA, electron transport, telomeres, photosynthesis, transcription regulation, and much more...
source: see there for more
Interesting little world, don't you think? The above-mentioned example is not only for vision of the eye. Just about every system in living creatures exhibits this kind of circus of complexity and even more when examined at the level of biochemistry.

The big picture, or system view of the eye is also an interesting story.

As light enters your eye, about seven million cone-shaped color sensors automatically fine tune your color contrast and detail vision depending on the lighting conditions. Whenever there isn't enough light for an accurate color picture, the cone-shaped sensors sign off and about 125 million rod-shaped, ultra-sensitive black and white sensors switch in. Meanwhile a processor in your optic nerve receives signals from those 125 million sensors, recodes them, and zaps them down a few hundred thousand nerve fibers leading to your brain at about one billion pulses per second.

While all this is going on, the pupil is monitoring and maintaining the level of light within your eye, a stereo focusing system is maintaining maximum image sharpness and a sophisticated image enhancer is clarifying tiny blurs in your vision caused by motion or darkness. (from Eye of the Needle pg.195)

Let us note that according to scientists complex, image-forming eyes "evolved" independently some 50 to 100 times [27] - i.e. there are at least 50 independent lines of animals, spiders, jellyfish and who knows what, all of which have "evolved" complex, image-forming eyes. Many of these are highly exotic and far more advanced than human eyes.

The eye also requires coordination with the brain, such as flipping images properly and putting things in context. Babies for example can see but they can't yet put things in context. This necessitates cognitive powers to interpret the information from the eye and put them into proper context. There is much to study.

Dr. Douglas Borchman, a professor of Opthamology at the University of Louisville studied the lens of the human eye for decades and says there is still so much more to learn. He notes:
"I'm in awe of some of the things I see. It's too beautiful. Every day I go to work to unlock the mystery of the eye. The cornea, lens, retina, nerves, connections are ridiculously complex. There is so much to know. For an eye to be able to see, all the basic components must be present at the same time and work together perfectly. For instance, if all the other components, such as the cornea, iris, pupil, retina, tear glands, and eye muscles, are all present and functioning properly, but just the eyelid is missing, then the eye will incur serious damage, dry up and blindness would quickly ensue."[28].
Let us now examine a minor component of the human eye - the eyelid.

The Humble Eyelid
The eyelids are the cleaners of the eye. Similar to the windshield wipers of a car, they push out and wash away dust and other foreign particles from the eye.

Let us tour the inner workings of this structure. Hopefully we will gain a new appreciation as to what amazing wisdom lies even in this relatively “simple” component of our bodies.

The front part of the eye, (cornea) is a highly organized, structure, clear as glass, made up of groups of cells and proteins precisely arranged in layers. It has no connection to blood vessels. Instead, it receives its oxygen and nourishment from the tear film.

Hence, unlike your windshield wipers, it is very important that the eyelid wipes clean the entire surface of the cornea. If dirt accumulated anywhere, this would cut off parts of the cornea from their vital supply of oxygen and nourishment resulting in pain and infections.

The skin of the eyelid therefore fits perfectly the entire arched surface of the eye so that it can remove even the hard to reach debris at the furthest corners of the eye.

Small drain holes at the corner of the eyelid drain out all the excess tears, debris, microbes, and allergens, etc. and dump them into the nose.

The skin of the eyelid is much thinner than that of the rest of the body. This is convenient for us. If our eyelid skin were thicker, blinking would be cumbersome and the eyelid skin would not fold so compactly above and below when the eye is open. This would create large pockets of skin above and below impairing vision and looking unaesthetic.

The eyelid also blinks rapidly so as not to disrupt our daily activities. Most of us don't even notice the blinking. This rapid movement is essential for activities like reading or following moving objects where uninterrupted sight is needed; or for other activities requiring fast reaction times like bicycling or driving a car.

During blinking little lotion bottles at the rim of the eyelid sprinkle oil into the tear. These bottles are called meibomian glands. The special oily substance, called meibum, lubricates the sliding of the eyelid. Without this lubrication, painful irritation would build up due to friction between the eye and the eyelid when blinking.

The lotion bottles are arranged vertically within the eyelid near the lashes. The force of an eye blink causes just the right amount of oil to trickle out on the lid margin[29].
The special oil lubricates the eyelids and keeps them from sticking together. It also forms a thin film on the tear to protect it from evaporation and to maintain the stability of the tear so it doesn’t collapse due to gravity and eye movements.

There are approximately 50 lotion bottles (meibomian glands) lined up on the upper eyelid and 25 bottles on the lower eyelid. The biochemical composition of the meibum oil is extremely complex. Over 90 different proteins have been identified in human meibomian gland secretion.[30]

Any disease process that alters the components of tears can result in complications.

Patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), for example, may suffer from a host of eye troubles such as dry eye, irritation, blurring, itching, and infections.

The tear film between the eye and the eyelid is comprised of three layers: oil, aqueous (wattery), and mucin. These layers are produced by the meibomian glands mentioned above, another gland called the lacrimal glands, and special “goblet” cells (conjunctiva) lining the inside of the eye lid, respectively.

During the day, the cornea breathes oxygen through the air as it lacks connection to blood vessels like other tissues. When the eye is closed during sleep, and no air is available, the cornea breathes oxygen from capillaries (small veins) in the inside of the eyelid (conjuctiva) which diffuses just the right amount of oxygen into the tear.

Though the eye is closed, the tear film remains intact and is continuously replenished to provide oxygen and nutrients to the cornea[31]. The special meibum oil film mentioned above traps the tears between the oiled edge and the eyeball, and makes the closed lid airtight.

Sensors and balance mechanisms in the eye regulate the precise quantity of tears to produce at all times. Walking into a smoky room, for instance, causes the eyes to water. This shields them from the tiny particles that make up smoke.

The downside is that wattery eyes blurs vision. So normally this does not occur. Too little tear results in dry eyes, which leads to red, irritated and painful eyes. Too little tear also causes excessive friction from the sliding of the eyelid on the eye when blinking resulting in constant pain. Surgery may be needed in some cases to plug the tear drain in hopes of increasing the tear level.

Generally any condition that impairs the functioning of the eyelid results in complications such as chronic eye irritation and infections. For a long list of disorders see here.[32]

As an example, patients suffering from a disease called nocturnal lagophthalmos do not close their eyelids properly during sleep resulting in the cornea being exposed. By morning accumulated aerial dust and dryness needs to be cleaned out and the cornea disinfected. If severe, the disease can bring corneal ulcers leading to blindness.

The condition is not widely understood; in one instance a passenger was removed from a US Airways flight because of it. The flight attendant apparently freaked out after trying to speak with a patient sleeping with his eyes open.[33]

Minor dry eye can also occur at long sittings staring at a computer screen (as happened writing this article). This can be relieved by pausing regularly and closing the eyelids and/or blinking more frequently.

As we can see from experience, the eye possesses a remarkable defense against bacterial infection. Bacteria normally thrive on warm, wet surfaces and the seemingly helpless cornea which lacks proper skin to protect it appears to be an easy target. To make things worse, the cornea lacks a blood supply so the body's normal elaborate immune system cannot come to the rescue.

But a tailor made immune system works to stop our eyes from becoming infested with hungry bacteria. This immune system is, you guessed it, in the tear film.

This is why those suffering from clogged tear ducts, as sometimes happens especially in young children, quickly develop swollen eyes full of pus. The clogged tear ducts can no longer replenish the immune defenses and the eye becomes like a petri dish for bacteria to thrive. Immediate medical care to disinfect the eye and unclog the ducts is urgent.

Among the immune defenses in the tear film:[34]

* Lactoferrin -    A sophisticated protein which prevents bacteria from growing and launching a coordinated attack (forming films). It also has antiviral and antifungal activities.

* Lysozyme - powerful enzyme that rips apart bacterial cell walls.

* Beta-Lysin - causes bursting of bacteria resistant to lysozyme by targeting their cell membrane.

* Ceruloplasmin - regulates damage to eye tissue during inflammation.

* Complement System - heavy artillery. when stimulated by one of several triggers, it initiates an amplifying cascade of reactions which activates a massive cell-killing membrane attack complex[35]. Don’t mess with this one.

* Immunoglobulins - various sorts of antibodies which tag foreign bodies for destruction. also prevents the adherence of bacteria and clumps them together for sweeping away by the eyelid.

All these mighty detergents are able to tear apart and destroy the sea of hungry micro-organisms floating all around your eye. Yet, they do not do the slightest damage to your eye.

The eyelid also physically shields from foreign objects such as insects or airborne particles. The eyelashes initiate the blink reflex automatically without any thought on your part. This reflex can also be triggered by the slightest touch of the extremely sensitive cornea surface or by visual information of an approaching object. Sophisticated neural network pathways evaluate all this and respond involuntarily. Kids sometimes like to play games with each other to test these blinking reflexes.

Fortunately, we don't need to think about when to blink or when was the last time we blinked. It all happens automatically on its own through a complex nerve system.

Few people realize just how many countless things need to be present and work perfectly in order for our bodies to function normally. As we have seen, even the humble eyelid requires many different things to work together flawlessly.

Those who most recognize their value are people who have an impairment in any one of their intricate components, rendering their lives, one of chronic pain and inconvenience.

By learning about their features, hopefully, we can gain a greater appreciation of them and the other countless features in our body so that we may thank the Almighty for their proper functioning.

the Chessmaster
Let us now examine a bit the "design" method of random mutations coupled with natural selection. How powerful is it? How plausible of an explanation is it for the kind of engineering complexity we find in nature. Here is an excerpt from an article by a British philosopher at the which sheds some light on this [19]:
"A few very eminent and very serious scientists, including Nobel Prize winners are arguing that Darwin's Theory just doesn't work (ex. Roger Penrose, probably the world's top scientific mind today). These scientists are not necessarily saying that this proves the existence of G-d, they are just saying scientists have absolutely no idea what caused life on Earth to originate, evolve, and develop consciousness. While Richard Dawkins is still selling a record number of pro-Darwinian books to the public, in the upper echelons of the scientific community support for evolution is undoubtedly in decline...
At the heart of Darwin's Theory is random change and natural selection. Computer Scientists have been experimenting with "Genetic Algorithms" for a long time now, and its clear they have enormous limitations. A computer program to play chess, for example, looks several moves ahead and chooses the move that will lead to the strongest position in the future. The power of a chess playing computer is determined by the number of moves it can look ahead. Any modern computer can beat the average human chess player, but it took a massive supercomputer to beat Kasparov in 1997. As the computer looks further into the future the number of combinations it must analyse increases exponentially. Chess playing algorithms regularly make short term sacrifices for longer term goals. Genetic Algorithms, however, can not do this because they are concerned only with the strength of the next generation. It does not matter how large the population or the length of time, Genetic Algorithms just can not solve Chess problems. Genetic Algorithms are also unable to build a structure such as a bridge which is only useful once it is complete and requires a complex series of meanwhile wasteful steps...
The genetic algorithms get stuck in local maxima/minima. They reach a point where all small changes have a negative impact. If that makes no sense: Try to imagine a bridge developing under Darwin's Theory. Until you can walk across the bridge the wasted structure detracts rather than adds to its success, yet the bridge is far too complex to be built in a single generation. Now if Genetic Algorithms can't even build a simple bridge how could they possibly build the human eye? Biologists sometimes struggle with this argument, but for hard core scientists with mental discipline it completely undermines the entire theory...

...Since the discovery of DNA Biologists have been gradually learning that the basic cellular unit underlying all known life on Earth is enormously complex. Far more complex than the latest Intel CPU for example. It's so highly mechanised with concepts such as hardware and software that many at the forefront of microbiology believe a genetic algorithm could not possibly have produced it. Time does not help, its technical structure, they say, simply exceeds what genetic algorithms are capable of ever producing. So the realization of the microscopic complexity of the cellular unit, which began dawning in the 1950s, is building toward a sort of Copernican revolution in biological science, and the revolutionaries tend to be theoretical physicists and microbiologists, and the defenders of the status quo tend to be ordinary biologists specialising in the habitat and lifestyle of chimps and chimpanzees etc...

There is no explanation of how such a hugely complex 'device' could have come into existence. No simpler forms of life have ever been found but they would have had to exist. This argument is currently getting a lot of attention because in the past biologists just waved the original cell into existence with stories about some lightning and some soup, but now they are really marvelling at how absolutely mind bogglingly complex cells really are. Forget all the rest, many say, how on earth could a random gradual change have ever produced a device like this even in a zillion years? It's so highly mechanised with concepts such as hardware and software that many find it impossible to believe that it has not been 'designed'. You have to do a bit of studying to appreciate the scale of this problem, but it's huge." (see there for more)
(parenthetically, even if infinite universes existed for infinite time as some atheists want to claim, it would still not help to explain life since the level of complexity in cells exceeds what a random gradual change (Genetic algorithm) can ever produce as explained above.)

Note that it is beyond the scope of this piece to discuss the pros and cons of evolution. Let's just say it is certainly not the sort of situation where a rational person should be confidently asserting that there was no intelligence involved. It is also surprising when so many won't even allow for the obvious. The answer, of course, is that it is really a debate about G-d. This is the real issue. Thus it's better not to waste one's time debating it with atheists as the conversation will quickly flare up and get emotional.

The Origin of Life
Regarding the origin of life, there was a nice article in Scientific American in 1991 called "in the beginning". They interviewed the proponents of the EIGHT leading theories of how life started (abiogenesis), where the first self-replicator came from. First, the fact that there are as many as eight leading theories is terrible. Because it means in this case that seven eighths of all the researchers are against each theory. The one thing they all agree on is that all the theories are wrong. And there are giant holes in every one of the theories.

In the article, they interviewed this fellow called Miller, who was part of the famous Miller-Urey experiment in the 50s where they said that they created life in a test tube, which was just imagination. The interviewer asked Miller: "professor Miller, clearly we're making a mistake because there are eight theories and none of them is adequate. Would you consider the possibility of G-d?" Miller replied: "No. I wouldn't consider that possibility. We're making a mistake. We'll fix it. We'll find it, we'll correct it."

In other words, "I believe with perfect faith that there is no G-d. Everything is natural. Science will find a materialistic explanation for everything."

