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The Night Watch

4

The Chicago Incident

(An Ongoing Saga by Steven R. Harrel)

(Taken from concepts found in “This Side of the Whirlwind”)

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017, early morning…

Mike Maylers and TS Whirlwind arrived early to Chicago’s University campus.  Without question the two friends knew they were behind enemy lines here at Chicago U.  They arrived early to ensure they could set up for Mike’s presentation in Polonsky Hall before opposition could arrive and create obstacles.

According to Dr. Maylers, presentations at Universities were well worth the troubles they evoked given the opportunities they also provided for networking and connections and meeting scientists he would not otherwise likely meet.  “Chicago U,” he said, “provided just such an environment with several Scientists’ writings suggesting friendly advocacy towards Intelligent Design (ID).” Still, opposition was likely and even expected in these bastions of Darwinian obstinacy.

Just two week earlier protests on this very campus, though in a different Hall, stifled Doctor Fredric Tour, a Professor of Chemistry and Theoretical Mathematics from the University of Harvard.  Doctor Tour’s presentation focused on Nano-Technologies, graphene nanoribbons and some of the more recent scientific developments in science including both Biological and non-Biological Systems; pointedly, Dr. Tour’s areas of scientific research in many cases robustly supported Intelligent Design, leastwise with regards to the origins of first life and or proto-cellular development.

During a recent conversation Doctor Tour shared how he had planned to debunk the 1952 Miller-Urey experiment during his exposé at Chicago U.  Dr. Tour went so far as to say, “I was going to discuss the inner and outer cell membranes showing how neither of the two systems, for they are not the same, could possibly have evolved on earth over the short period of earth’s existence!  In fact, we don’t know how they actually evolved.”

Mike asks as he’s finalizing his book displays, “TS, were you aware the number of Scientists who now back ID has nearly doubled over the past few years?”

TS glanced over at Mike, “I think I’ve heard you say that once or twice Mike.”

Mike ignored TS’ sarcasm. “Sadly, there is still great resistance in the Scientific Community to anyone who is not committed to Darwinian principles,” Mike glances over his glasses at TS, “There’s just a lot of irritate Darwinian proponents.”

Cutting in, TS joking fains surprise, “You mean they have trouble with subjects like, oh I don’t know, say ‘Origin of life’ or ‘Origins of the Physical Universe?’”

“Ha, ha, funny; still, it isn’t funny how often those who are trained to open their minds to infinite possibilities are close-minded while supposedly training others to open their minds.  I mean, how can you teach someone to do something you personally are incapable of doing?  How can they teach others to open their minds if they just can’t seem to broaden their own idyllic conventions to at least include the possibility of Intelligent Design?”

TS just nodded his head and knowingly muttered, “Um hum.”

TS and Dr. Maylers batted conversation back and forth allaying tensions in natter.

Both men were hoping today’s event would them the chance to speak with a few specific University Scientists.  Michael had high hopes of talking with Professors Tim Behe or Barbara Forrest co-authors of the book, “Darwin’s Flubber”.

“Hey Mike, as I was going over some of your stats, I could see what you meant when you said scientists don’t want to read your materials or allow your materials in the hands of other scientists.  I read just a few commentaries from individuals who seem to be blindly ensconced in Neo-Darwinian concepts; man oh man, were you right about the scientific community being overwhelmingly prejudicial against ID.  I don’t see how we’re going to reach even one of these Professors if they all have similar attitudes?  They’re gonna need to be somewhat amenable towards a Creator or Intelligent Designer before we have a chance at making headway.”

Mike replied, “I hear ya, Bubba.”

TS smiled at Mike’s familiar if odd response.

A silence fell over Polonsky Hall as the last patrons were being seated and the first guest speaker was introduced.  The events Mediator, Professor of Neurobiology Patty Mason, began the evening by introducing the event’s guest speakers starting with Michael Maylers, a proponent of Irreducible Complexity and Intelligent Design (ID).

“Good evening everyone and welcome to Chicago U and Polonsky Hall.  We are fortunate this evening to have several accomplished speakers; speakers of renown and noted premier specialists in their chosen fields.  To my right,” Professor Mason points to the Pro-ID table, “Dr. Michael Maylers; next to Dr. Maylers we have Professors Johnathan Begee from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colorado and to his right Professor Emeritus William Bright from the University of Arizona in Tucson, presenting evidence on Intelligent Design and his new book, The Deluded Darwinian.

Tonight’s first speaker will be Dr. Michael Maylers, a Professor of Science receiving degrees in Microbiology from Harvard University, a Philosophy of Science from Berkeley and another degree in Biochemical Applications and Evolutionary Processes earned at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.”

“Professor Michael Maylers is also the President and Founder for The Culture Science Development Center (CSDC) and Co-Founder of The Science and Discovery Society (SDS) both very prodigious academic institutions initially established in Tucson, Arizona.”

“As you’ve all seen in the Hall’s foyer, Dr. Maylers has also written several books relating to the Philosophy of Science, Origins of the Universe and Intelligent Design.  Please give a warm welcome for Dr. Michael Maylers.”

