Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Waxing Philosophical Part 1: Symmetrical Rock Stacking

A few weeks ago, I was in North Carolina with my mom and dad, taking a break from the road. We went on a couple of hikes through the Blue Ridge Mountains—one of my favorite places to hike. (I especially like hiking to waterfalls. I don’t know… I’m not one for “scenic” hikes. If I’m gonna bust my butt hiking up some hill, I want a cool destination. It’s about getting to the destination, not the journey—and yes, that should tell you a whole bunch about my personality right there.) Anyhow, on one hike (to the waterfall above, by the way), the trail happened to wind next to this river. I looked at the river and gasped. “Look at that,” I said, and I pointed to the river bed where we saw almost fifty towers of river rocks that had been stacked vertically. I’ve included a picture because I took a whole bunch (and because I don’t want to waste 1000 words describing it).

Immediately, my twisted little mind remembered The Blair Witch Project. Then I quoted Dan Ackroyd on Ghost Busters when he said, “Look, symmetrical book stacking…” I especially remembered Bill Murray’s sarcastic comment, “Yes, no human being would ever stack books like this.”

That, of course, is the point. When I saw the symmetrically stacked rocks, did I think: Wow, look how amazing the river is! It stacked the rocks just like this using perfect timing and currents? Heck no! I immediately assumed a human being stacked the rocks. My mom confirmed my suspicions when she said, “Yeah, Dad and I saw someone doing it last week.”

Design implies a designer. When we walk along the beach and see Brad Loves Angelina written in the sand, we don’t think, Look at what the waves did, or, Look at what a bunch of seagull feet created. When we see a cake sitting on the counter, we immediately assumed someone baked it. Symmetrically stacked rocks imply a stacker. Words written in the sand imply a writer. A baked cake implies a baker. Design implies a designer.

So why is it that when we look at the intricate designs of our own bodies, we think that nature did it?


Reggie said...

Hi M.B. -
Beautiful pictures. This question regarding intelligent design(er) usually assumes a separation between God and nature, that evolution is not within the domain of God. Is it not possible that evolution is guided by God and part of His plan?

M. B. Weston said...

Great question. Of course it is possible that God could have used evolution. In fact, neither creation nor evolution can be proven scientifically simply because the scientific method requires repetition of an experiment with the same result. Since one of the two (regarding how Earth was formed and humans came to be) happened in the past, it is impossible to recreate in a laboratory setting with the same result over and over. So technically, either is possible. It’s the evidence and the interpretation of the evidence that can provide the truth (more like how we prove things in a court of law), which is why it would take too long for me to adequately explain my personal beliefs regarding that subject.

The bigger question, however, is this: Are we as humans willing to admit that a designer exits and worship Him? Seven day creation or evolution aside, will we make the designer our God, or will we ignore Him?