More recently Biochemist Dr. Michael Behe commented on this: "The story of the slow paralysis of research on life's origin is quite interesting... Suffice it to say that at present, the field of origin of life studies (abiogenesis) has dissolved into a cacophony of conflicting models, each unconvincing, seriously incomplete, and incompatible with competing models. In private, even most evolutionary biologists will admit that science has no explanation for the beginning of life" (Dr. Michael Behe 1997 [26])

In Nature's Destiny (pg.147), Dr. Michael Denton writes:
"Yet, despite the dreams of artificial life and the gurus of nanotechnology, the undeniable fact remains that many characteristics of living organisms are still without any significant analogue in any machine which has yet been constructed. Every living system replicates itself, yet no machine yet possesses this capacity even to the slightest degree. Nearly, half a century after von Neumann, Claude Shannon, Norbert Wiener, and their circle dreamed of self-replicating machines, the dream is nowhere near realization. Nor does there exist even a well-developed, detailed blueprint in the most advanced area of nanotechnology for a machine that could carry out such a stupendous act. In the case of von Neumann's model, for example, no serious consideration was given to the fuel and energy problem. Von Neumann assumed conveniently that his automata would have unlimited energy! The challenge is enormous. A self-replicating machine requires a data storage system which must be accessible or comprehensible to the constructor device. It requires that the constructor be assembled from a very small number of readily available substances. It requires a means of energy generation, storage, and distribution to its working components and so forth. None of these problems has been solved. Yet, every second, countless trillions of living systems from bacterial cells to elephants replicate themselves on the surface of our planet...

And it is not just the act of self-replication which has not been copied in our technology. Even the far less ambitious end of component self-assembly which is utilized by every living cell on earth, exhibited in processes as diverse as the assembly of viral capsules to the assembly of cell organelles such as the ribosome, a process whereby tens or hundreds of unique and complex elements combine together, directed entirely by their own intrinsic properties without any external intelligent guidance or control, is an achievement without any analogue in modern technology...

The contrast between the apparent ease with which life forms assemble and replicate themselves and the absolute failure to simulate this effortless activity in any sort of nonliving artificial system is very striking. While engineers have been dreaming about the possibilities of artificial self-replicating automata over the past fifty years, advances in biology since the early fifties have gradually revealed how the miracle of self-replication is actually realized in living things...
There is a push by some to propose life was seeded on earth by an advanced alien civilization. This view is becoming increasingly popular as the extreme complexity of the cell is becoming revealed. But, besides being more science fiction than science, there is no reason to believe the original first replicator which started the supposed alien civilization was a simple device. Dr. Fred Hoyle, a Nobel prize winning astrophysicist, tries to convince his colleagues on this alien view (from his paper "Evolution in Space" [36]):
"We showed that a random shuffling of amino acids, the building blocks of living things, would have as little chance as one part in 10^40,000 zeros of producing the enzymes. [It is usual to attempt to side step this difficulty by arguing that the first enzymes in the first life were much shorter in their polypeptide lengths, and so were much less improbable to come by. The idea is for the first life to evolve by natural selection, with the enzymes growing in length and becoming more complex, until eventually they reached their present forms. There is nothing in this hand-waving beyond attempting to argue that the 2,000 or so enzymes are built from a much smaller number of basic components, with each component of a simple structure. Whether or not this is so can be decided by reference to the actual amino acid sequences on the enzymes themselves. While there are some repetitions of structure (trypsin and chymotrypsin are examples) we think it safe to say that if so remarkable a suggestion were true it would long since have been discovered. Besides which the same problem applies widely to other complex biosubstances such as the histones. When one considers the need for a program to control the behavior of cells, the problem is aggravated. Everyone who has actually set up a sophisticated program for a normal computer will agree, we think, with our experience that the writing of sub-routines is the least part of the job. The hard part lies in the logic of the main program. In the biological case, the enzymes, histones,..., are only the subroutines. The main program remains, and likely enough this is the really awkward part, a part that is probably MUCH LESS likely to be discovered by random processes than the complex biosubstances on which our probability estimates have been based, much less likely than one part in 10^40,000... The theory that life was assembled by an intelligence has, we believe, a probability vastly higher than one part in 10^40,000 of being the correct explanation of the many curious facts discussed earlier. Indeed, such a theory is so obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific.
Interestingly, he believes life was planted by aliens from outer space. Now, when he says "The reasons are psychological rather than scientific", can the same apply to him? He can't bring himself to say the G word, i.e. G-d. He has to say Martians, aliens, despite that he calculated the chance of life happening spontaneously to be "much less than 10^40,000". And this is just for his estimate of the simplest autonomous cell. There are hundreds of thousands of different specialized cells in plants and animals each one building specific sets of proteins, some with exotic cellular systems etc.

Search for Alien Life
The search for extra-terrestrial life reveals an interesting phenomena. Scientists have invested millions of dollars in building giant radio telescopes to scan the heavens hoping to find signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence.

What are they searching for? What would constitute signs of intelligence?

They search for non-random radio signals from space such as prime numbers (1,2,3,5,7..). In other words they are searching for information.

Perry Marshall, an electrical engineer:explains more:
This page you're reading contains letters, words and sentences. It contains a message that means something. As long as you can read English, you can understand what I'm saying. You can do all kinds of things with this message. You can read it on your computer screen. You can print it out on your printer. You can read it out loud to a friend who's in the same room as you are. You can call your friend and read it to her over the telephone... You can forward it to someone via email, or you can post it on some other website.

Regardless of how you copy it or where you send it, the information remains the same. My email contains a message. It contains information in the form of language. The message is independent of the medium it is sent in. Messages are not matter, even though they can be carried by matter (like printing this email on a piece of paper). Messages are not energy even though they can be carried by energy (like the sound of my voice.)

Messages are immaterial. Information is itself a unique kind of entity. It can be stored and transmitted and copied in many forms, but the meaning still stays the same. Messages can be in English, French or Chinese. Or Morse Code. Or mating calls of birds. Or the Internet. Or radio or television. Or computer programs or architect blueprints or stone carvings. Every cell in your body contains a message encoded in DNA, representing a complete plan for you.

OK, so what does this have to do with G-d? It's very simple. Messages, languages, and coded information ONLY come from a mind. A mind that agrees on an alphabet and a meaning of words and sentences. A mind that expresses both desire and intent. Whether I use the simplest possible explanation, such as the one I'm giving you here, or if we analyze language with advanced mathematics and engineering communication theory, we can say this with total confidence:

"Messages, languages and coded information never, ever come from anything else besides a mind. No one has ever produced a single example of a message that did not come from a mind."
...We find DNA is not merely a molecule. Nor is it simply a "pattern." Yes, it contains chemicals and proteins, but those chemicals are arranged to form an intricate language, in the exact same way that English and Chinese and HTML are languages. DNA has a four-letter alphabet, and structures very similar to words, sentences and paragraphs. With very precise instructions and systems that check for errors and correct them. It is formally and scientifically a code. All codes we know the origin of are created by a conscious mind. Hence, DNA was designed by a mind, and language and information are proof of the action of a Superintelligence. End quote. See there for more.
The structure of all life also testifies to a single Superintelligence, for all life on earth is highly related using a common DNA structure.

Another excerpt from one of many excellent papers by Perry Marshall. This one is titled "Information Theory Made Simple":
...Noise introduces uncertainty as to what the original message was. It was originally 1000001 ("A") but the receiver doesn't know that. It might think the message was 1000100 and give you a letter "d" instead.

When Claude Shannon worked out the math, he found something very surprising: The formula for noise in an information system was identical to the formula for entropy in thermodynamics.

Entropy is the irreversible process of useful energy becoming useless energy. The heat coming out of the exhaust pipe in your car is cooler and a whole lot less useful than the heat inside your engine, and that process is irreversible.

All audio engineers know that noise is also irreversible. Once it's in your recording, you can't get it back out. It's in there for good. All you can do is try to disguise it.

Also, noise NEVER improves a signal. There are a few very narrow applications in digital signal processing where noise can be put to good use (i.e. dither and noise shaping) but noise always destroys information. It never creates it.

Shannon measured information in bits, the exact same way that we measure the size of computer files. So one thing that confuses a lot of people is that when you add noise to a signal, it adds bit information to the signal and the signal appears to have more information. In one sense it does - if you add noise to a signal, the signal does contain more data. But you can't separate the noise out of the signal once it's in.

Once your signal is lost it's gone forever.

Also, there is no such thing anywhere in engineering or computer science as a percentage of the time that noise "accidentally" improves a signal.

Nor is there an "optimum" level of noise that you would want in a signal. The ideal amount of noise to have in a signal is ZERO.

Shannon pointed out that the best way to combat noise was through redundancy: Extra letters or numbers in the signal that help you fill in the blanks if there are missing letters... see there for more.

The Elephant in the Room
Here is an excerpt from a lecture [37] by Dr. Michael Behe, professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University:
Imagine a room in which a body lies crushed, flat as a pancake. A dozen detectives crawl around, examining the floor with magnifying glasses for any clue to the identity of the perpetrator. In the middle of the room next to the body stands a large, gray elephant. The detectives carefully avoid bumping into the pachyderm's legs as they crawl, and never even glance at it. Over time the detectives get frustrated with their lack of progress but resolutely press on, looking even more closely at the floor. You see, textbooks say detectives must "get their man," so they never consider elephants.

There is an elephant in the roomful of scientists who are trying to explain the development of life. The elephant is labeled "intelligent design." To a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed. They were designed not by the laws of nature, not by chance and necessity. Rather, they were planned. The designer knew what the systems would look like when they were completed; the designer took steps to bring the systems about. Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity.

The conclusion of intelligent design flows naturally from the data itself, not from sacred books or sectarian beliefs. Inferring that biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent is a humdrum process that requires no new principles of logic or science. It comes simply from the hard work that biochemistry has done over the past forty years, combined with consideration of the way in which we reach conclusions of design every day.

...So as this talk concludes we are left with what many people feel to be a strange conclusion: that life was designed by an intelligent agent. In a way, though, all of the progress of science over the last several hundred years has been a steady march toward the strange.

People up until the middle ages lived in a natural world. The stable earth was at the center of things; the sun, moon, and stars circled endlessly to give light by day and night; the same plants and animals had been known since antiquity. Surprises were few.

Then it was proposed, absurdly, that the earth itself moved, spinning while it circled the sun. No one could feel the earth spinning; no one could see it. But spin it did. From our modern vantage it's hard to realize what an assault on the senses was perpetrated by Copernicus and Galileo; they said in effect that people could no longer rely on even the evidence of their eyes.

Things got steadily worse over the years. With the discovery of fossils it became apparent that the familiar animals of field and forest had not always been on earth; the world had once been inhabited by huge, alien creatures who were now gone. Sometime later Darwin shook the world by arguing that the familiar biota was derived from the bizarre, vanished life over lengths of time incomprehensible to human minds. Einstein told us that space is curved and time is relative. Modern physics says that solid objects are mostly space, that sub atomic particles have no definite position, that the universe had a beginning.

Now it's the turn of the fundamental science of life, modern biochemistry, to disturb. The simplicity that was once expected to be the foundation of life has proven to be a phantom. Instead, systems of horrendous, irreducible complexity inhabit the cell. The resulting realization that life was designed by an intelligence is a shock to us in the twentieth century who have gotten used to thinking of life as the result of simple natural laws. But other centuries have had their shocks and there is no reason to suppose that we should escape them. Humanity has endured as the center of the heavens moved from the earth to beyond the sun, as the history of life expanded to encompass long-dead reptiles, as the eternal universe proved mortal. We will endure the opening of Darwin's black box..."
Dr. Behe writes in his book "Darwin's Black Box" (pg.232):
"Over the past four decades, modern biochemistry has uncovered the secrets of the cell. It has required tens of thousands of people to dedicate the better parts of their lives to the tedious work of the laboratory. The result of these cumulative efforts to investigate the cell, to investigate life at the molecular level-is a loud, clear, piercing cry of "design!". The result is so unambiguous and so significant that it must be ranked as one of the greatest achievements in the history of science... Instead a curious, embarrassed silence surrounds the stark complexity of the cell. Why does the scientific community not greedily embrace its startling discovery? Why is the observation of design handled with intellectual gloves? The dilemma is that while one side of the elephant is labelled intelligent design, the other side must be labelled G-d."

Greetings from The Cosmos
Yet another area where the enormous hand of design appears to be waving to us and saying "hi" is in the very fabric of the cosmos.

Modern discoveries have found that all the Physics, the laws and the values of physical constants, everything seems to fit together just right to produce life and allow us to live. For example, if one of these constants is changed merely by one part in 10^120 (120 decimal places) in either direction, the universe would have collapsed on itself or flew apart so fast that no matter coalesced into stars and planet. If another no elements heavier than helium can form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. If another were slightly out of range stars could not burn or essential elements to life could not be formed in stars. You have to do a bit of research to appreciate the scale of all this but it's huge.

Most scientists reject the idea of a "lucky coincidence" with many speculating instead that there are multiple universes out there. Where these multiple universes exist or how a multi-universe "generator" came into existence, so finely tuned as to produce an array of universes with different characteristics is of course a total mystery. Here is a nice video which summarizes the situation.

Cosmologist Paul Davies said: "These rules look as if they are the product of intelligent design. I do not see how that can be denied." Roger Penrose, considered by many to be one of the greatest scientific mind today, calculated the odds that chance allowed the initial state of the universe and its entropy to be exactly 'right' to allow it to still exist now. His answer was 1 chance in 10^(10^123). i.e. not one followed by 123 zeros, but rather one followed by 10^123 zeros. This number is so ridiculously long that even if one were to put a zero on every atom in the observable universe, it would not be enough to write it out. Yet it is curiously simple and elegant.

Some reactions by scientists:
"A scientific study of the universe has suggested a conclusion which may be summed up . . In the statement that the universe appears to have been designed by a pure mathematician." - Sir James Jeans, The Mysterious Universe p.140

"Curious as that seems, it is a possibility worth weighing-against the only alternative I can imagine: Eddington's suggestion that G-d is a mathematical physicist." George Wald, Fitness in the Universe Origins of Life, Vol. 5, p. 26.

"The symmetries and delicate balances we observe require an extraordinary coherence of conditions and cooperation of laws and effects, suggesting that in some sense they have been purposefully designed" (George Ellis)
In truth it is not only the laws and constants of physics. There is a long and impressive ever growing list of conditions for life in the full spectrum of cosmology, physics, biology, chemistry, geology, etc. that we are discovering.

Scientists originally thought that it doesn't really matter what the physics, biology, chemistry, etc. was. They could take a wide range of properties and values, and things still would be capable of "evolving" complex life forms of some sort.

Instead though, scientists have been surprised to discover that the various rules and quantities must all fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of life-permitting values in order to sustain complex life forms of any sort whatsoever anywhere in the universe. This is what is meant by the "fine tuning" of the universe.

Even more impressive is that all the physics, chemistry, geology etc. appear to be uniquely fit for developing life as it exists on earth. For example, carbon is uniquely fit for complex molecules as needed for cells. Oxygen is uniquely fit for the combustion of hydrocarbons for chemical energy as needed for large beings like us. It also filters harmful radiation from space. Water with its long list of special properties is uniquely fit for life. If the earth were bigger the atmosphere would be toxic, if smaller it would have disappeared (at liquid water temperatures).

We also find signs of absolute brilliance and perfection. For instance water is simultaneously ideally fit for the molecular scale reactions in cells, as well as the large scale needs of bodies, and further to the large scale needs of the atmosphere and eco-system. And the architecture of atoms which forms water's properties is likewise ideally fit for the various other necessities all the way up to the unfolding of the Big Bang. Likewise for oxygen and many others. There are countless circles within circles here.

