Monday, December 17, 2007

Nothing

This story is self evident, so I'll let it speak for itself.

NOTHING

Bret Simmons walked into the room and held the door open for Doctor Hal Reed then gingerly shut it behind them. He stood breathless for a moment, “This is very impressive. I have never seen such an elaborate laboratory.”

Simmons smiled graciously. “Thank you, Dr. Reed, coming from a man of your esteem, your words mean a great deal. We are looking forward to working with you.”

“About that,” began Dr. Reed, “what exactly did you want from me?”

“I wanted to hire you to make something.” He paused for effect, “Something big.” When he said “big” his voice grew in awe.

“You were so secretive; I hardly knew what to think.”

“Yes, that is why I paid you so handsomely.”

“Handsomely? I should think so. With the money you paid me, I will be able to continue my research for years to come. You were most generous.”

Simmons waved him off, “think nothing of it. I have followed your research on the beginning moments of evolution for quite some time.”

“You flatter me, of course.”

“None sense.” Simmons cut to the chase, “ I assume that you are a fellow atheist.”
Dr. Reed looked down at his feet. “Well, let’s say this: I am eagerly seeking to prove there is no God.”

“Very well,” Simmons mused. “You may say it however you please, just so that you succeed.” His voice grew irrational. “These…idiotic…religionists just won’t shut up! That’s why I paid you so dearly, out of my pocket, and paid you in advance.”

“Well then, what is our business here?” Dr. Reed seemed eager.

Simmons motioned to a conference table across the room and they took seats around it. “I want you to make the greatest scientific discovery of all time. Moreover, I want you to get full credit for it. I want you to make something, anything, out of nothing.” He clasped his hands together in delight.

Reed leaned forward, “I beg your pardon?”

“I want you to make something out of nothing.” He was matter of fact.

“But,” Dr. Reed stuttered, “How? With what?”

He shrugged, “I don’t care. Just create something.”

“What do you expect me to use?”

“Nothing. Something from nothing.” He repeated.

“I must have something to start with. All matter must have basic building blocks.”

“Like atoms?” asked Simmons.

“Yes, atoms would do nicely for a start.” Reed wasn’t sure if he should laugh.

“Oh no, that won’t do at all,” dismissed Simmons. “You must do it with nothing.”

“But I can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Well, I don’t know how.” He was sincere.

“But you are a scientist.”

“So?”

“You are a Big Bang theorist. Surely you must know something about it.”

Dr. Reed’s pride was injured. “Well, of course I do. I am the leading researcher on evolutionary models.”

“That is why I hired you. You are the best.”

Reed shrugged, “But I can’t do this.”

“What do you mean?”

“No one can do what you are asking. It’s not humanly possible.”

Simmons was cross. “Don’t even start that, Doctor. That’s why we must succeed.”

“Why? I’m not sure I follow you.”

“We must prove the Creationists wrong.”

“Why?”

“If they are right then that means I am wrong. It means that there is a God. Do this and prove them wrong.”

Reed shook his head in disbelief. “But I have nothing to start with.”

“There was nothing before the Big Bang,” bantered Simmons.

Dr. Reed swallowed, “Well, there could have been. I mean, there could have been some swirling gasses.”

Simmons leaned forward, “Okay, where did the gasses come from?”

Reed threw up his hands, “I don’t know! Maybe from a previous Big Bang.”

“How’s that?”

“Well,” Reed’s eyes widened, “I surmise that the entire universe is in a great cycle, a long, continuous cycle of beginning and end.”

“Okay, go on…”

“You see, the universe expands into substance and contracts into nothing, leaving only swirling gasses. Then it starts all over again.”

“Okay. What causes the gasses to swirl? I mean, in the absence of solar winds to stir them, or gravity to pull them, what starts the swirling?”

Reed shrugged, “I don’t know.”

Simmons was incredulous. “You don’t know? How is that possible?”

“Actually,” he looked down at his feet. “I might be leaning toward a creator.”

“What?” Simmons shrieked. “But you said…”

“Well, consider it.” He waved a hand in the air and dismissed Simmons concerns. “What about this building?”

“What about it?”

“Where did it come from?”

“Huh? I had to build it.”

“Exactly!” Simmons blank stare probed him to elaborate. “If there is a creation, there must be a creator.”

“A creator?” Simmons was starting to panic.

“Of course. Think of the Mona Lisa.”

“The Mona Lisa…” Simmons repeated.

“Do you think that paint just fell onto a canvas? No, she has a design. There must be a designer.”

Simmons stood up, and then sat down again. “So what are you saying?”

“Someone, not God, created the universe.”