The audience welcomes Dr. Maylers with a respectful though somewhat reserved round of applause.

Dr. Maylers walks up and grips the podium with both hands.

“Let’s kick off tonight’s presentation with me asking a couple questions.

Please, a show of hands from everyone who plays the Lottery, even occasionally. A show of hand’s please. Thank you.  Thank you!  Keep ‘em up, thank you.  Woe, we’ve got a gambling problem here in the greater Chicago area, folks!”

Dr. Maylers’ comment elicited a smattering of laughter and applause.

“Please keep your hands up for a moment.  Now, everyone, please look around you and see the many fellow Chicagoans who also enjoy playing the Lottery.  Not uncommon, is it? As we can see, there are many people who believe they have a chance to beat the odds and win the big bucks?  Fun, right?  No harm, no foul.  Hope is a normal part of human condition.”

Happy murmurs rose from the audience.

“As I’m sure many of you are aware, the odds for any individual in this room to win tonight’s Lottery are immense.  Not impossible, but enormous.  Would you like to know what those odds are for tonight?”

The crowd gave another light approving applause.

“On average,” Michael continued, “to win the US Power Ball Lotto tonight, the odds would be approximately 1 in 302 million for each ticket you’d purchase.  Normally, you’d have a 1 in 300 million chance of winning whatever sum of money is up for that night’s Lotto.  The odds aren’t too bad, really.”

Dr. Maylers continued, “Okay, another show of hands please.  If you knew the odds went up from 1 in 300 million to a whopping 1 in a trillion times a trillion chance… who would rush out right now and purchase a dozen tickets?  Anyone?  No one?  Smart crowd, I see.”

Again, a murmur rose from the crowd.

Jax took Julia’s hand, “You ready?”

“Not just yet, Jax!  I think this part is kind of interesting.  Can we wait just a few minutes, please?  I want to see where this is leading.” Julia’s pleading eyes won the day.

“Now consider these odds,” Dr. Maylers walks to the edge of the platform and seems to address the patrons in the first few rows, “the chance for a Single-Living-Cell to achieve that spark of life, even in a swarm of trillions upon trillions of non-organic molecules regardless of the combination or the medium or state they might be in… AND then to randomly combine in such a fashion or combination as to produce a Single-Living-Cell, even once,” Dr. Maylers raises his hands and voice, “even once, equates to the staggering mathematical number of, 1 in 10 to the 194th power; give or take a power or two.”

A sense of awe and disbelief whispered through the assemblage.

“Think about that folks.  You know, Mathematicians from around the globe have computed the maximum number of possible events which our world could have produced in the history of our universe; that is, since the advent of the Big Bang to present.  Here’s what they came up with: every event that could possibly have taken place throughout the history of our universe since the beginning of time and going forward until today, right now, equates to ONLY a mere 10 to the 139th exponent.” Michael raises his voice again, “That’s 10 with the number 139 in the upper right hand position over the number ten.  That’s an incredibly, vast, large number.  For most, that’s a number beyond imagining.”

Michael smiles and walks back to the front of the podium.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Michael extends his hands to the crowd and then retracts them to his chest, “the number of possible events in the history of our universe is smaller than the odds for a single living cell spontaneously generating from non-organic, that’s non-living matter.   You know, chemicals and atoms and enzymes, stumbling and bumbling obliviously in some primordial ooze and then,” Michael shouts, “POW – Life!”

“We are talking about non-living materials or elements such as Beryllium, Helium, thymine or cytosine, Guanine or Adenine.  These, as we all know, are the elements known to be the building blocks of life.  And even with all the building blocks at the ready, and the environment perfect it would still be ridiculously, beyond unlikely, for a significant combination to produce a Single-Living-Cell stable and self-replicating.”

Dr. Maylers runs his hand through his hair, “What I’m telling you would be true even if the elements were in perfect supply and perfect conditions and in the best possible primordial pool the world ever had to offer.”  Michael shakes his head, “The sheer odds of these elements randomly, ignorantly forming recombinantly into DNA or RNA or folding into Proteins and then somehow forming into any appearance of a living cell is vast and beyond numbers larger than the number of events which have taken place since the Big Bang of our universe.”

Dr. Maylers points to the screen, “That number you see there is 10 to the 194th power or exponent.  That’s ten to the 194th which is beyond the most massive number you’ve ever truly conceived.”

Dr. Maylers pulls out a string of Lotto tickets and shouts, “So who’s looking for tickets?  Tickets for sale ladies and gents, who wants to buy one of my tickets in this great lottery of life?  What, no takers?  I didn’t think so.”

Jax started to jump up from and signal their protest to begin.  He realized he was actually looking forward to getting rowdy and was excited about shouting down this pompous speaker; Jax never liked this guy’s look.  Still, when Jax started again, Julia placed her hand across his chest, and said, “Jax, hold off a little bit longer, please, I think he’s almost done with this part.  Don’t you find it interesting.”

Jax was stumped, he’d never seen Julia find anything in the ID crowd interesting, “Okay, babe.” He said, “But, we’ve gotta get started really soon.”  Jax then turned and once again signaled his compatriots to hold their position.  He looked at his friends and mouthed the words, “Just a little longer.