Another example, the tectonic plate system pushes the earth's crust into hot magma thereby recycling minerals essential to life which were deposited on the bottom of the ocean floor (through rain and rivers). It then spews them back up to land through volcanos. Without this the abundance of life would be severely compromised[38]. Many, many more examples. The more our understanding grows the more it is all pointing that the only possible intelligent being the universe is fit for is none other than a human like creature on a planet like Earth! (see the book "Nature's Destiny" by M. Denton for more details). Here is an interesting interview by him where he discusses a few.

Consider a fish in an aquarium. He was born there. Looking around he notices a glass wall, heaters maintaining a constant water temperature. He notices food being put in daily and air bubbles giving him oxygen and all sorts of other factors promoting his welfare. Indeed the more, he studies the aquarium the more he sees just how finely tuned everything is for his own welfare. This is what is happening to the scientific community.

The situation is reaching crisis proportions as hinted by this 2014 article from "" a physics web site
Numerous features of our universe seem fantastically fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent life. While some physicists still hold out for a "natural" explanation, many others are now coming to grips with the notion that our universe is profoundly unnatural, with no good explanation other than the Anthropic Principle - that the universe is in this exceedingly improbable state, because if it weren't, we wouldn't be here to discuss the fact...
We physicists need to confront the crisis facing us. A scientific theory [the multiverse/ Anthropic Principle/ string theory paradigm] that makes no predictions and therefore is not subject to experiment can never fail, but such a theory can never succeed either, as long as science stands for knowledge gained from rational argument borne out by evidence...

With this backdrop, a growing number of scientists are calling for head-to-head interactions with philosophers...

the Uncertainty Principle
Let us examine one example of the catastrophic consequences that would occur if one quantum mechanical rule were not in proper place - the uncertainty principle. This strange law is a difficult one to grasp in quantum physics. To appreciate its necessity requires some background. This will also give us a tour into some of the fundamental forces in physics. Here is an excerpt of a brilliant introduction to Electrical Forces by Dr. Richard Feynman, one of the greatest physicists of all time (from The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume II, Section 1-1 Electrical Forces used with permission)
Consider a force like gravitation which varies predominantly inversely as the square of the distance, but which is about a billion-billion-billion-billion times stronger. And with another difference. There are two kinds of "matter", which we can call positive and negative. Like kinds repel and unlike kinds attract-unlike gravity where there is only attraction. What would happen?

A bunch of positives would repel with an enormous force and spread out in all directions. A bunch of negatives would do the same. But an evenly mixed bunch of positives and negatives would do something completely different. The opposite pieces would be pulled together by the enormous attractions. The net result would be that the terrific forces would balance themselves out almost perfectly, by forming tight, fine mixtures of the positive and the negative, and between two separate bunches of such mixtures there would be practically no attraction or repulsion at all.

There is such a force: the electrical force. And all matter is a mixture of positive protons and negative electrons which are attracting and repelling with this great force. So perfect is the balance, however, that when you stand near someone else you don't feel any force at all. If there were even a little bit of unbalance you would know it. If you were standing at arm's length from someone and each of you had one percent more electrons than protons, the repelling force would be incredible. How great? Enough to lift the Empire State Building? No! To lift Mount Everest? No! The repulsion would be enough to lift a "weight" equal to that of the entire earth!

With such enormous forces so perfectly balanced in this intimate mixture, it is not hard to understand that matter, trying to keep its positive and negative charges in the finest balance, can have a great stiffness and strength. The Empire State Building, for example, swings less than one inch in the wind because the electrical forces hold every electron and proton more or less in its proper place. On the other hand, if we look at matter on a scale small enough that we see only a few atoms, any small piece will not, usually, have an equal number of positive and negative charges, and so there will be strong residual electrical forces. Even when there are equal numbers of both charges in two neighboring small pieces, there may still be large net electrical forces because the forces between individual charges vary inversely as the square of the distance. A net force can arise if a negative charge of one piece is closer to the positive than to the negative charges of the other piece. The attractive forces can then be larger than the repulsive ones and there can be a net attraction between two small pieces with no excess charges. The force that holds the atoms together, and the chemical forces that hold molecules together, are really electrical forces acting in regions where the balance of charge is not perfect, or where the distances are very small.

You know, of course, that atoms are made with positive protons in the nucleus and with electrons outside. You may ask: "If this electrical force is so terrific, why don't the protons and electrons just collapse on top of each other?"... The answer has to do with the quantum effects. If we try to confine our electrons in a region that is very close to the protons, then according to the Uncertainty Principle they must have some mean square momentum which is larger the more we try to confine them. It is this motion, required by the laws of quantum mechanics, that keeps the electrical attraction from bringing the charges any closer together... (i.e. due to the Uncertainty Principle, electrons are not small objects orbiting the nucleus but rather a sort of wave-particle cloud. It isn't anywhere in particular nor is it at any particular velocity. Though strange, there are very definite mathematical descriptions to go along with these words.)

There is another question: "What holds the nucleus together"? In a nucleus there are several protons, all of which are positive. Why don't they push themselves apart? It turns out that in nuclei there are, in addition to electrical forces, nonelectrical forces, called nuclear forces, which are greater than the electrical forces and which are able to hold the protons together in spite of the electrical repulsion. The nuclear forces, however, have a short range-their force falls off much more rapidly than 1/r^2. And this has an important consequence. If a nucleus has too many protons in it, it gets too big, and it will not stay together. An example is uranium, with 92 protons. The nuclear forces act mainly between each proton (or neutron) and its nearest neighbor, while the electrical forces act over larger distances, giving a repulsion between each proton and all of the others in the nucleus. The more protons in a nucleus, the stronger is the electrical repulsion, until, as in the case of uranium, the balance is so delicate that the nucleus is almost ready to fly apart from the repulsive electrical force. If such a nucleus is just "tapped" lightly (as can be done by sending in a slow neutron), it breaks into two pieces, each with positive charge, and these pieces fly apart by electrical repulsion. The energy which is liberated is the energy of the atomic bomb. This energy is usually called "nuclear" energy, but it is really "electrical" energy released when electrical forces have overcome the attractive nuclear forces.
Hence, without the uncertainty principle, electrons would collapse into protons thus destroying the world. As a physics student, I always had great difficulty understanding what in the world this law of physics was and why is it here. But with the right perspective, one can see that it is necessary for the plan and purpose in the universe.

Anomalous Expansion of Water
Water alone is a mini-universe of amazing properties. Let us examine a bit (based on "Eye of the Needle", Coopersmith). If you ask any physicist, why is it that ice floats? He will tell you it's because the water molecules become denser as they get colder, until they reach 4 degrees above freezing, whereupon the molecules suddenly start to expand and get less dense due to the hydrogen bonds adjusting to hold the negatively charged oxygen atoms apart, creating a crystal lattice.

But why does the physics work that way? Why does water suddenly become lighter when it was previously getting heavier? And your friendly physicist has an explanation for that too. He will say, "Because it's an exception".

We have a different answer. G-d created the laws of physics. Now, G-d may not care if ice floats to the top of your soda cup, but He does care that ice floats to the top of a lake. What would happen if ice sank to the bottom? All plant and animal life in lakes and rivers would die, and when the ice defrosted in spring, the waters would be putrid and vile.

In the oceans, ice would form at the bottom (where it is colder, and summer warmth is harder to get). Such ice would not melt for millennia, creating perma-ice (similar to permafrost). Life would be possible only in shallow layer of water between perma-ice and surface. This layer would be very cold, cooled from the bottom by perma-ice. Needless to say, the consequences of this and more on earth life would be devastating. So G-d says, "I did not make a world to be uninhabited. In the case of ice, I'll just overturn the natural law and make an exception."

see also:
the Fine Tuning of the Universe
Thermodynamic anomalies of water

The Atom
In 1903 there was a convention of physicists, and one of America's greatest physicists, Albert Michelson of the famous Michaelson-Morley Experiment, said physics is over. It's over, it's finished. We know everything we need to know, all that needs to be done is calculate the values to the eighth decimal point or the twelfth decimal point. He discouraged his graduate students from going into physics because it's a dead field. Gosh, it didn't turn out that way, did it?

In 1948 Max Morn said that physics will be finished in six months, because at that time they thought there were only 3 particles: neutrons, electrons and protons. Dirac found the equation for the electron, surely somebody in six months is going to find the equation for the proton and it'll be over. Of course, it didn't turn out that way. Neither for physics nor cosmology, nor biology nor any other field studying the wisdom in nature.[39].

Instead, one of the great observations being revealed by modern science is that the nature of wisdom is the same everywhere. Be it a blade of grass or an ant or an elephant or even an atom, it is all the same character of wisdom. Namely bottomless wisdom, one can spend years and years studying it and never fully understand it.

Today, no physicist would dare assert that our understanding of the universe is near completion. On the contrary, each new discovery seems to unlock a whole new Pandora's box of even bigger, even deeper physics questions[40]. Likewise in biology and all the other branches of natural science.

Though modern scientists continue to assert it is all an accident and no intelligence was involved, they are finding out the hard way just how ridiculously complex each and every thing truly is. Even the "simplest" bacteria turns out to be an intense world of bewildering complexity.

In the atom, we find a different sort of complexity than that of the cell. The cell is essentially a miniaturized city of robot machines, control systems, etc. The atom, however, is complex in a different way. It is not a machine like complexity, but rather a mathematical complexity.

As we probe the realm of the atom, we find things lose their physical identity. The deeper one goes, the more the mathematics takes over. You cannot look at things as tangible "objects" anymore otherwise you will be trapped with contradictions. The tangible identity is gone and all you have left is the husk of an abstract mathematical structure.

Scientists have been trying to probe this mathematical structure, but the further they go, the more it leads them to increasingly difficult ground. Physicist Richard Feynman said in his famous lectures:
"What turns out to be true, is that the more we investigate, the more laws we find, and the deeper we penetrate nature, the more this disease persists. Every one of our laws is a purely mathematical statement in rather complex and abstruse mathematics. Newton's statement of the law of gravity is relatively simple mathematics. It gets more and more abstruse and more and more difficult as we go on. Why? I have not the slightest idea... It is impossible to explain honestly the beauties of the laws of nature in a way people can feel without their having some deep understanding of mathematics... Mathematics is not just a language. It is a tool for reasoning... It is in fact the results of some person's careful thought and reasoning. By mathematics it is possible to connect one statement to another... - The Character of Physical Law, Feynman pg.42
As scientists probe the atom deeper and deeper, they are left to work out increasingly complex mathematical structures. Likewise, for other physical structures such as the fabric of spacetime. Even vacuum (empty) space turns out to be a ridiculously complex interaction of n-dimensional fields of mind-boggling mathematics.

A physicists describes the current state of affairs regarding the proton[38]:
One of the more confusing things about quantum fields is that they react differently depending on how they are observed. The way we observe protons is by hitting them with other high-energy particles in a particle accelerator and seeing what comes out. In a slow collision, with very little energy involved, the proton acts like a single point particle. If we give the particles slightly more energy, the proton looks more like a blob with three points in it --- these are the three quarks of common knowledge... If we give the colliding particles even more and more energy, the proton will appear to be an ever-more-dense amalgamation of all sorts of particles: quarks, antiquarks, gluons, photons, electrons, and everything else. We call these particle partons (because they're part of the proton)...
The tantalizing paradox in nature is that things appear so childishly simple at first. As mentioned earlier, the scientists thought matter was not so complicated. Only 3 particles right? And neutrons don't affect the properties of materials significantly. They are there to stabilize the atom. So really everything, all matter, is determined by only two particles - protons and electrons. That's it!

But herein lies the paradox. Consider for a moment that we are civil engineers charged with the task of building a giant skyscraper. How many different types of materials will we need to build it? We'll need various cements, metal beams, floor tiles, strong cables, ventilation shafts, electronics and wiring for the electrical systems, etc. etc. Quite a long list of materials. What if I were to tell you, I can build it all with a special super material. It has great flexibility and can be used for everything.

Now consider that all matter on earth, consists of atoms. The trees and flowers and animals and birds, the sea and clouds and sky and even stars - everything. Now consider that the properties of atoms are determined primarily by two particles - protons and electrons. Everything we see can be built by merely two particles - protons and electrons. These two "simple" structures which are the same everywhere, are so incredibly flexible that they can be used to build every thing in the universe! Do you not see the brilliant underlying wisdom here?!

Indeed the more one studies these "basic" particles, the more he will discover worlds of complexity. The proton and electron are intense worlds of mathematical complexity. Yet they appear at first tantalizingly simple. Drawing the scientists along with elegantly simple mathematical equations.

Likewise, for the laws of physics that govern them. Gravity appears simple at first. It just pulls things together. So it appears quite simple and machine like. "Something" is pulling things together. That's all. But as one probes deeper the laws of physics, here too it begins harder and harder to explain it in terms of machine-like, cause/effect phenomena. It seems more and more that mathematics takes over and that there is some sort of "over-all Intelligence" keeping track of everything.

For example, in quantum mechanics an unobserved photon exists in all possible states simultaneously but, when observed or measured, exhibits only one state. The act of observing it by a human affects the physical reality.

Another example, "entangled particles" such as electrons or photons remain connected so that actions performed on one electron affects the other electron, even when the two are separated by hundreds of miles or even more.

The phenomenon so riled Albert Einstein that he called it "spooky action at a distance." According to his theory of special relativity, this weird behavior was impossible since the particles "communicate" with each other faster than the speed of light or even instantly. Several studies have now confirmed that, no matter how far apart entangled particles are, how fast one particle is measured, or how many times particles are measured, their states become inextricably linked once they are measured[41].

All this weirdness and spookiness disappears once you realize that nature is not a machine running on its own, with its own independent existence, but rather that there is an over-all Intelligence behind it all and keeping track of everything.

Indeed, Max Planck, a key founder of the quantum theory and one of the most important physicists of the twentieth century, said:
"As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter".
As scientists probed the atom further, the "simple" shell peeled off and they were left with this mind boggling mathematical structure of boundless depth. As mentioned before, mathematics is not "real". It is essentially a language of thought. This is what led Max Planck to conclude there must be a "conscious and intelligent Mind" behind it all.

Interestingly even in abstract mathematics, we find these weird inexplicable connections between seemingly totally unrelated things. For instance Euler's formula which relates 5 of math's very important numbers into one beautifully simple equation. Mathematicians still marvel at it; many considering to be the most beautiful equation in mathematics. It's just too coincidental to be a coincidence. All this perfection and wisdom points that it is the work of an absolute Intelligence. See here interesting words by a school math teacher. Here is an excerpt:
I read a stat one time that said that a mathematician is 2.5 times more likely to believe in G-d than a biologist. No idea how legit that stat is at all but I can totally believe that. Math to me is like an exploration of creation. Of the Divine. It's all theoretical and abstract. You really spend your time thinking in this absolute truth mindset. You think a lot about infinity and complexities beyond your understanding. You get to practice trying to understanding something which you can never fully understand. To me math and G-d are so intertwined. G-d made math and in math I can learn about how G-d works. Every time you go a little deeper into the math it's like you get a tiny glimpse into His mind. And the more you learn, the more you realize there's so much more you'll never understand...
She ends off with a quote from Mike Roshko, a mathematician of the University of Alberta:
For me, it's amazing the way in which the seemingly different areas of mathematics fit together. When you begin studying advanced math, you tend to think of geometry, algebra, analysis and so on as separate entities, each beautiful and elegant on its own.

