full frontal nerdity.

Greetings, salutations, and other superfluous felicitations!

First, by way of introduction, you may call me Rex Nerdorum. I am the curator of Full Frontal Nerdity. I am a recent college graduate (where I met drbolte) and now spend my time as an unemployed physicist and author. Politically, I consider myself a radical militant centrist. I have what I consider to be a wide range of interests. Most of my interests seem to be where two or more interests overlap…

I must now give one big caveat: I do not write about the same things as drbolte. I love her blog, it is a vital part of my daily interwebbing. I, however, cannot write about the same things. I cannot make an entry about what I did today and make it interesting. Today I woke up, read a book, did some research on agriculture around the world, ate at my mom’s house, went to the gym, wrote a tiny and very inaccurate program to model populations during an ice age, wrote several pages in one of my books, and now I am writing this entry. Done. See, not a real blog entry. I had human contact with my parents, and that about sums it up. I cannot even write about my feelings! As a male, of course, I have none.

So, what’s left? Well, you’ll get a taste of that here. As I said, I enjoy it when two or more interests overlap. Well, I am interested in Science, Politics, and Religion, so here we go!

Everyone always says there are two things you never talk about over dinner: Politics and Religion. People who know me often add Science to the list, I don’t have any idea why. I have never been much of one to care about societal norms, so I violate these rules on a whim. If you do subscribe to those rules, stop eating and then we won’t be discussing this over dinner, will we?

Well, it looks like I’ve got a lot of ground to cover here. So much so, if fact, that I believe I am going to make this into four posts. I will make the other three on my own blog. First up: Science + Religion = Theology…

I was talking to a friend of mine recently. He was a fellow Physics major at the University of Florida. He was also the son of a Baptist minister. We were talking about Quantum Statistics, and that line of conversation inevitably brought us to religion. Hey, that really is inevitable if you study Quantum Statistics! Anyway, he declared that believers in evolution cannot really be Christians. My first reaction was a silent, “Who are you to declare who is a real Christian?” but that would have started a whole new kind of argument.

But I did think about his statement. I, personally, tend to say, “I am a Physicist, I do not have to know how God created Life; go bother a Biologist.” I do believe Science is a useful tool for getting closer to the truth. So, how could I connect Faith to Darwinism? I ended up thinking of this thought experiment:

Say you are a computer programmer. Many of you may be computer programmers, and likely most of you have done some basic computer programming, possibly on your own blog (working with HTML) or in Excel or somesuch. Hopefully, you do not need much experience programming to relate to this example. Anyway, you’re a computer programmer. You have a problem you need to solve. How do you do it?

Well, you could ditch the computer entirely. Yes, you do know how to program, very well I might add, but say you decide to use a pencil, paper, and a four function calculator. Well, that would be time consuming and, well, dumb.

Perhaps you could write a simple program to help you with some of the repetitive parts of this problem. The computer will work on the problem for a few minutes, then come to a point where it cannot go further and will ask for more input from you. Well, this takes more prep time, but less repetitive calculations on your part.

Finally, you could write an amazing program, one which automatically corrects errors and finds important pieces of information, and then exports the solution file directly into a colorful jpeg infographic. Yes, this would be a multi-thousand line beast to program, but it sure would be satisfying to just press enter to get it started, then lean back and watch the results come in.

And now, the metaphor: The first solution is the equivalent of God building the universe from the ground (vacuum?) up, complete with all the species of plants and animals we will ever know. In other words, strict Creationism.

The second is more of Intelligent Design. God lets the universe operate for a while, and when biology gets stuck on something, He comes in and twiddles some ribosomes and we have an evolutionary jump.

And the last option… God could have, for all we know, set all the physical constants and parameters way back at the Big Bang just as a programmer writes code. God would have known all the potential effects of any change made to anything in the universe, even way back then. He could have written the very laws of evolution right into the fabric of reality, all those 13.6 billion years ago.

I tend to think the last solution is the most elegant.

But what does that matter? I have no idea How God did it, and only an inkling of Why. I am certainly not saying that God must have chosen option 3 (or 1 or 2), I am just saying He could have. I have outlined the three options I, as a lowly human, can think up, but even that is worth diddly-squat. He could have chosen a fourth option, or a fifth, or an eleventy-billionth option! In fact, I would be heartily surprised if He did use one of the simple options I thought up.

And so I believe that a Christian can also be a Darwinist, and vice versa. I still hold out judgment on whether or not I am one, too.

Come check out my blog [drbolte: I think now would be a good time for another link. How about here?] for Religion + Politics = Theocracy, Science + Politics = Technocracy, and Science + Religion + Politics = Idiocy. Thanks for reading!

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