Though several guys in his group seemed to balk at the idea Jax’ still lead.

Dr. Maylers turned towards the table where the University’s Professors were seated.  During the nights presentation many of the University’s tenured Professors were planning on being present.  The idea was to offer descent or ‘clarity’ where needed, or to question dubious philosophies proffered by the ID Guest-Speakers.

Dr. Maylers suddenly called upon Dean Dag Miles, “Dean… Professor Miles.  So far, is there anything I’ve stated that is not true?”

Dean Miles initially stumbles over his answer, “Well, huh, no. Of course, you haven’t really presented much – just yet.”

Dr. Maylers smiled.  Just the response he was hoping for, “True, Dean Miles.  All I’ve offered the crowd is the knowledge that the chances of ‘life’ springing from ‘Non-Organic’ matter, you know, carbon and hydrogen and helium, without the assistance of some Intelligent Designer, is about as likely as… oh… I’d say, about one in a trillion times a trillion times another trillion chances – Less Likely to Take Place’ than the total number of events that have taken place in the history of our universe! Yep.  You’re right.  I haven’t said anything yet, have I?”

It was time!  Jax sprang to his feet along with nearly 300 fellow protesters who were just about to begin their chants; when suddenly, Dr. Maylers returned to his table and quickly sat down.  Dr. Maylers then turned to Dean Miles and said, “You’re up Professor Miles.”

Dean Miles stutters for a moment, “I, um, don’t really have anything to offer at this time Dr. Maylers.  Our panel is here tonight to offer opposing views to your panel’s presentations when applicable.  We are not here to proffer our own hypothesizes or presentations.”

Mike smiles knowingly and says, “Fair enough,” and remains silent.

Professor Patty Mason, the events Mediator then stands to her feet and addresses the audience, “Looks like it’s time for Dr. Johnathan Begee, Professor of Zoology with PhDs in Cellular Structures, Micro-Biology and Evolutionary Sciences.  Please welcome Professor Johnathan Begee to The U.”

A light applause welcomed Professor Begee as the student protesters returned to their seats.

Professor Begee leans on the podium and clears his throat, “The direction Dr. Maylers has taken us tonight leads us to some fantastical odds. Yes?  Now consider,” a photo pops up on the big screen and presents a combination lock bearing five rotary dials.

Professor Begee uses his laser-pointer to highlight the lock’s dials, “A lock similar to this one you’re seeing on screen… should take a thief some time to crack, maybe a day, maybe a week?  That’s five dials with ten numbers per dial equating to ten to the fifth or 100,000 combinations.  That might take ‘em a while.”

Professor Begee clears his throat again, “Here’s where we’re heading, DNA has approximately 3.2 billion base pairs with 4 nucleotide s to choose from per base-pair selection; if a combination lock with just five dials and ten numbers per dial equates to 100,000 possible combinations… how big a number do you suppose we’d have with DNA’s potential combinations?  Well folks, it’s that number you see up there on the screen; that’s 3.3554432e+47.  That will require a lot of zeros, don’t you think?”

Jax’ and Julia’s group jumped to their feet and began their chant.

With a questioning look, Professor Begee clears his throat, raises his right hand and then slowly his right index-finger and looks directly into Jax’ face.

Jax’ pauses just long enough for Professor Begee to turn his back on the crowd and walk towards Chicago U’s Faculty table.  The audience grows still as Professor Begee addresses Professor Hadly; Dean of Science and Synthetic Organic Chemistry at the U.

“Dean Hadly, would you be so kind as to explain to our audience the odds for a non-organic environment to produce nucleotides and folded proteins, enzymes and of course the polymer backbone of sugars and phosphates required for a single DNA or RNA strand?  Thank you, you are eminently more qualified to make this understandable to the crowd than I.”

Professor Begee then cleared his throat once again and returned to his table.

And so the evening went.  Proponents for ID dropping quick comments before turning the crowd over to the Deans of Science or Philosophy or Organic Chemistry or Doctors of Theoretical Micro-Biology under the auspices or oospecies of Chicago U.

With each protest the Guest Speakers for Intelligent Design and or Origins of Life simply vacated the podium and offered place for a faculty members to take the podium.  Of course, the Professor of Chicago U would embellish or attempt to avoid answering the questions but eventually each Home-Speaker was forced to bear out the facts.

Back and forth the debate continued as those supporting Intelligent Design made a quick point followed by 300 or so protestors jumping to their feet.  At just the appropriate moment, the ID Guest-Speaker would hand off the podium like a hot baton to the Chicago U’s lineup of Darwinian Professors.  It was a fun spectacle for the ID people.

Finally, as the evening wound to a close, Jax, Julia, Hamza and Kali were spent and out of gas.  While sporting matching T-shirts, the protestors shouted down the Professors of Chicago U, crying out, “No more lies!  No more religion!  No more lies!  No more religion!”

If only they had a generator?

“It was glorious TS, just glorious!” Mike laughed, “I’m going to call this one ‘The Chicago Incident.’”

“Cool by me, Mike!” TS bowed out… 

(Watch for the continuing Saga!)