But as you go on, you realize that these different areas are connected in the most astonishing yet natural ways. You may discover that what you thought of as purely a part of geometry turns out to be an essential part of algebra. And what we're dealing with is not just something we've made up. It's a reality. It's there.

And it all intertwines and works so perfectly, so beautifully, that you realize that Somebody or Something must have done this. It simply could not have happened by chance. It's a kind of revelation, I guess. And it's very convincing." (see there for more)

Center of the Universe
One of the greatest shocks to humanity was the discovery that our earth is not the center of the universe. For millenia it was believed that the sun, stars, etc. all revolved around the earth and that we were at the center of this magnificent realm. Human beings were the crown and purpose of creation. But Modern science had shattered this belief after discovering that we are a mere puff of dust lost in the Milky Way galaxy which itself is a mere grain of sand in this vast universe.

But as our understanding increased, woe and behold, it is becoming increasingly evident that planet earth is indeed the center of the universe, at least from a plan and purpose perspective.

Indeed, as our knowledge of astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, information technology, etc. etc. increases it is all pointing more and more that the only kind of intelligent being the Universe can sustain is none other than a human-like creature on a planet like Earth!

Let us explain a tiny bit. Fasten your seat belts and prepare for perhaps the most spectacular display of divine power and wisdom in the entire history of the Cosmos.

As scientists' understanding of the cosmos increased, it was found that all galaxies appeared to be receding from each other. Indeed space itself was found to be expanding carrying the galaxies along with it. This and other discoveries eventually led to the inference that as we went back in time everything including space shrinked closer and closer together, eventually reaching point of singularity where space, time, etc. all expanded out from a single point (Big Bang).

Let us trace scientifically the chronology of this unfolding of events.

The predictive power of science depends on knowing the initial conditions and the laws of physics. So for instance, if we see the trajectory of an arrow, we can infer from this the tension of the bow string used to launch it and the angle it was shot at (initial conditions). From this we can also predict where it will land given the gravitational force and wind speed.

Well, scientists did the same thing with the universe as a whole. Applying the known laws of physics and the initial conditions of mass and energy based on what we can observe today. The result was surprising beyond belief.

Birth of the Atom
At Time Zero: Whatever scientists say here is pure speculation which cannot be tested. The Big Bang was not an explosion, dispersing matter in all directions as many people believe. Rather, it was the creation of space and its subsequent expansion. This also included time and the very laws of physics. Hence, we really cannot say anything meaningful here. It is beyond the realm of scientific inquiry.

The events that may be talked about by physics start at 10^-43 seconds, which is the smallest unit of time. This kernel or initial seed of the universe consisted of extremely precise conditions and quantities.

At this point, the temperature of the universe was about 10^32 degrees Kelvin. Little is understood about physics at this temperature. The four fundamental forces of physics had not yet formed.

The next milestone is 10^-36 seconds. As the temperature of the universe cooled, the fundamental forces of physics began to form and separate. The force of gravity forms and separates and the earliest elementary particles and antiparticles begin to take shape.

As the strong nuclear force separates from the other two (weak nuclear and electromagnetic), large numbers of exotic particles including W and Z bosons and Higgs bosons forms. The Higgs field slows particles down and confers mass on them allowing a universe made entirely of radiation to support things that have mass.

Around 10^-12-10^-6 seconds, the universe cools to below 10 quadrillion degrees. The forces of gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces assume their present form. Quarks, electrons, neutrinos (and their anti-particles) form in large numbers but the temperature is still too high to allow them to bind together (to form protons and neutrons).

The Quarks and antiquarks annihilate each other producing energy. But a slight surplus of 1 extra quark per 1 billion pairs quark-antiquark pair allows just enough quarks to survive which will ultimately combine to form protons and neutrons.

Around 10^-6 second, the quark plasma cools until they can begin to bind together. At this point the temperature has cooled to about 10^13 degrees.

Around 10^-1 second, The binding of quarks and other particles allows particles like protons and neutrons which will form the nucleus of the atom to begin to form. Electrons colliding with protons in these extreme conditions begin to fuse to form neutrons.

Not even one second has passed so far from time=0. By now, the particles composing the nucleus of the atom, the protons and neutrons (Hadrons), have started to form along with their anti-particles. Fortunately there is a surplus of particles over anti-particles.

All these particles were formed through an extremely precise sequence of events, every detail of which rests on highly delicate balances, and all spanning a time span of less than a second!

1 Second to 3 minutes, after the majority (but not all) of the particle/anti-particle pairs (of protons, neutrons) annihilate each other, leptons (ex. electrons) and antileptons (ex. anti-electron, i.e. positrons) collide and annihilate each other releasing energy in the form of photons. Colliding photons in turn create more electron-positron pairs.

From 3 minutes to 20 minutes, the temperature of the universe is about a billion degrees. Atomic nuclei begin to form as protons and neutrons combine through nuclear fusion. Free neutrons combine with protons to form hydrogen (Deuterium). Deuterium rapidly fuses into helium. This process lasts only for about 17 minutes since the temperature and density of the universe has fallen to the point where nuclear fusion cannot continue further. This brief fusion period of 17 minutes will be useful later. By this time, all neutrons have been incorporated into helium nuclei. This leaves about three times more hydrogen than helium and only trace quantities of Lithium.

From 3 minutes to 240,000 years. During this long period of gradual cooling, the universe is filled with plasma, a hot soup of atomic nuclei end electrons. After most particle/antiparticle pairs annihilated each other, the energy of the universe is dominated by photons which continue to interact frequently with the charged protons, electrons, and nuclei.

240,000 to 300,000 years - as the universe continues to expand, its temperature and density continues to fall. As the temperate of the universe falls to around 3,000 degrees (about the same as the surface of the sun), ionized hydrogen and helium atoms capture electrons (recombination) thus neutralizing their electric charge.

With the electrons now bound to atoms, the photons' average free path becomes effectively infinite and the photons can now travel freely. The universe has become transparent. At this point, the universe consists of a fog of about 75% hydrogen and 25% helium with small traces of lithium.

300,000 to 150 million years, at this time, the universe is dark with no stars having formed to give off light.

150 million to 1 billion years - the first stars and quasars form from gravitational attraction. As the star accumulates mass, the gravitational force crushes hydrogen atoms through the process of thermonuclear fusion them to form helium. Fortunately, the process does not end there.

Two helium atoms combine to form Berylium which combine further with another helium atom to form Carbon, the backbone element for all life. This process is known as the triple-alpha process. One of a long and impressive list of "coincidences" since the Big Bang. The Berylium ground state has almost exactly the energy of two alpha particles. This creates a special resonance to make it possible for beryllium and helium to form Carbon.

The nuclear process continues in stars to produce elements all the way up to the element of Iron (#26) along the periodic table. The star is essentially a atomic element factory.

Due to energy limitations the stellar nucleosynthesis can only go up to the element of Iron.

Now, scientists have identified 19 elements absolutely essential for life [42]. For example, iron is needed for blood transport, copper is needed for certain essential enzymes to catalyze a number of body functions, zinc is a component of digestive enzymes, iodine is needed for regulatory body functions and metabolism, etc.

So where do these other elements beyond iron come from? Where does the high energy to go beyond iron come from? Well, as the super massive star burns itself out, eventually it leaves a core of iron. The star then begins to collapse under its own gravity under tremendously powerful gravitational force. The outer elements of the star crash into the iron core in an extremely violent super-explosion called a Supernova. The massive explosion shines with the power of about 10 Billion suns! [43] (fortunately, such an explosion has not occurred near us, for then our solar system would be bathed with lethal radiation).

This special stellar explosion flickers just the right amount and intensity to seed the universe with the higher elements needed for life.

A nearby cloud of gas and dust was disturbed by the explosion. The explosion made collisions and waves in space which squeezed the cloud of gas and dust. This squeezing made the cloud start to collapse, as gravity pulled the gas and dust together.

Eventually, the cloud grew hotter and denser in the center, with a disk of gas and dust surrounding it that was hot in the center but cool at the edges. As the disk got thinner and thinner, particles began to stick together and form clumps. Some clumps got bigger, as particles and small clumps stuck to them, eventually forming planets or moons. Near the center of the cloud, where planets like Earth formed, only rocky material could stand the great heat. Icy matter settled in the outer regions of the disk along with rocky material, where the giant planets like Jupiter formed. As the cloud continued to fall in, the center eventually got so hot that it triggered thermonuclear fusion and became a star, the Sun, and blew most of the gas and dust of the new solar system with a strong stellar wind.

A massive collision with the early Earth hurls debris into space. This debri forms the Moon. (The Moon will later provide a night light and a way to measure months of the year to humans. Interestingly, the moon also appears the same size as the sun. Although it is 400 times further away than the sun it is also about 400 times smaller. This will also discourage worship of the sun. As the moon is the same size and also dims the sun on occasion during solar eclipses.)

The collision also knocks the earth into a circular orbit around the sun and gives it a 23 degree tilt. If the earth's orbit were elliptical it would all freeze in winter and fry in summer. Instead, the earth's circular orbit creates little variation in the overall climate of the Earth. The earth's 23 degree tilt is just right for the seasonal cycle. The seasonal cycle is significant to humans for many reasons such as agricultural and for granting a sense of renewal every year. If the earth's tilt were greater, huge parts of earth would have a day/night cycle of 1 year instead of 24 hours.

While all this is going on, other planets in the solar system form. The huge planet Jupiter forms at just the right distance from earth. Jupiter is the solar system's vacuum cleaner. Without a planet of this size near Earth, we would have been pelted continuously with large meteorites and according to many, life on earth would have been impossible. The solar system also forms just far enough away from other stars that their gravitational fields do no destabilize the planets' orbits.

The solar system's position at the edge of the Milky Way galaxy allows us to gaze out at distant galaxies and obtain knowledge of the overall structure of the Cosmos. Were we at the center of the galaxy instead of the rim, we would have had absolutely no idea of anything beyond our galaxy.

The early earth appears like a vision of hell, all scalding rock and choking fumes. Volcanoes are everywhere spewing out noxious fumes along with water vapors. As the temperature cooled, the water vapors would rain down and form the oceans.

The hydrogen, helium and other hydrogen-containing gases from early Earth are too light to remain in the earth's gravity. They all escape the earth's atmosphere and into outer space. As soon as the conditions are right, photosynthetic organisms suddenly appear and begin to break down the noxious fumes to produce oxygen. They feed off atmospheric carbon dioxide and convert much of it into marine sediments which would comprise the shells of sea creatures[44].

Once oxygen had been produced, ultraviolet light split the molecules, producing the ozone UV shield as a by-product. At this point, terrestrial creatures appear and life outside the oceans flourishes. Giant dinosaurs literally explode onto the scene. After some period they disappear and mammalian life suddenly comes onto the scene...

Let us briefly look at some of the delicate balances that occurred till now. Here are a few points, some are from a lecture by Dr. Harold Gans.

Consider the Big Bang at the beginning of this story.

It turns out that if the Big Bang were weaker, you wouldn't have an explosion but a yo-yo effect because the explosion wasn't strong enough to overcome gravity and the whole thing would have collapsed back into itself.

What about if the Big Bang were stronger? Then, everything would fly apart so fast that it would all just disperse and never have time to form stars and planet. You'd just have a stream of energy and particles thinning out into space.

How much can we change the power of the Big Bang so that the universe can form stars and planets? Well it turns out, if it is changed by a factor of 10^-120 in either direction, then there's no universe capable of forming stars and planets. In other words if the expansion rate were off by a factor of:
in either direction then we wouldn't have a universe capable of supporting life of any kind.

Let's look at something else. The initial entropy of the universe. This was calculated by Dr. Roger Penrose to have odds of 1/10^10^123 to be random (i.e. not 1 followed by 123 zeros but 1 followed by 10^123 zeros. Cute number don't you think?).

This kind of mathematical acrobatics is so ridiculously mind boggling! Think for a moment all of our supercomputers together processing for trillions and trillions of years could still not get anywhere near to computing these sorts of mathematical precisions. Indeed Penrose points out that we cannot even write down this number. Even if we were to put a zero on every atom in the universe, we would fall short of writing it down.

The initial entropy just means why isn't everything just black holes[45]? Considering the universe were so closely packed together, there had to be an extremely precise arrangement so that all matter did not simply collapse into black holes.

On the other hand, if everything were perfectly uniform, so that the force of gravity is exactly the same everywhere, then you will never have any gravity in any one place to begin collecting atoms into one place to form a star.

So you would just have a completely uniform haze of electrons, protons, neutrons, etc. dispersing and thinning out. You may have atoms but you wouldn't have any stars because the force of gravity would be exactly the same in all directions.

Hence, it cannot be perfectly uniform and must contain some ripples. How big can the ripples be? It turns out they can't be very big. Because if the ripple is too big, there's too much mass in some places, what happens is the gravity is so powerful (in the early super-dense universe) it attracts everything there and it collapses into a black hole. So you end up with a universe of black holes. No suns, no carbon, nothing.

So the ripples have to be very finely adjusted. It turns out the wrinkles have to be adjusted so finely, they're so small, that if you were to put them on the size of an orange, it would look perfectly smooth to you. You'd need an extremely powerful microscope before you'd even begin to discern that there were wrinkles there. That's how small they have to be.

To quote Dr. Penrose: "the second law of thermodynamics says that entropy can only increase, so if the early universe had been in a state of maximum entropy, then the cosmos would have experienced its heat death immediately after being born. This contradicts the observation that the present universe contains burning stars, heat engines, and life. These observations imply that the early universe was in a very low-entropy state, which shows that its initial conditions were extremely finely tuned. The reasons for this fine-tuning are not explained by general relativity or the standard model. Adding Inflation to the model does not cure this fine-tuning problem.[46]

Another example of mysterious order is in the rotation of the cosmos. French cosmologist Hubert Reeves writes in his book "Latest News from the Cosmos":
Does the universe rotate? Observation of the galaxies give no indication of any rotation of the cosmos. Study of the cosmic background radiation emitted by particles some 15 billion light years away allow us to see very far. A rotation of the Cosmos would be manifested in variation of its intensity along the axis of rotation. Measurements by the COBE satellite confirm absence of any measurable rotation of the Cosmos.. Why does the Universe rotate so little (if any)? Nothing in the Big Bang theory specifies what should be the state of rotation of the Universe in its distant past. Another ancient enigma.
Why is the universe so vast? Why the need for so many galaxies, stars and matter, if the fruit of this vast tree is man on earth?

