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The Problem with Randomness

I was working on my bike a couple of weeks ago and in lifting it onto a rack where I could move the chain freely, I put my right arm under the seat, which has springs. As I lifted the bike, the springs painfully pinched the underside of my arm.

Immediately a large, ugly bruise formed, a dark red, nearly black blotch surrounded by lighter red, about an inch and a half in diameter. Obviously, blood vessels under the skin had burst, forming a reservoir of blood.

But now, days later, the bruise’s color has changed, indicating that the body is repairing itself. The immune system kicked in and white blood cells got to work. After a few more days, I expect the entire bruise to turn yellowish, then after a few weeks, the bruise should disappear altogether.

Much More Complex

I looked up this process online, and, of course, it’s much more complex than I’ve described. But it’s incredible, really, that this phenomenon occurs.

I’m reminded of Psalm 139, thought to have been written 1,000 years before Christ: “It was you who created my inmost self, and put me together in my mother’s womb; for all these mysteries I thank you: for the wonder of myself, for the wonder of your works.”

Critics may take issue with this decidedly pre-scientific point of view, citing the theory of evolution and asking in what sense God “created my being.” But I accept the theory of evolution. In fact, it makes the whole process of creation much more intelligible and credible. I see no conflict with the idea that God is the ultimate author of life. 

The fly in the ointment, especially for some believers and non-believers, to fully accept the theory of evolution is randomness, it seems to me. It’s counter-intuitive (maybe like belief in God is to non-believers). Here are a couple of items that illustrate what I mean.


“Our vascular network is … miraculous,” writes Peter Attia, M.D., in his book, “Outlive.” “(It’s) a web of veins, arteries, and capillaries that, if stretched out and laid end to end, would wrap around the earth more than twice (about sixty thousand miles, if you’re keeping score). Each individual blood vessel is a marvel of material science and engineering, capable of expanding and contracting dozens of times per minute, allowing vital substances to pass through its membranes, and accommodating huge swings in fluid pressure, with minimal fatigue.

“No material created by man can even come close to matching this. If one vessel is injured, others regrow to take its place, ensuring continuous blood flow throughout the body.”

Part of this vascular process is on the “macro” level. You can observe it, or at least part of it. But what happens on the “micro” level is even more impressive.

“…Leading researchers now realize that, depending upon how the cell processes the information stored in DNA, a single gene may contribute to the production of thousands of proteins and other gene products (such as regulatory and structural RNA molecules),” writes geophysicist and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer in Signature in the Cell. “The cell also uses genetic information to produce critical RNA molecules that do not undergo translation, but instead direct the processing of other genetic information.

“Further, during the translation process, additional processes edit the chains of amino acids produced before they fold into their final functional forms.”

Like a Computer Program

Quoting Bill Gates, Meyer writes: “DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.”

The elegance and efficiency of the natural world make it hard to believe that it all happened randomly. It would be as I’ve read somewhere, and have mentioned before in these blogs, “The Big Bang happened, and it resulted in the Library of Congress.”

I can relate to the author of Psalm 8: “When I look at the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have established; what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

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