Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nothing

I've been out of pocket the last few weeks...okay, the last month and a half. Well, I'm not entirely back into my routine. I have a couple of trips to make yet. By the time June is gone, I will have stood on the Atlantic Ocean twice and the Pacific Ocean twice. Within the last 9 months (this is the fun part of traveling) I will get to take my kids to both Disneyland and Disney World. Considering that I currently reside in New Mexico (I'm still a Texan. I'm just living in one of our western counties for the moment), it's quite an accomplishment to pull off these events. I hope to gain enough time in my week to start visiting all of you again. Well, enough about me.
I saw in the news a few weeks ago that an astronaut was trying to convince the world that aliens exist. That reminded me of a story that I posted back in 2007. I decided to dust this story off and recycle (my only efforts at being green). I think you will appreciate the value of this story.

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.

9 comments:

Tracy said...

Yes, aliens... Anything but God! Good to see you again, Travis. Enjoy your travels!

Billy Coffey said...

Travis! I thought for a while there you had been lost in the Amazon or climbing K2 or...

As for this, I'm printing it out and will sneak it onto the bulletin board in the science building here at the college.

Because that's just the kind of guy I am.

Travis said...

Tracy-
It is fun to travel, but I like being home also. No one cooks like my wife! If only I could get her to make fried oysters...

Billy-
Let me know how that turns out. Provided you don't get fired over the weekend!

gzusfreek said...

Ah, Aliens! And who created the Aliens. . .oh right, Aliens. . .You are brilliant, Travis! This one was fun:)

I envy your travel, brother! Have fun:)

sharilyn said...

travis! i've missed you and your storytelling!! i'm glad you've been having some fun in your travels... wow! if you're going to disneyland, you'll only be about 40 minutes from where i live!! (in fact, i'm going to disneyland tomorrow evening to celebrate my birthday!!) :)

love this "logic"... yes, it is the way of science... anything is better than admitting the truth if it requires one to confess God!

and, billy, you better be doing your sign posting under the cover of darkness!! :) (ha! my word verification is "pansie"... as in--billy's hanging signs on the science building; he's no pansie!)

Dave said...

Aliens. My first response is to scream "WHOPPERS!!!!" (sorry for everyone who has no idea what that means).

We'll believe anything if it means we don't have to make any kind of life change.

Anne L.B. said...

But of course! These have got to be the same not-created aliens who are going to make the church disappear at the rapture.

Amy Deardon said...

Will, where do you get such wonderful ideas to address such contentious issues??? This is great! Thank you for sharing it.

katdish said...

"A fool says, There is no God".

Often believers get really upset about devout, angry atheists. Not me. I believe their anger is in part due to fear that they just might be wrong.

It is the luke warm, both believers and non-believers, that God has promised to spit out of His mouth.

Frigintastic post, Travis!