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Design (Origins Part I)

April 7, 2008

I have been dabbling in knitting design (for evidence see here, here or here)and I have come to the conclusion that designing is actually hard work. It takes a significant amount of creativity and thought to convert an idea into a concrete item and then to put that information into a format that someone else can understand and appreciate. It is not something that happens by accident or without a bit of effort. Yet, there are those who say just the opposite about the world in which we live. There are those who think that the beauties and wonders of this universe are just happy accidents that occurred over billions and billions of years. But is that really true?

If you will kindly indulge me, I would like to share with you my journey to a deeper understanding of the origins of the universe. This has been a long and often difficult process for me. One that frequently required to rethink what I had been taught. Since this was a rather lengthy process, I will not attempt to write it all in one post.

First, let me give tell you a little bit about my background. I was reared in a semi-religious home. My family was sporadic in church attendance so while I had been given a reasonable exposure to the Bible, it was not something that was deeply ingrained in me. When I went to college, I, for the most part, gave up religion. I found “churches” to be full of hypocrites and I came to doubt most of what I was taught as a child.

Throughout elementary and high school my favorite subject was always science so when I went to college, science was the natural course of study for me. Though my emphasis changed several times while I was in college (shifting from a medical to a research orientation), my major field of study was always science (biology/math major; chemistry minor). There was a precision and order to the sciences that I found very appealing. There was a beauty to the way one branch of science interacted with another that I found fascinating.

The course of study in any science field is pretty strenuous. There aren’t a lot of “goof-off “ classes and most of the allowed electives are science electives. So most semesters, I took at least one biology, one chemistry and one math and usually one other science (physics, geology, etc). Biology, being the science of life, gave me more opportunity to study the how life began, how species are interrelated and how it all fits together.

The rigorousness of a biology program doesn’t provide one much time to digest what is learned. Mostly, you were stuffing the information into your head as quickly as possible in order to spit it back out on the tests. There simply wasn’t time to question things, because you were too busy learning a of myriad facts – phyla, genera, species, bones, muscles, tissues, organs, etc. Your head was so full of facts that there was little room for logical reasoning. It was in this environment that I learned the theory of evolution and the general theories on the origin of the universe.

I will begin by explaining in simple terms the origin of the universe from the biological standpoint. According to what I was taught, the universe began when a ball of matter inexplicably exploded causing a great release of energy and sending bits of itself spiraling outward throughout the universe. Some bits of this matter formed stars, others formed planets, still others formed asteroids or other various space rocks. As the spiraling continued, some of the bits of miscellaneous space debris began developing orbits around the various stars, giving rise to solar systems. Through a series of random occurrences, the earth developed an orbit around its star (our sun) at a location that was neither too close nor too far from its source of heat and light. That unique location allowed the formation of certain organic (carbon-based) compounds in a sort of primordial soup. That group of chemicals was then radically changed by some major dynamic event (a lightning strike, for instance) to become the first living organism. Over a period of hundreds of billions of years, this organism evolved from a single cell creature to a multi-celled organism and eventually, through a combination of random mutation and natural selection, into the thousands of species that we see today. That is the short version.

There is some biological evidence that would seem to support this theory. For example, the similarity of features between one species and another would seem to suggest that they were once related. The bone structure of the frog, for example, is remarkable like that of the human. A pig fetus develops in a manner similar to a human. Is this proof that these radically different species developed from common ancestors? Or is there another possible solution?

In my study of knitting design, I have come to realize that I can recognize certain style elements of a particular designer. I can look at a pattern and often know who the designer is based on the overall style or certain unique design elements of the item. Likewise, there is also a similarity between the different projects of architects, painters, sculptors, etc. Is it not possible then, that the reason there are so many similarities between one species of animal and another is simply that they had the same designer? Is it possible that rather than the elaborate theories of evolution, that it is possible that the earth could actually have been created exactly the way the Bible claims?

We will explore these ideas in the coming posts. I am hoping that you will enter these studies with an open mind. I admit to a certain amount of bias when I began searching for these answers. As I college student, I tended to accept the word of my professors without question. I hope that you will enter into this study with the desire to follow where the evidence leads.

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