Here is some interesting findings brought by Dr. Michael Denton in his book Nature's Destiny (pg.255):
Inertia is the name we give to the property of things to resist a change in velocity. An undisturbed body remains at rest and requires the exertion of a force to impart motion to it. A moving car requires force to slow it down or to make it change direction. Like gravity inertial forces are related to mass. It requires more force to make a large object move or change the direction of its motion that for a small object. The wind may set a feather in motion but not a boulder. If inertia had been less, then the wind could well have set a boulder in motion. In such a world we would be subjected to a continual bombardment by all types of objects in our environment.

However if inertia had been much greater, then unless the strength of muscles was much greater, we would have profound difficulty even in starting to move our finger. And once in motion, control of its direction and speed would be next to impossible. It is clear that the inertia of matter must be very close to what it is for an animal of our size to function in an environment similar to the earth's. Extraordinary as it seems, physicists have proposed that the inertial forces experienced by objects on the earth are generated by the total combined gravitational attraction of all matter in the cosmos, including the most distant stars and galaxies. Because most of the matter in the universe is far from the earth, this means that the greatest contribution to the inertia of objects on earth is made by the most distant galaxies. As Dennis Sciama comments in his "Unity of the Universe":
The idea that distant matter can sometimes have far more influence than nearby matter may be an unfamiliar one. To make it more concrete, we may give a numerical estimate of the influence of nearby objects in determining the inertia of bodies on the earth: of this inertia, the whole of the Milky Way only contributes one ten-millionth, the sun one hundred-millionth, and the earth itself one thousand-millionth... In fact 80 percent of the inertia of local matter arises from the influence of galaxies too distant to be detected by the 200-inch telescope. ("Unity of the Universe", London Faber, pp.118-119)
In a very real sense, then the existence of beings of our size and mass with the ability to stand, to move, and to light a fire is only possible because of the influence of the most distant galaxies, whose collective mass determines the precise strength of the inertial forces on earth. If this view is correct, then it means our existence is critically dependent on both the mass of the earth and the total mass of the universe being very close to what they are. There is a distinct echo in these curious coincidences of the old medieval doctrine of man in the microcosm, which held that the dimensions of the human body reflect in some profound sense the dimensions of the macrocosm.(Nature's Destiny - Michael Denton pg.255)
Hence even the total mass of the Universe was finely tuned. The size also had to be what it is for as before the expansion of the Big Bang depended on the ratio of gravity to energy density to a tuning of at least 120 decimal places. If the energy density (which would later become matter) were greater, it would have all collapsed back together long ago in a Big Crunch. And, if gravity were weaker, stars could not form or they would not burn hot enough to produce the elements of life as above or the implosion of supernovas would not be strong enough etc, etc.

There are many other interesting "coincidences" such as the Horizon problem, and many others. We find the laws of physics are the same everywhere in the universe. Similarly the background-radiation is the same in every direction. This is puzzling given that opposite areas of the Universe lost contact with each other in the earliest beginnings of the Big Bang. This is another mysterious sign of Order in the early Universe.

It should be noted that there is evidence against the Big Bang, namely, evidence for the "Steady State" of the Universe. For example, as mentioned, the cosmic background radiation is almost exactly the same in every direction of the sky. Even though different areas of the sky lost all contact with each other within the first second of the Big Bang, nevertheless, they are still uniform in every way. Likewise, the laws of physics are exactly the same everywhere, etc. This puzzle is known as the Horizon problem. Another sign as mentioned is the lack of rotation of the Universe.

There are other indications of Steady State of the Universe. Perhaps this is all part of the system of paradoxes permeating nature. Other examples of paradoxes in nature abound. For example, on the one hand, there is vast bottomless wisdom in everything, even the simplest bacteria or even a mere electron or proton can be studied endlessly by all of humanity combined. On the other hand, we can't see any Intelligence anywhere. Another example, is that there is evidence the earth is billions of years old. At the same time, there is evidence it is much younger.

Many more examples like this. What is the answer to all these myriad paradoxes? Free will. G-d told us the right answer in the Torah. This is what we are supposed to trust.

see also: Signature of G-d by Harold Gans

other sources:
Nature's Destiny by Dr. Michael Denton, for the fine tuning of the laws of biology. MUST READ.

the Light is Good
Let us look at a few of many coincidences which have come to light in our times.

For a little background. The light we see consists of electromagnetic waves which are synchronized oscillations of electric and magnetic fields that propagate at the speed of light.

These waves are similar to sound waves which we hear. Sound waves are generated by vibrating material which creates pressure waves in the air and are detected by your ear drums. A piano for instance has different length strings which produce different frequency sound waves. Higher frequency sound waves have a higher pitch. Likewise, your vocal chords vibrate producing sound waves of different pitch.

Similarly, electromagnetic waves are produced by accelerations of charged particles such as electrons. Analogous to sound, the EM waves can have a wide range of frequencies. For example, radio waves used to broadcast music have wavelengths of several kilometers. Visible light waves have a much smaller wavelength on the order of 1 micron (1 millionth of a meter). X-rays used by doctors have smaller still, and the smallest wavelengths in the cosmos, Gamma Rays, can have wavelengths as small as 10^-20 meters such as those emitted by binary stars.

Thus in the cosmos, we have an enormous range of frequencies in the spectrum of electromagnetic waves spanning a factor of about 10^23, a huge number indeed.

It turns out, all matter emits radiation in proportion to its temperature. The movement of atoms due to heat temperature produces accelerations of particles which emit electromagnetic radiation. The higher the temperature, the higher frequency radiation is emitted.

Thus armies use special infrared cameras to see people at night. For at the temperature of body heat, infrared radiation is emitted which is detected by the cameras. If you heat something hot enough, it will eventually emit radiation in the visible range and appears glowing to the human eye. At roughly 600 degrees celsius, it will glow deep red like a cigarette. At 1,100 degrees, it will appear orange-yellow like a candle flame.

Now, the surface temperature of the sun is about 5800 degrees celsius while its core is around 27 million degrees. It emits electromagnetic radiation across most of the electromagnetic spectrum. Although the Sun produces lethal Gamma rays as a result of the nuclear-fusion process, internal absorption and thermalization convert these super-high-energy photons to lower-energy photons before they reach the Sun's surface and are emitted out into space.

Thus it turns out that about 70 percent of all of the sun's radiant energy output is concentrated in a slice of the spectrum from the near infrared (1.5 microns), through visible light to the near ultra-violet (0.3 micron).

This is a mere tiny slice of the electromagnetic spectrum in the cosmos. Something like picking a 1 out of 10^22, or about a single drop in the ocean of the spectral range.

This tiny slice is the only useful one for life on our planet as most other electromagnetic radiation is inherently either lethal to life or damaging. Radiation in the gamma ray to x-ray all the way down to ultraviolet is all harmful to life.

This is because the protein molecules essential to life are intricately folded and hinge on the edge of chaos. The internal machinery of the cell needs to be stable enough to function, yet pliable enough to change readily such as in unraveling DNA for reading and copying.

Thus the cell machinery is very delicate. Any break in their bonds can unravel the whole structure rendering it useless. This is why higher energy radiation damages is harmful to life. The photon energy acts like a machine gun on the cell's delicate machinery.

Lower energy EM Radiation such as in the radio region just passes through matter without almost no effect due to its low energy. This is why you can get radio reception inside the walls of your house, while visible light cannot pass through walls. So too higher up, until one gets to infrared frequency.

Only when the frequency reaches the threshold of infrared and light region does it interact gently enough with matter to be useful to life. Due to quantum mechanical rules, a threshold energy must be reached before the radiation has enough energy to interact with matter such as accelerating and raising an electron to a higher orbital causing interesting things to happen.

Likewise, the near infrared radiation has just the right threshold energy to interact with atoms causing them to vibrate, thus imparting energy in the form of heat. Without heat from the sun, we would not be happy campers.

It is thus highly significant that the sun's radiant energy is compacted mostly in the tiny band of the infrared-visible spectrum useful to life and almost none in those regions harmful to life.

Now, all this radiation from the sun would be useless if the atmosphere reflected it out to outer space or just absorbed it before it could reach the surface. Fortunately, the combination of gases in our atmosphere transmits 80% of the sun's radiation in the visible and near infrared. If air were more opaque to light like clouds, it would obviously impair our ability to see things.

Furthermore, the earth's atmosphere also conveniently filters out virtually all of the electromagnetic radiation outside the band useful to life. Thus, almost no radiation in the gamma, x-ray, ultraviolet, far-infrared and microwave radiation reaches the surface of the earth.

Next, another filter in the form of water comes into play. Water is opaque to nearly all electromagnetic wavelengths except light in the visible spectrum. i.e. water is transparent only to visible light. All the rest except for radio waves gets blocked out by water. Even far ultraviolet and infrared radiation only penetrate a fraction of a millimeter below the surface of water. The only region of the spectrum which penetrates water is the small band of light useful for photosynthesis and visible light.

This is obviously significant to life on Earth. Not only for ocean life, but also to land plants, as the sunlight inevitably needs to penetrate a thin layer of water before it can reach the machinery of the cell for photosynthesis.

Likewise, the low penetration of infrared radiation in water causes the upper layer of the oceans to absorb the sun's heat. This aids to transfer the sun's heat to the air and winds and stabilizes the temperature of the atmosphere. It also prevents freezing of the upper layer of water which is significant as ice floats.

To summarize:
* The sun's radiant output is almost entirely in the spectrum useful for life (the near infrared and visible light region) and almost none in the spectrum harmful to life.

* The infrared region is just the right frequency to transmit heat through electromagnetic radiation.

* The visible light region is just the right frequency for photosynthesis and is weak enough not to be harmful to molecular machinery of the cell.

* The atmosphere passes through only this same narrow range of spectrum.

* Water is transparent to this same narrow range and blocks the spectrum outside this range.

There is much more to talk about here. For example, the spectrum of visible light is also perfectly fit for the high resolution camera type eye of the design and dimension of creatures of our size. We could go on and on in this fascinating topic. For further reading, see the book Nature's Destiny by Dr.Michael Denton.

the Mask of Nature
Rabeinu Bachye explains in the Duties of the Heart, Shaar Yichud[47] the Torah perspective when observing nature:
When we contemplate the world, it will become apparent that - it is the design of one Thinker, and the work of one Creator. We find its roots and foundations to be similar in its derivatives and equal in its parts, and the signs of wisdom manifested in the smallest of the creatures as well as the biggest testify that they are the work of one Wisdom. If this world had more than one Creator, the form of wisdom would be incongruent in the different parts of the world, and change in its general nature and parts.

Furthermore, we find that it is interdependent for its maintenance and welfare, no part is completed without the help of another part, like the links in a coat of armor, the parts of a bed, the limbs of the human body, or other things which have interdependent parts for their functioning.

Can you see that the moon and the planets need the light of the sun, and the earth needs the sky and the water, and that the animals need each other, and some species feed on other species such as predatory birds, fish, and beasts of the forest - all need each other? And Man's need for everything, and the rectification of everything through man (man gives a higher purpose to everything)...

And the Divine wisdom appears in the tiny creatures as well as the large ones, because the wisdom manifested in the formation of an elephant, despite its huge body, is no more wondrous than the wisdom manifested in the formation of a tiny ant. On the contrary, the smaller the creature the more wisdom and power it appears to reflect, and the more it testifies to the wondrous ability of the Creator.

This teaches that they are all the design of one Designer and Creator, since they are similar and alike in furthering and completing the natural order and maintenance of the world in all of its parts. If there were more than one Creator, the form of wisdom exhibited would be different in some of its parts, and things would not be interdependent. Since the world, despite its being different in its roots and foundations, it is equal in its derivatives and compounds, one can see that its Creator who put it together, its Governor, and Designer is one.
This is what one is supposed to see in nature. The truth is this Divine wisdom is manifest even in the tiniest segment of empty space as the Nobel prize winning physicist Richard Feynman noted (from his book: The Character of Physical Law - Chapter 2 - the relation of mathematics to physics):
"It always bothers me that according to the laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out what goes on in no matter how tiny a region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time. How can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one tiny piece of space/time is going to do? So I have often made the hypothesis ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement, that in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the chequer board with all its apparent complexities. But this is just speculation."
If this is so for even the tiniest speck of vacuum space. How much more so, for an electron, or beyond to living organism, whose design is perfectly coordinated from the atomic level up - it all gently points to a single Creator, of infinite wisdom, power, and ability who designed them (and the laws of physics to go with them).

When I was a physics student in university, a certain student wondered in amazement "how does nature solve all the differential equations?" He was puzzled by the mind-boggling complexity of the mathematics involved in nature. For when one studies physics, he quickly runs into extremely complicated mathematics and must make simplified models and approximations otherwise it would be impossible to calculate anything whatsoever.

The answer to his question is that nature is not a mathematical machine running on its own. Rather, it is the handiwork of G-d. He is the one constantly calculating the infinite mathematical equations. Nature is a miracle in disguise. Our purpose in this world is to use our rational faculties to see through this mask.

Distinction Between Human Wisdom and Divine Wisdom
The distinction between human wisdom and divine wisdom is as follows. A human-engineered contraption can be fully understood by us. We can trace it back, study it, reverse-engineer it and eventually understand it fully. No questions remain. The divine wisdom, however, is bottomless. It can never be fully understood by us. Sure, we can delve into it and study it deeper and deeper, but every door we unlock will reveal new locked doors. It is a bottomless wisdom. The more we know, the more we realize just how much more there is to know. Physicists for example had a noble quest to probe the atom, hoping to unlock the nature of reality. They thought they could reach an end, a final understanding. But the more they probed the more exotic the particles they discovered, and the more elusive and distant were they from an understanding of reality. The laws of physics become increasingly strange, the mathematical wisdom increasingly deep. Until just the opposite happened - the mystery only grew. The same can be said for the cell. New discoveries about the cell's incredible machinery continue to mount [48]. Despite all of our research, our knowledge of how the cell works is merely a tiny drop in the ocean and even less than this. For it is of a different "kind" of wisdom than ours - an infinite, bottomless wisdom.

The Ramchal writes in "the Knowing Heart" (section 54):
You should know that all of G-d's works are awesome, infinitely broad and deep. This is [the meaning of] "how great are Your works O, G-d" (Ps. 92:6). The least of His works contains such degree of wisdom, in quantity and depth, that it is impossible for us to ever fully grasp it. This is [the meaning of the second half of the verse:] "Your thoughts are exceedingly deep" (ibid). We can only grasp the superficial surface of the works of G-d...
Likewise, the Rambam wrote:
When a person contemplates G-d's great and wondrous deeds and creations, and he observes through them His infinite wisdom which surpasses all comparison, he will immediately love, praise, and glorify Him, yearn with tremendous desire to know [G-d's] great name, as David stated: "My soul thirsts for the L-rd, for the living G-d" [Psalms 42:3].

