Friday, September 4, 2009

The Miracle of a cellular telephone

In response to this post, I propose the following:

The cellular telephone is a modern man-made miracle. People on opposite sides of the earth can talk to each other as though they are in the next room. The device is made up of tens of thousands of interconnected microscopic parts, that work together with a global antenna network, to allow people to communicate. A few additional observations about this miracle:

1. 200 years ago such a device was unfathomable. If two distant people claimed to communicate with each other, it could only be through spirits or divine intervention.

2. As far as I know, no god had ever succeeded in making a cell phone.

The fact that JP cannot fathom an artificial liver has no bearing on the question of whether or not the liver is "divine" or natural. 200 years ago flying wasn't possible, and a modern jetliner would have been unimaginable.

The liver and other body organs are indeed remarkable structures, whose complexity we are still understanding. Yet ultimately JP's argument boils down to the watchmaker analogy, which I have already rebutted in a previous post.


Garnel Ironheart said...

However, I could counter:
The cell phone, for all its amazing technology, is simply technology. No, 200 years ago no one could have conceived of it, but 200 years ago they still didn't have electricity.
Heck, even 20 years ago cell phones were the size of a brick and came with carrying cases since snapping them to your belt would have given you bursitis.
But in truth, the underlying principles of the cell phone are quite simple - circuitry, electricity, etc. The technology is advanced but based on old principles.
On the other hand, despite all the amazing advances in biology including genetics over the last 50 years we are still no closer to creating life than we were 200 years ago. We can sequence entire genomes but can't create a single artificial cell. The major of manufacturing life continues to elude us.
For all the complexity of a cell phone, it pales next to a simple mammalian brain, never mind ours. And I think that was his point.

Anonymous said...

and since we cant fathom it, god must have created it. and he revealed himslef to a small group of people on a mountain inthe desert, and gave us hundred of useless laws, and requires us to live in poverty and shukle over meaningless talmudic passages.

going from point A to point B is just too rediculous for a (fair and reasonable) human mind to accept.

if you are going to use logic, you need to follow it to where it leads you and not pick and choose


Garnel Ironheart said...

Who says we can't fathom it? We can fathom life, tell the difference between a living and dead cell, etc. We just can't reproduce it.

And who said anything about poverty? Thank God, I don't live that way and most of the frum Jews I know don't either.

Anonymous said...

"We just can't reproduce it."


"And who said anything about poverty?"

seriously? have read any gedolim stories? have you listened to the "greatest rabbis of our generation" talk about living THE ideal life? Have you ever met a 20 year old brainwashed kid who gets back from learning for a year in Israel describing his new life goal of learning for the rest of his life and "the abishter will provide" have you been to mea shearim? lakewood? bnei brak?

"I don't live that way and most of the frum Jews I know don't either"

and you call yourself a true jew? feh....


Anonymous said...

The really important concept is "engineering," which for JP automatically implies an engineer. As has been said, JP's logic here involves the watchmaker analogy as well as the argument from incredulity/improbability - i.e., "there's no way the processes of evolution could have spawned something so complex as the liver over millions of years."

But JP never addresses the problems his logic raises. OK, if we consider that the liver, or the various systems in complex organisms, were engineered, what does that mean? In very simple terms it probably means some planning or foresight as well as some building and implementation.

Well OK, then what evidence do we have that unambiguously determines engineering?

And here is a big problem for JP. We don't have any evidence that clearly indicates planning or manufacturing. Yes, design is always open as a possibility but to date it hasn't been something provable with any degree of certainty.

All JP has for his argument is a very sketchy opinion that it seems improbable to him that evolutionary processes could have produced a liver, a heart, and so on.

And this is where he stays.


DrJ said...

Garnel- a single atom is also extremely complex and not completely understood. And although now we can smash atoms, as far as I know nobody has created an atom from scratch. When looking at the atom we can even infer "purpose" to its various components and forces. Life is more complex but it leaves essentially the same puzzle: how did it get here?
And that's what we all argue about...

all phone said...

Yes, I agree The cellular telephone is a modern man-made miracle. thanks for your information