Monday, 20 April 2009


We need to pause, more often than we do, to ponder the state of human intelligence. Too often we think we know more than we do and we all love a good discussion to display our knowledge, so tag along while I pretend to know what I am talking about. First, remember that life exists only within a tiny 12-mile air and water depth on this globe and that naked humans can survive in about half of 1% of this - immeasurably less than our constituent atoms.

Now, consider the Evolution vs Intelligent-Design argument. Evolutionists have the facts but cannot explain why. Intelligent-Design people have few facts but believe they know why. But, have they been looking for a Supreme Being in the wrong place? Perhaps, instead of the skies, they should look inside ourselves into the world of the very small, even though the human brain is not yet wired to understand the fuzzy, cloud-like atom where real power lurks. We have found strong and weak forces there, but even the weak force is trillions of times stronger than gravity. This is power that not even a hydrogen bomb can fully exploit. Can we even begin to understand it, even with computer intelligence?

There are 45 billion billion molecules in every cubic centimetre and at least double that for atoms which are extremely durable for billions of years and recycle after our deaths. Every atom has been through several suns and through millions of organisms, so it is quite probable that millions of your atoms once made up a sun, a leaf, a slug, a dinosaur, Cleopatra, Attila the Hun, or Eric the Red. It does take atoms time to recycle so do not look for any recent celebrities in you.

Increasingly, we are finding that the tiniest forms of life exhibit what can be interpreted as intelligence. They match our intelligence in nullifying our defences. Human intelligence saved millions from starvation by developing wheat strains resistant to rust, but now rust has re-designed itself (with intelligence?) into a new fungus strain, Ug99, that surfaced in Uganda in 1999 and has now spread via Kenya, Ethiopia, and Yemen to Egypt and Iran, threatening wheat crops so vital to millions. Teeming bacteria, that need to disperse, will launch themselves (with intelligence?) into the atmosphere where they latch onto dust particles and assist in the condensation of water vapour to form water droplets or snow flakes that will deposit them back to earth in far-off locations. Our bodies house 3 million bacteria per square inch. What does our behaviour and intelligence owe to them? We do have 100 billion brain cells and 100 billion nerve cells that do communicate with our livers and toes but neglect to give us any summaries of the conversations. Yet, if they are part of us, why do they not inform us? Their few pain or pleasure messages are insufficient for our curiosity. But, then, we do not even know what "us" is.

We have done wonders to reach into the vastness of space, travelling back in time for over 13 billion years, discovering in the process that we are aware of only 4% of what actually exists. We are capable of theorizing on “dark matter” that could be composed of WIMPS (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles), trillions of which must pass through the earth every second. And, we are capable of building instruments such as the French-Swiss Large Hadron Collider which, later this year, may detect them. While looking deeply into the vastness of space we can also look deeply into the vastness of atoms, finding over 150 different particles with 100 more suspected, divided among quarks, leptons, and bosons. Then there are DUNNOS - Dark Unknown Non-reflective Non-detectible Objects Somewhere.

All this ability reveals our inadequate intelligence. We do have a huge repertoire of beliefs that we call religions which demand faith which is why we have so many of them. Humans have a longing to know why but too many of us are so mentally lazy that we accept the arguments, gods, and customs of selected others with insufficient questioning. This laziness, or selfishness, is not restricted to the least intelligent among us but flourishes among the highest intellects. Scientists, economists, politicians, and the like are noted for holding in disdain the arguments of fellow “intellectuals”.

If, within each of us, human or otherwise, liver cells, kidney cells, blood cells, nerve cells, and so many other cells can co-operate with each other and with all those bacteria and atomic particles to function together while maintaining a defensive immune system, to deny their innate intelligence is folly in the extreme. To go along with E = MC2 we need other formula: Intelligence needs to be linked with consciousness and also with neurons, synapses, and surroundings. If a cell can take, or borrow, bits of DNA from different cells and if they can evolve to flourish in formerly-deadly environments then there has to be an intelligence of which we are totally ignorant.
Would you mind looking into all this, then explain it to me? PER ARDUA AD ASTRA ET ATOMUS.

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