When he [continues] to reflect on these matters, he will immediately recoil in awe and fear, knowing how he is a tiny, lowly, and dark creature, standing with his flimsy, limited, wisdom before He who is of perfect knowledge, as David stated: "When I see Your heavens, the work of Your fingers... [I wonder] what is man that You should recall Him" [Psalms 8:4-5]. (Mishne Torah, Yesodei Torah ch.2)

the Nature of Reality
Let us touch a tiny bit on the spiritual dimension of life.

There is something more real and more fundamental than the physical, namely, "life". Life is the underlying essence of everything, and it is what grants existence to physical matter and animates the bodies of all living creatures through infusing the available physical means.

Both need each other mutually. The soul of life needs the physical body to reveal its ability to vivify it and the body needs the soul to be alive. It is a mutual two-way road that each needs the other. But the entire image and essence, the existence of reality is life and life is the existence of reality. The reality is a reflection of life and the LIFE is the ONLY reality - there is nothing else.

Hence, the underlying reality is not the physical, not atoms, not subatomic particles, not energy - it is life. Life is the underlying reality. (Rabbi Omer Furmanski).

This "life" originates from G-d. He is life in its absolutely true, absolutely real, most fundamental form. He is the underlying reality, the underlying essence of everything. Hence, throughout the Torah, G-d is called the "living G-d" (Jer. 10:10), in that He is the true reality - eternal life, and the underlying source of all life - "You grant life to all things" (Nech. 9:6).

This reality of G-d is concealed to varying degrees. The highest level of concealment is in inanimate objects. Atoms, physical light, energy, laws of physics, etc. These are total concealment of the Source of life. Thus, they follow cause/effect rules which are predictable and always do the same thing. They appear to be machine-like.

The next level up is in plant forms. This includes all living things without will. Here, the machine analogy begins to break down. There is simply too much going on. The effect (plant) exceeds the powers of the cause (seed). Something else is involved here. The divine manifestation begins to be noticeable.

Further up is animals with their mysterious powers of awareness, another higher form of "life". Finally we reach human beings with their vast intelligence and free will.

Hence, when one looks at a tree, if he is sensitive enough, he can sense and detect a certain "soul" to it. It grows. All of us working together couldn't create that one tree, and even if it looked like a tree it wouldn't grow. There is a creative force there.It's alive. It's not entirely machine-like.

If one looks at an animal, he will detect this stronger. If he looks in the eyes of a human being, he will sense this "life" far, far more. The animal's eyes are distant and lifeless in comparison. The most intense sensation is when looking into the eyes of a righteous person. One notices something more "real", a deeper reality about him (this comes from being ethical. By being ethical, a person connects to G-d and grows spiritually. He receives more "life". In the extreme case, the Tzadik is even able to revive the dead as explained in the Path of the Just ch.26)

On the other hand, when looking into the eyes of a wicked person, one may feel "negative" life - death. The wicked person has corrupted the life within through his evil deeds and thoughts until he radiates dark life.

Man Made Machines vs. Living Organisms
One can observe that there is a fundamental difference between a man-made machine and a living organism. Any kind of man-made machine functions in a "direct" manner, namely, one thing reacts which causes another thing to react, which causes another, etc. "motorically". For example, a mechanical clock has a battery or spring which causes one gear to turn, and that gear causes another gear to turn, etc. until eventually the hands of the clock turn. Similarly, a computer CPU has a voltage applied to a crystal oscillator which drives one circuit/transistor and that circuit/transistor drives another, etc. Every living thing, however, does not function like this. Rather it all runs simultaneously, together, everything interdependent as if some kind of invisible "force" is simultaneously animating and guiding the available means to "life". This "force" is the nefesh chaya (life spirit).

It is necessary because the required complexity for life forms is simply beyond the inherent limitations of any kind of purely physical machine, which must run in a direct, motorical way where one thing reacts which causes another to react, etc., as before, (and below the speed of light) instead of everything simultaneously. It is simply impossible to accomplish all this with the limitations of a purely physical machine.

Granted it appears from a microscope that everything visible in the cell follows the laws of physics (and it does for it works through the available physical means), yet at the same time, you cannot trace it back like you can do with a machine or CPU, etc. The reason is because there is an invisible "power" animating and vivifying the countless interdependent processes simultaneously. This is why using the most sophisticated laboratories in the world and with the hindsight of about 100 years of research, the most eminent scientists in the world are nowhere near getting anywhere close to making the simplest possible living cell from raw materials. Indeed, all attempts to do so have been abandoned. Life only comes from life. It is simply beyond the abilities of any kind of purely physical machine.

Regarding plants, for example, all that scientists know about plants is only about its physical side. This part has such a function, that part has such a function, etc. But nobody has any clue how this inanimate seed has life, eats, drinks, expands and grows. Growth is a form of creation from nothing, for the plant forms and creates for itself leaves, flowers, etc. which were not previously there. This power is not physical. It is a creative force, a life spirit in the plant. The Kabalists call it the "nefesh tzomachat" (growth soul).

(Parenthetically, the blessing recited on fruits is "Who creates the fruit of the tree (or of the ground)". Which appears strange for the term "creates" connotes creation from nothing. And the growth of fruit does not appear to be something from nothing. But rather forming something from something - that the fruit grows from the seed. Hence, the blessing should have been "who forms the fruit of the tree". But since, the growth of the fruit is a miracle in disguise, since behold there is no possible way whatsoever to make such a contraption from raw inanimate materials, for it needs the life force. Therefore, it is indeed a form of creation from nothing. - Ha-shem Lenegdi maamar 3)

Interestingly, some scientists are starting to conclude that the DNA only provides the raw materials for living things. But the assembly of biological structures, etc. is done by "something" else which we have no clue what it is. This something else which guides it is the soul of life (nefesh).

On this the Ramchal writes (Derech H-shem 3:1): "the soul (nefesh) is drawn and enters the seed after conception. It itself spreads and goes and builds the body according to what is proper for this species. Likewise it spreads throughout its growth. Through the soul comes awareness and intelligence proper to that species. For there is a wide difference of intelligence within living things and a very great difference between them and human intelligence. All this is done by this soul according to its natural order and according to the materials and tools available to it." Dr.Michael Denton, a world famous geneticist who is an agnostic recently gave an interview titled "the Coming Downfall of Mechanistic View in Cell Biology". There he says:
"the mechanistic explanation of cells has really broken down. When you look at the literature now, more and more. the bolt properties to explain higher structures of the cyto-architecture of cells, you've got to look at collectives, to the properties of collectives, and higher order things. You can't see it from below. So this is in fact the beginning of a long process. In mainstream science, it might take one or two decades. But certainly, you are seeing at the level of the cell, a breakdown of that great mechanistic, mechanical idea which has dominated science certainly in the last century, in the DNA age, the genetic age, where 'everything is in the genes sort of thing'. You are seeing in fact that everything isn't in the genes. Everything isn't in the molecules. Everything isn't in the bricks. The architecture of the house is somewhere else... The former is an active principle in nature which organizes matter into the form of a living thing... basically what it is, is there are causal factors in addition to what happens at the molecular level... But it is very difficult to think about this because when we think of a complex system, we think of a machine. To start thinking of something that's not a machine is a big paradigm shift and also it's not exactly clear where this is all going. But what's happening is the machine analogy I think is failing..." (from )
Here is another video of a university professor totally bewildered by the assembly of the hundreds of trillions of very precise connections in the human brain. She admits that science has no clue whatsoever how this happens and can only call it a miracle. The countless molecular machines, etc. appear to be "aware" of what the cell needs. They work together to build huge entities that they will never see and make them function properly. All this despite the enormous level of inherent "noise" which is replete within the cell.

Another interesting area which supports the above view of life is the inexplicable complexity of plants. Nagging research has provided mounting evidence that plants communicate and make complex intelligent decisions. See this recent report (2013) titled "the Intelligent Plant". We also find highly intelligent behavior in creatures as small as single celled-Amoebas. They stalk their prey and make all sorts of complex decisions - despite not having any brain. Michael Denton in "Nature's Destiny" (ch.10) compares their level of intelligence displayed to that of cats. see his book for more.

The Intellect
There are higher forms of life. Namely, the intellectual soul (Sechel). Let us consider that all the programmers on the planet working together with all the computing power of all the supercomputers networked together - cannot even come near to making a machine which can have an intelligent conversation. The ability to speak intelligently requires an intelligent "self-aware personality" and this is beyond the ability of any kind of physical machine.

As before, any kind of purely physical machine necessarily functions in a direct manner, namely, one thing reacts, which causes another to react, etc. motorically otherwise it becomes total chaos. With this limitation, it is impossible to build a system capable of rational thought and intelligent speech. We will assert that even if the machine contained a CPU network spanning the entire universe and countless terabytes of code, it is simply incapable of doing what a human being does in an instant because rational thought stems from a higher form of life - the intellectual soul (Sechel).

Likewise for tasks such as to ponder and discern "truth" in abstract thoughts, to sense and make moral decisions, this is something that is higher and beyond the limitations of physical matter. The soul is able to integrate all these aspects because its essence is not physical and its knowledge is unbound to physical matter and existence. A computer can be programmed to output speech or calculate chess moves but sooner or later, you will pick up that it is just a dead machine, forced into everything it does, not a "self-aware personality".

The computer is no more "intelligent" than a waterfall. It can execute very precise instructions very fast, but it can never have the ability to think in a conscious, self-aware manner like a human being and will always remain at the "inanimate" level on the life scale. It is important to realize that the physical universe is governed by laws which always do the same thing. Hence, any kind of physical machine is compelled by these laws and therefore cannot possess true original thought or free will intelligence like a human being.

the Early Personalities
Parenthetically, from these introductions we can start to understand a little bit how the early personalities mentioned in the Torah were able to live for hundreds of years. Their souls were more capable of infusing life into their bodies. Therefore, they aged at a much slower rate than we do. Normally, there is a regular process of deterioration, whether naturally (aging), or by increased speed of it as from illness or accident etc, namely, that in a "boom" stopped the functionality of the soul - simply because a bullet in the brain requires life-support that the nefesh-hachayah (soul of life) - for the most most part cannot support the "push" so much all at once. So it causes a very quick process of corrosion - a very accelerated one in which the cells of the body are losing the blood and life-force that run in them through the nefesh-hachayah and the nefesh-hachayah is not designed to push so many types of instant missing needs of vitality etc., for all other causes, faster or slower etc.

In any event, any type of very quick such deterioration in the pace of corrosion and disintegration is considered death - but most people also experience death slowly and more naturally and a few exceptionally never did - like Eliyahu-Hanavi or Chanoch. However - this is very very irregular or essentially does not exist in reality. So let us only look at someone that lasted longer than anyone else normally - Metushelach - 969 years on earth (Gen 5:27), the longest living person ever reported in any text. Metu means "died" in plural and "shelach" means "send/dismiss". Hence, in his name it is written that he was able, so to speak, "to send away deaths" in plural. He was able to get rid of the effect of aging in disintegration and corrosion more than any other human being. His name is also 784 in gematria (numerical value) of his hebrew letters, a perfect and exact square of 28, i.e. 28 times 28, the "perfection" of "28" - the famous gematria in hebrew of "koach" which means power/strength.

Also indicated in his name that he had special "power" and "strength" more than all other humans that resulted in 969 years of life, the maximum life-span in time of a soul that is able to do its max in the dark era where death dominates life so to speak. In the end of days, the life-force will dominate corrosion and disintegration to a higher extent than now, enough and more to sustain the body from suffering any corrosion and alike. "life" will increase its power over "death" - corrosion not only slowing down as now - but actually stopping. The outcome: eternal life without death, as written "He will destroy death forever" (Isaiah 25:8).

Mysterious World of PLants
Plants seem to be simple organisms. They don't have a brain. One could think they are quite simple. Yet here too, scientists are discovering new alien worlds of complexity.

The mystifying world of plants is rocking the scientific community and its core assumptions about life.

Virtually all scientists are locked into a "machine perspective", namely, that every complex system is a physical machine. Just like our own human inventions, whereby, one thing acts, which causes another thing to react, and so on, motorically, so too everything in nature including life works the same way.

But to think of a complex system which is not a machine is a very big paradigm shift for scientists. For the whole scientific world view is based on looking for physical causes to explain phenomena, i.e. causes which we can detect with our physical senses. Scientists hate things they cannot detect with their physical senses.

Plants are challenging this world view, indicating that there are higher order causal factors underlying living things which are beyond the physical.

Here is an excerpt of a fascinating article shedding light on this. It was written by Michael Pollan[49], a professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley, who holds numerous awards from scientific institutions for his reporting on science:
The sophisticated behaviors observed in plants cannot at present be completely explained by familiar genetic and biochemical mechanisms. Plants are able to sense and optimally respond to so many environmental variables-light, water, gravity, temperature, soil structure, nutrients, toxins, microbes, herbivores, chemical signals from other plants-that there may exist some brainlike information-processing system to integrate the data and coordinate a plant's behavioral response. The authors pointed out that electrical and chemical signalling systems have been identified in plants which are homologous to those found in the nervous systems of animals. They also noted that neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate have been found in plants, though their role remains unclear.
Plants have evolved between fifteen and twenty distinct senses, including analogues of our five: smell and taste (they sense and respond to chemicals in the air or on their bodies); sight (they react differently to various wavelengths of light as well as to shadow); touch (a vine or a root "knows" when it encounters a solid object); and, it has been discovered, sound. In a recent experiment, Heidi Appel, a chemical ecologist at the University of Missouri, found that, when she played a recording of a caterpillar chomping a leaf for a plant that hadn't been touched, the sound primed the plant's genetic machinery to produce defense chemicals. Another experiment, done in Mancuso's lab and not yet published, found that plant roots would seek out a buried pipe through which water was flowing even if the exterior of the pipe was dry, which suggested that plants somehow "hear" the sound of flowing water...

Scientists have since found that the tips of plant roots, in addition to sensing gravity, moisture, light, pressure, and hardness, can also sense volume, nitrogen, phosphorus, salt, various toxins, microbes, and chemical signals from neighboring plants. Roots about to encounter an impenetrable obstacle or a toxic substance change course before they make contact with it. Roots can tell whether nearby roots are self or other and, if other, kin or stranger. Normally, plants compete for root space with strangers, but, when researchers put four closely related Great Lakes sea-rocket plants (Cakile edentula) in the same pot, the plants restrained their usual competitive behaviors and shared resources.

Somehow, a plant gathers and integrates all this information about its environment, and then "decides"-some scientists deploy the quotation marks, indicating metaphor at work; others drop them-in precisely what direction to deploy its roots or its leaves. Once the definition of "behavior" expands to include such things as a shift in the trajectory of a root, a reallocation of resources, or the emission of a powerful chemical, plants begin to look like much more active agents, responding to environmental cues in ways more subtle or adaptive than the word "instinct" would suggest. "Plants perceive competitors and grow away from them," Rick Karban, a plant ecologist at U.C. Davis, explained, when I asked him for an example of plant decision-making. "They are more leery of actual vegetation than they are of inanimate objects, and they respond to potential competitors before actually being shaded by them." These are sophisticated behaviors, but, like most plant behaviors, to an animal they're either invisible or really, really slow.