“Who else has the power to create a universe if not God?” Simmons face turned red. “Not that God has the power, but…oh, you know what I mean.”

“Aliens,” Reed said smugly.

“Oh brother.” Simmons groaned.

“Yes! Can’t you see? Aliens created our universe.”

“With what?”

“Swirling gasses.”

“Back to the gas again.” He placed a hand on his chest and groaned. “Then where did the aliens come from?”

“I haven't gotten that far.”

“But, just a few months ago you were certain that there was no creator.”

“Yes, yes, I know. But that just doesn’t make sense. Logically, I can’t make any sense out of it. To think that all of this evolved out of nothing?” He stood and walked to the window. “Take just the sun alone--why imagine it! One million Earths would fit inside of it. And to think, by chance it was 93,000,000 miles from Earth. Any closer and we would burn up. Any farther and we would freeze. And it’s not even a big star; it’s just a smaller average star.

“The sun evaporates seawater, which causes clouds to form. The clouds are driven by the wind and rise to heights taller than mountains, giving the rain needed to sustain life, and purifying the air at the same time. That couldn’t happen by chance.” He observed Simmons rubbing his chest and moaning. “And to think that chance created the human heart. And chance formed the ribs within a human body in the womb? And the human mind, with its unending complex thoughts and desires? Could chance have made all of this? It makes you think.”

Simmons had enough. “But, I…”

“Yes of course! The eye!” Reed was excited. “It has over 43,000,000 nerve endings in it. We can’t even make one nerve cell, much less a functioning human eye.”

“But we evolved slowly.”

Reed shot back at him, “Did we? At what point did our blind nerve cells work in concert to create sight? At what point did our lungs develop the capacity to process oxygen? Can you imagine how awkward the stage was between breathing atmosphere and breathing with gills? At what point did both a male and a female coexist long enough to copulate? I don’t think so, Mr. Simmons!” Reed was parading around as if on a crusade.

Simmons was absolute. “That’s all fine, but I am not prepared to believe in God.”

“Ah yes, God. Me neither. If there is a God, and He is the Creator, then we would be created also, implying that we might be accountable to Him. I am not ready to believe in Him, either. I like my life just as it is.”

“Fascinating.” Simmons mused. “How, then, did the Earth come to be?”

“Aliens.” Dr. Reed nodded in satisfaction, quite proud of himself.

“Aliens?” Simmons paused. “That seems hard to believe, too. After all, they had to come from somewhere also.”

“Perhaps, but the alternative is rather unpleasant.”

“So, then,” Simmons committed, “Aliens?”

“Aliens.” Dr. Reed nodded in approval.

4 comments:

dave said...

That is a good story; I love what you did with it. Trav, have you heard of Anthony Flew? This story reminded me of him.

(just in case you or anyone else here reading hasn't heard of him) Flew was the premiere athiest a generation ago; he's like the Richard Dawkins of his day. In college, he even studied under C. S. Lewis and found his arguements for God to be ummm..inadequate. He spent his life devoted to athiesm and debated several bigwig apologetics guys.

Well, a couple of years back, he stated that he now believed that there was a creator. He did not go to the extent of believing in the God of the Bible, but does believe in God.

What changed his mind about God? After a lifetime of studying, he realized that intelligent design is the only thing that could explain creation. And atheism lost one of their leaders who spent the last half century refuting the existence of God. Atheism just cannot explain creation in a reasonable way.

Alison said...

So, mister, I know the theme of this is something that is always close to your heart, but what sparked the idea for this story in particular?
I like this one. ...In your mind, how long before the setting of this story had the scientist been leaning toward the idea of a Creator?

Travis said...

I take it when you said that you liked THIS one, you weren't saying that you didn't dislike the others.

It's been so long since I wrote this story--I can't remember what inspired it. But, as you pointed out, I'm a little passionate about the absurdity of reasonably intelligent people to believe that we evolved from a single cell bug. I do remember hearing an interview with a scientist who was defecting from evolution in favor of intelligent design. As Dave's comment pointed out, this scientist wasn't ready to believe in God. I thought about it and concluded that aliens are the only other possibilities if God doesn't exist.

Besides, the Asgard and the Ancients COULD have sparked life on this planet, right?

Polycarp said...

This is the conclusion that many who refuse to acknowledge the God of the Abraham will condone as an alternative to evolution. I am not a great mind, a great thinker or a highly educated theologist. Something in my heart even in my soul testifies about the truth about God as creater. I can not go to the level of scientific evidence nor quote all the statistical odds of impossibility. I just know it in my heart. Good job at making people think Travis.