The sessile life style also helps account for plants' extraordinary gift for biochemistry, which far exceeds that of animals and, arguably, of human chemists. (Many drugs, from aspirin to opiates, derive from compounds designed by plants.) Unable to run away, plants deploy a complex molecular vocabulary to signal distress, deter or poison enemies, and recruit animals to perform various services for them. A recent study in Science found that the caffeine produced by many plants may function not only as a defense chemical, as had previously been thought, but in some cases as a psychoactive drug in their nectar. The caffeine encourages bees to remember a particular plant and return to it, making them more faithful and effective pollinators.

One of the most productive areas of plant research in recent years has been plant signalling. Since the early nineteen-eighties, it has been known that when a plant's leaves are infected or chewed by insects they emit volatile chemicals that signal other leaves to mount a defense. Sometimes this warning signal contains information about the identity of the insect, gleaned from the taste of its saliva. Depending on the plant and the attacker, the defense might involve altering the leaf's flavor or texture, or producing toxins or other compounds that render the plant's flesh less digestible to herbivores. When antelopes browse acacia trees, the leaves produce tannins that make them unappetizing and difficult to digest. When food is scarce and acacias are overbrowsed, it has been reported, the trees produce sufficient amounts of toxin to kill the animals.

Perhaps the cleverest instance of plant signalling involves two insect species, the first in the role of pest and the second as its exterminator. Several species, including corn and lima beans, emit a chemical distress call when attacked by caterpillars. Parasitic wasps some distance away lock in on that scent, follow it to the afflicted plant, and proceed to slowly destroy the caterpillars. Scientists call these insects "plant bodyguards."

Plants speak in a chemical vocabulary we can't directly perceive or comprehend. The first important discoveries in plant communication were made in the lab in the nineteen-eighties, by isolating plants and their chemical emissions in Plexiglas chambers, but Rick Karban, the U.C. Davis ecologist, and others have set themselves the messier task of studying how plants exchange chemical signals outdoors, in a natural setting...

Karban told me that, in the nineteen-eighties, people working on plant communication faced some of the same outrage that scientists working on plant intelligence (a term he cautiously accepts) do today. "This stuff has been enormously contentious," he says, referring to the early days of research into plant communication, work that is now generally accepted. "It took me years to get some of these papers published. People would literally be screaming at one another at scientific meetings." He added, "Plant scientists in general are incredibly conservative. We all think we want to hear novel ideas, but we don't, not really."

I first met Karban at a scientific meeting in Vancouver last July, when he presented a paper titled "Plant Communication and Kin Recognition in Sagebrush."
The most controversial presentation was "Animal-Like Learning in Mimosa Pudica,"... She focussed on an elementary type of learning called "habituation," in which an experimental subject is taught to ignore an irrelevant stimulus. "Habituation enables an organism to focus on the important information, while filtering out the rubbish," Gagliano explained to the audience of plant scientists. How long does it take the animal to recognize that a stimulus is "rubbish," and then how long will it remember what it has learned? Gagliano's experimental question was bracing: Could the same thing be done with a plant?

Mimosa pudica, also called the "sensitive plant," is that rare plant species with a behavior so speedy and visible that animals can observe it; the Venus flytrap is another. When the fernlike leaves of the mimosa are touched, they instantly fold up, presumably to frighten insects. The mimosa also collapses its leaves when the plant is dropped or jostled. Gagliano potted fifty-six mimosa plants and rigged a system to drop them from a height of fifteen centimetres every five seconds. Each "training session" involved sixty drops. She reported that some of the mimosas started to reopen their leaves after just four, five, or six drops, as if they had concluded that the stimulus could be safely ignored. "By the end, they were completely open," Gagliano said to the audience. "They couldn't care less anymore."

Was it just fatigue? Apparently not: when the plants were shaken, they again closed up. " 'Oh, this is something new,' " Gagliano said, imagining these events from the plants' point of view. "You see, you want to be attuned to something new coming in. Then we went back to the drops, and they didn't respond." Gagliano reported that she retested her plants after a week and found that they continued to disregard the drop stimulus, indicating that they "remembered" what they had learned. Even after twenty-eight days, the lesson had not been forgotten. She reminded her colleagues that, in similar experiments with bees, the insects forgot what they had learned after just forty-eight hours. Gagliano concluded by suggesting that "brains and neurons are a sophisticated solution but not a necessary requirement for learning," and that there is "some unifying mechanism across living systems that can process information and learn."

A lively exchange followed. Someone objected that dropping a plant was not a relevant trigger, since that doesn't happen in nature. Gagliano pointed out that electric shock, an equally artificial trigger, is often used in animal-learning experiments. Another scientist suggested that perhaps her plants were not habituated, just tuckered out. She argued that twenty-eight days would be plenty of time to rebuild their energy reserves.

On my way out of the lecture hall, I bumped into Fred Sack, a prominent botanist at the University of British Columbia. I asked him what he thought of Gagliano's presentation. "[expletive](nonsense)"," he replied. He explained that the word "learning" implied a brain and should be reserved for animals: "Animals can exhibit learning, but plants evolve adaptations." He was making a distinction between behavioral changes that occur within the lifetime of an organism and those which arise across generations. At lunch, I sat with a Russian scientist, who was equally dismissive. "It's not learning," he said. "So there's nothing to discuss."

Later that afternoon, Gagliano seemed both stung by some of the reactions to her presentation and defiant. Adaptation is far too slow a process to explain the behavior she had observed, she told me. "How can they be adapted to something they have never experienced in their real world?" She noted that some of her plants learned faster than others, evidence that "this is not an innate or programmed response." Many of the scientists in her audience were just getting used to the ideas of plant "behavior" and "memory" (terms that even Fred Sack said he was willing to accept); using words like "learning" and "intelligence" in plants struck them, in Sack's words, as "inappropriate" and "just weird." When I described the experiment to Lincoln Taiz, he suggested the words "habituation" or "desensitization" would be more appropriate than "learning." Gagliano said that her mimosa paper had been rejected by ten journals: "None of the reviewers had problems with the data." Instead, they balked at the language she used to describe the data. But she didn't want to change it. "Unless we use the same language to describe the same behavior"-exhibited by plants and animals-"we can't compare it," she said
Time-lapse photography is perhaps the best tool we have to bridge the chasm between the time scale at which plants live and our own. This example was of a young bean plant, shot in the lab over two days, one frame every ten minutes. A metal pole on a dolly stands a couple of feet away. The bean plant is "looking" for something to climb. Each spring, I witness the same process in my garden, in real time. I always assumed that the bean plants simply grow this way or that, until they eventually bump into something suitable to climb. But Mancuso's video seems to show that this bean plant "knows" exactly where the metal pole is long before it makes contact with it. Mancuso speculates that the plant could be employing a form of echolocation. There is some evidence that plants make low clicking sounds as their cells elongate; it's possible that they can sense the reflection of those sound waves bouncing off the metal pole.

The bean plant wastes no time or energy "looking"-that is, growing-anywhere but in the direction of the pole. And it is striving (there is no other word for it) to get there: reaching, stretching, throwing itself over and over like a fly rod, extending itself a few more inches with every cast, as it attempts to wrap its curling tip around the pole. As soon as contact is made, the plant appears to relax; its clenched leaves begin to flutter mildly. All this may be nothing more than an illusion of time-lapse photography. Yet to watch the video is to feel, momentarily, like one of the aliens in Mancuso's formative science-fiction story, shown a window onto a dimension of time in which these formerly inert beings come astonishingly to life, seemingly conscious individuals with intentions
In October, I loaded the bean video onto my laptop and drove down to Santa Cruz to play it for Lincoln Taiz. He began by questioning its value as scientific data: "Maybe he has ten other videos where the bean didn't do that. You can't take one interesting variation and generalize from it." The bean's behavior was, in other words, an anecdote, not a phenomenon. Taiz also pointed out that the bean in the video was leaning toward the pole in the first frame. Mancuso then sent me another video with two perfectly upright bean plants that exhibited very similar behavior. Taiz was now intrigued.
The most bracing part of Mancuso's talk on bioinspiration came when he discussed underground plant networks. Citing the research of Suzanne Simard, a forest ecologist at the University of British Columbia, and her colleagues, Mancuso showed a slide depicting how trees in a forest organize themselves into far-flung networks, using the underground web of mycorrhizal fungi which connects their roots to exchange information and even goods. This "wood-wide web," as the title of one paper put it, allows scores of trees in a forest to convey warnings of insect attacks, and also to deliver carbon, nitrogen, and water to trees in need.

When I reached Simard by phone, she described how she and her colleagues track the flow of nutrients and chemical signals through this invisible underground network. They injected fir trees with radioactive carbon isotopes, then followed the spread of the isotopes through the forest community using a variety of sensing methods, including a Geiger counter. Within a few days, stores of radioactive carbon had been routed from tree to tree. Every tree in a plot thirty metres square was connected to the network; the oldest trees functioned as hubs, some with as many as forty-seven connections. The diagram of the forest network resembled an airline route map.

The pattern of nutrient traffic showed how "mother trees" were using the network to nourish shaded seedlings, including their offspring-which the trees can apparently recognize as kin-until they're tall enough to reach the light. And, in a striking example of interspecies cooperation, Simard found that fir trees were using the fungal web to trade nutrients with paper-bark birch trees over the course of the season. The evergreen species will tide over the deciduous one when it has sugars to spare, and then call in the debt later in the season. For the forest community, the value of this cooperative underground economy appears to be better over-all health, more total photosynthesis, and greater resilience in the face of disturbance.

In his talk, Mancuso juxtaposed a slide of the nodes and links in one of these subterranean forest networks with a diagram of the Internet, and suggested that in some respects the former was superior. "Plants are able to create scalable networks of self-maintaining, self-operating, and self-repairing units," he said. "Plants."
(from see there for much more)

Evolution Debate
The Rambam wrote:
When a person contemplates G-d's great and wondrous deeds and creations, and he observes through them His infinite wisdom which surpasses all comparison, he will immediately love, praise, and glorify Him, yearn with tremendous desire to know [G-d's] great name, as David stated: "My soul thirsts for the L-rd, for the living G-d" [Psalms 42:3].

When he [continues] to reflect on these matters, he will immediately recoil in awe and fear, knowing how he is a tiny, lowly, and dark creature, standing with his flimsy, limited, wisdom before He who is of perfect knowledge, as David stated: "When I see Your heavens, the work of Your fingers... [I wonder] what is man that You should recall Him" [Psalms 8:4-5]. (Mishne Torah, Yesodei Torah ch.2)
Along came Darwin and proposed really life is not the result of any special engineering. In fact, there is not even any intelligence behind it! It is solely the result of dumb luck accumulated over time. That's my theory!

The scientific community at the time was religiously convinced there must be a naturalistic, materialistic explanation for everything. The scientific movement had been riding on a string of successes at describing the world such as Newton's laws of motion or Copernicus's discovery that the earth revolved around the sun, so they embraced the theory. Atheists gleed at having finally exorcised religion from humanity once and for all.

But as scientific knowledge progressed, new layers of complexity were discovered every decade as our understanding of cells grew. The dream of fully reverse-engineering life retreated further and further away like a desert mirage. Even the simplest cells have proven to be enormously sophisticated - our most advanced CPU are a total joke in comparison. What's worse, the more we discovered, the more we found hints of new and strange worlds of bewildering complexity awaiting us. Not to mention complex organs which leave one totally boggled with no approach whatsoever (see this video for example).

But most of the scientific community holds on to their paradigm. Insisting that as science progresses we will eventually see that Darwin was right. After all, says Daniel Dennett (in Darwin's Dangerous Idea), Dawkins is "almost certainly right" because "Darwinism is basically on the right track." In this, he echoes the philosopher Kim Sterenly, who is also persuaded that "something like Dawkins's stories have got to be right". After all, he asserts, "natural selection is the only possible explanation of complex adaptation."

Like the Biblical Pharaoh, they cannot change their minds. They march on and on with their research, steadfastly holding on to their paradigm as if bound by a spell. No amount of wisdom is ever enough for them.

Some rare individuals are starting to sense where this is all going. Here is a quote from an interview of Dr. Michael Denton, a famous geneticist who is an agnostic[50]:
Everyone working in fundamental biological research can hardly fail to see, was namely that things are getting more and more complicated every decade as our understanding increases. The endless complexification of biological systems with advancing knowledge was the subject of a recent article in Nature...

As far as where science is going in the future, I think that it's going to be increasingly obvious as the scientific revelation rolls on that you cannot account for life in the universe without proposing that there's some intelligent order behind it. And I think this is going to grow more obvious with each year as biological science advances. Already biological systems are, as currently understood, complex almost beyond conception - think of the millions of neuronal path finding cells navigating through the ever changing biochemical matrix of the developing brain and laying down the circuitry of the nervous system, or the zoo of regulatory micro RNAs regulating gene expression, or the complex, ever-changing 3D topologies of the genome during development.

Or consider the fine-tuning of nature to have living things here in the universe and thriving on a planet like the earth. In this area the criteria are becoming more and more stringent as knowledge advances necessitating an ever-greater degree of fine-tuning of nature's laws toward the end of life. I also see this ongoing revelation as one of the great purposes of science in human history. So if you ask me where science is going in the future I think it's essentially going to be drawn towards some form of intelligent design to account for the world we see around us. And I think that's perhaps the destiny of science, and this was perhaps its destiny from its inception. It's perhaps a somewhat extreme or radical view of the scientific adventure but I think that's what it's about.
With these words he echoes the famous prediction of the Zohar as explained here.

Note the term "almost beyond conception" in Denton's words. The word "almost" comes up frequently by atheists and agnostics when encountering the divine wisdom. Another example is from the Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist Fred Hoyle (atheist):
"Would you not say to yourself, 'Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.'"
Similarly Francis Crick (atheist), the discoverer of DNA:
An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.
He can't say it's a miracle because Crick is an atheist. So "almost a miracle" is as close as he can get.

Others have managed to break the spell of folly. Ex. Anthony Flew, a British philosopher, Oxford professor, and leading champion of atheism for more than fifty years renounced atheism in 2004 and declared himself a believer in G-d.
Flew: "I think that the most impressive arguments for G-d's existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries. I've never been much impressed by the Kalam cosmological argument, and I don't think it has gotten any stronger recently. However, I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it... Absolutely. It seems to me that Richard Dawkins constantly overlooks the fact that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design."
An interesting alternative to Darwin's random evolution theory is being presented by some such as Perry Marshall, an engineer. Here's an excerpt from his paper.
A cell under stress will splice its own DNA into over 100,000 pieces. Then a program senses hundreds of variables in its environment and then re-arranges those pieces to produce a new, better, evolved cell... consider the significance of this. A protozoa re-programs its own DNA and evolves. Intelligently...

If Microsoft DOS 1.0 evolved into the Windows of today without any engineer touching it, would you say: That accidental file copying errors, culled by natural selection, were responsible for these evolutionary changes? OR would you say: That the original engineer who wrote DOS 1.0 was so incredibly skilled that he actually devised a program that could self-adapt? That it could upgrade itself without downloading another annoying Service Pack?
In other words, adaptive changes do happen but they are not random. The cell has the power to re-program its own DNA intelligently. Scientists mistaken prove" random evolution by pointing to changes in living things. But they fail to realize that these changes are not necessarily random. They are part of the incredible machinery of the cell. see there for more. See also Denton's Nature's Destiny where he brings evidence on this and concludes the same.

If you ask: "What about all the evidence for evolution in genetics (DNA)?"
Answer: The purpose of the world in this stage of history is human free will. Thus there needs to always be a balance of free will, not too much, not too little. As science increasingly reveals the bottomless, divine wisdom in nature, there must be a counter-balance to maintain the possibility of free will to deny G-d for those who are looking for an excuse to do so. But, the poor scientists are in a trap for the further they go, the more ridiculous they find themselves for maintaining there was no intelligence involved. For they cannot fully understand even the "simplest" bacteria. Perhaps this is the divine sense of humor.

For a detailed treatise on evolution see here.

The Bite of Rationalism
disconnection from self-evident knowledge
Generally speaking, the Torah sages have discouraged delving into rational inquiry without proper guidance. Here is a quote from Rabbi Matisyahu Solomon (Matanas Chelko commentary to shaar bechina) regarding the philosophical approach to G-d of the famous work Chovos Halevavos:
"The custom practiced in the yeshiva world is not to study the Shaar Yichud. And even though, there is no doubt whatsoever that all of what he says there is absolute truth, nevertheless, his words are of philosophical inquiry and this inherently leads to many questions in the mind of the person studying them, and not every person is capable of fully understanding them. It is possible therefore that one could remain with unresolved questions, or at least with doubts, that would not have occurred to him had he not studied this work. Therefore, it is customary to walk simply and accept as a given, simple faith that the Creator is One. And the explanation of One is that there is no power in the world besides Him, no place in the world devoid of Him, and nothing in the world without Him. These things are above the powers of our minds to grasp.
Hence, according to this, there is a danger in rational inquiry that a person will be left with doubts. One must be careful when treading the path of logical inquiry for he is not assured from stumbling and erring in treading this path, as in fact there are many, many casualties strewn along this path. We can see in our times, that those groups which believe only that which they can fully understand logically wind up engulfed in doubts and eventually drift away from the Torah and become atheists.

Therefore, it is essential for one to be simple with G-d. To not rely on his own limited intellect and to accept the faithful Tradition he received from his elders and mentors as the Chovos Halevavos himself writes in Gate 5 ch.5:
"Be careful that your steps not stray from the path of the forefathers and the path of the early ones towards a new path you have devised, and be careful to not rely on your intellect nor to take counsel only with yourself. Do not reason on your own. Do not distrust your forefathers in the tradition they bequeathed to you as to what is good for you. Do not reject their advice in what they taught you".
The Bite of Rationalism
Scientists used to be alot more religious than they are today. Some would answer that this is because, science has revealed more. But I think the answer is something different.

When you choose to believe only that which can be proven logically, you start to cut yourself off from what may be called "self-evident knowledge".

Certain things we "know" exist though we can't describe them logically. An example of this, is morality. We can recognize evil. We can recognize good. We see it, we detect it. But we cannot logically describe it or prove its existence.

Another example, is the soul. When we look into the eyes of another person, we "know" that the person is more than just a biological computer. There is something "else" there, though we cannot describe what it is or quantify it. If you were to look at the same exact smiling face in a 3-D statue, it would not register the same sensation inside your mind. By looking into the face, you are picking up vastly more information than you could possibly get simply from the surface of the face. There is some kind of interaction of consciousness with another cognitive being outside yourself only superficially represented in the face.

What is it then that you are noticing when looking into the eyes of a human being? This is the soul, the spiritual, self-aware "personality" living in that body. You notice the soul through the medium of the eyes and face. It's an amazing thing. (People can live a whole lifetime without realizing this. They are constantly noticing the souls of others without even realizing that this is what they are seeing. They are so absorbed in the physical that they don't realize that what they are detecting is the spiritual.)

Another manifestation of this is the longing of the soul. Most of us have experienced this longing, especially in one's youth. One may have felt this perhaps peering out at the starlit sky or at the open ocean. He may have felt an indescribable longing. He knows the ocean is just a vast wasteland, but nevertheless, he feels "something". Sometimes, one feels this when hearing a piece of music. We cannot describe it in words or explain it logically but we know it is there.

Similarly, we can say regarding knowledge of the existence of G-d. I don't mean some nonsense gods like Zeus, etc. But G-d. simple as that. There is a certain self-evident knowledge of the existence of G-d. One just needs to humble himself and weaken his desires for this world and it will come to the surface.

Hence, when one resolves to believe only that which his mind can prove logically, he starts to disconnect from all these things. Doubts start to creep in. If the illness progresses further he starts to disconnect from other self-evident truths, such that only an intelligent agent can produce things displaying wisdom.

He starts to believe life arose through random, naturalistic processes. No amount of wisdom in life-forms is ever enough for him. Though he knows evidently from reason and experience that left to their own, things only stay the same or decay. Order gravitates towards chaos. Nevertheless, since he cannot actually see that an intelligence was involved, he waves the belief through for lack of a better rationalistic explanation.

Eventually the doubts on the self-evident knowledge engulf him, until he disconnects further and further away. He loses touch even more, imagining that the universe itself with all its physical laws just popped into existence from nothing, bringing "proofs" from quantum mechanics. He wanders through life aimlessly, like a ghost ship in the ocean. He eventually starts to see himself as no more than a biological computer, not much different than an animal. He may even start to believe his own self is an illusion, for after all the self-aware personality is not physically tangible. We can't see it. Therefore, it must not exist.

This is what happened to most of the scientific community. Engulfed by rationalism, they have lost touch with self-evident knowledge.

It wasn't always like this. Scientists used to be alot more religiously inclined. There was a feeling not so long ago when studying nature, before the disease of rationalism progressed, that one was treading on holy ground. Sir Isaac Newton, for example, who was one of the most influential scientists of all time said of himself:
I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
For in truth, all the various animals, beasts, birds, fish, insects, plants, etc. etc. are in fact absolutely astonishing. Each one of them is an intense world that one can study years and years, and nevertheless know only a little bit of how it works. Despite all of our technology, we are only playing, toying with nature. Mixing this, joining that. Applying stem cells here or there. Likewise, we are only toying with the many natural laws which are placed before us. we play with the laws of motion, gravity, electromagnetism, optics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, etc. The wisdom manifested before us is literally infinite. It is unbelievable when one considers all that is happening seemingly on its own.

Hence, even if one were not religious, provided he had some humility and intuitive knowledge, he would wonder always that there exists before him some kind of unbelievable, awe-inspiring wisdom - and we cannot fathom in any way the source of this wisdom.

Nobody knows where this comes from. Except those few who know that it is all only a hint to us, a ladder to come to know Him. But an average person, even if he does not believe in G-d, even so, if he is only a bit humble, he should stand in awe at the infinite wisdom manifested in nature. Such an honest person is forced to admit that there is something absolutely remarkable going on here. This is how many scientists used to feel.

On this the Chazon Ish wrote:
"If a man is a baal nefesh (non-superficial), and the time is a quiet time, free from the hunger of desires, and his eye opens wide to the glorious vision of the heights of the heaven, and to the depths of the earth, he becomes aroused and aghast. For the world appears to him like an impossible riddle, hidden and wondrous. And this riddle encircles his heart and mind and he becomes faint-hearted. There is no spirit left in him except for this riddle which occupies all his desire and his aspirations. And the understanding of its answer captures his soul, until he is willing to go through fire and through water for it. Because for what is life worth to him, if this life is hidden from him with absolute concealment, and his soul is dizzy, mourning and yearning to understand its secret and to know its root. But the gates are locked..." (Emuna U'Bitachon Chapter 1)
But the disease of rationalism crept in and the awe was replaced by a fanatical belief that everything must have a rationalistic, materialistic explanation. There is nothing supernatural here. No need for a creative Power. But as scientific knowledge progressed, the questions only increased. For the more one knows of G-d's infinite wisdom, the more it becomes apparent how much more there is to know. But the rationalist trapped, continues to fool himself and those around him that all is well. There is no supernatural Intelligence behind it all. The more wisdom he uncovers, the more he corrupts himself, for he must deceive himself and others that such wisdom and sophistication arose by sheer dumb luck.

On this the Chovos Halevavos writes (Gate 1 ch.10):
For spiritual matters, once we are convinced of their existence, it is not proper to investigate their nature because this approach only ruins our intellect. This is like one who tries to understand the sun from observing its light, radiance, shine, and its power to dissipate darkness. If he accepts its existence, he will benefit from it, use its light, and attain all that he seeks from it. But one who strives to study its roundness and focuses his eyes to stare at it - his eyes will dim and (eventually) their sight will be lost and he will not benefit from the sun.

The same thing will happen to us. If we study the existence of the Creator from the evidence of His signs in the creations, the wisdom manifested in them, His power shown in all His creations.. then our minds will be illuminated with knowledge of Him and we will attain all that is possible for us to attain.. But if we exert our minds to understand the matter of His glorious essence, and to try to liken or represent Him in our minds - we will ruin/diminish our intellect and understanding, and we will not grasp even what was known to us, as would happen to our eyes if we stared at the sun.
This, according to the Midrash (Raba Gen.1:10), is the opening teaching of the Torah - the beginning of wisdom is to realize that some things cannot be fully understood by man.
Rabbi Jonah taught in the name of Rabbi Levi that the world was created with a letter bet (the first letter in Genesis 1:1, which begins the Torah, "In the beginning G-d created"), because just as the letter Bet is closed at the sides but open in front, so one is not permitted to investigate what is above and what is below, what is before and what is behind.

The March of Science
Many scientists who have delved deeply into the divine wisdom cannot help but experience a religious feeling. Here are some quotes.

"This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being" – Sir Isaac Newton - "General Scholium", in Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy

"Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble." – Albert Einstein

"The scientist's religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is utterly insignificant reflection" – Albert Einstein

"The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books - a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects." – Albert Einstein

"As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter". – Max Planck - key founder of quantum mechanics

"Would you not say to yourself, 'Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.'" – Fred Hoyle - Astrophysicist

"The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly. You see," Davies adds, "even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life-almost contrived-you might say a 'put-up job'." – Paul Davies - Professor of Theoretical Physics

"A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of G-d is made larger with every discovery we make about the world" – Joseph H. Taylor, Jr. Nobel Prize in Physics

"It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to G-d than religion. People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview." – Physicist Paul Davies

"I think that the most impressive arguments for G-d's existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries. I've never been much impressed by the Kalam cosmological argument, and I don't think it has gotten any stronger recently. However, I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it... Absolutely. It seems to me that Richard Dawkins constantly overlooks the fact that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design." – Anthony Flew - Oxford professor, and leading champion of atheism for more than fifty years who renounced atheism in 2004

"As we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the universe must in some sense have known that we were coming." – Physicist Freeman Dyson

"Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare, and even the few dissenters hint that the tide is against them." – Astrophysicist Hugh Ross

"Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover.... That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact." – Robert Jastrow, Astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies

"As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency-or, rather, Agency-must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it G-d who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?" – George Greenstein - The Symbiotic, Universe: Life and Mind in the Cosmos pg.26-27

"As far as where science is going in the future, I think that it's going to be increasingly obvious as the scientific revelation rolls on that you cannot account for life in the universe without proposing that there's some intelligent order behind it. And I think this is going to grow more obvious with each year as biological science advances. Already biological systems are, as currently understood, complex almost beyond conception - think of the millions of neuronal path finding cells navigating through the ever changing biochemical matrix of the developing brain and laying down the circuitry of the nervous system, or the zoo of regulatory micro RNAs regulating gene expression, or the complex, ever-changing 3D topologies of the genome during development.

Or consider the fine-tuning of nature to have living things here in the universe and thriving on a planet like the earth. In this area the criteria are becoming more and more stringent as knowledge advances necessitating an ever-greater degree of fine-tuning of nature's laws toward the end of life. I also see this ongoing revelation as one of the great purposes of science in human history. So if you ask me where science is going in the future I think it's essentially going to be drawn towards some form of intelligent design to account for the world we see around us. And I think that's perhaps the destiny of science, and this was perhaps its destiny from its inception. It's perhaps a somewhat extreme or radical view of the scientific adventure but I think that's what it's about." – Michael Denton (Geneticist, in an interview [50])

Afterword/Conclusion by Avraham Apatow, former professor of Greek Philosophy
This series aimed to explore the wonders of nature in the spirit of a new vision of science that is emerging that recaptures and transforms the spirit of the classical vision of life.

The mark of a classical education is one that leads a person to experience the awesome nature of the intelligence that pervades every aspect of thought and the natural world in a magnificent harmony.

Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most influential scientists of all time, saw "a monotheistic G-d as the masterful Creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation".[51]

Near the end of his life he humbly said:
I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Classical education was founded upon the perspective that the world is the work of the genius of the Creator, the Almighty G-d. Included in this magnificent creation is the most remarkable work and power, the human mind, the very "eye" that beholds G-d's beautiful handiwork. After studying the creation in all its beauty, the ultimate study is to turn one's attention to beholding the nature of the Creator Himself and His oneness. This study is the top rung of a ladder built on a study and contemplation of philosophy, arithmetic, musical ratio, geometry, and astronomy, but few pursue this noble path today.

Along the way, however, there is an intermediary goal that is much more accessible and practical for us today. It is the one that is presented in this series.

This is to use modern science as a window through which to see the awesome wisdom of our Creator. We live in an age that has a profound appreciation of science and this series offerred many examples of how science reveals G-d's glory in the natural world.

The chief mark of contemporary science is its ability to transcend the static models of the past. This has led to all the breakthroughs, revolutions and paradigm shifts that we have seen in every field of inquiry.

With the combination of this freedom to break the defined limits of thinking of the past along with the remarkable power of modern technology, scientists are revealing greater and greater levels of complexity.

In the world of science from Aristotle to Newton, the ultimate goal was to achieve perfect systematic knowledge that was in perfect harmony with our rational mind. The contemporary scientist, however, is revealing a new kind of knowledge: one that is so vast and awesome in its scope and implications, that it boggles our common, rational view of life and nature. Instead it leads us to a state of complete awe and wonder of the creation. It is this study that helps us gain a greater appreciation of the Infinite G-d.

Recommended Reading:
Nature's Destiny by Dr. Michael Denton
Our Wondrous World (Artscroll)

See Also:
Torah Authenticity

To contact the author:
copyright 2016 - All rights are reserved
for permissions please contact the author.