A Little Philosophy

I have a good friend from way back when I lived in Tallahassee, and when I was associated with Florida State University. He is a brilliant organic chemist. He’s also somewhat clairvoyant. He’s the one who read my tarot so many years ago and predicted my future with great accuracy. I just now sent him an email in response to one he sent me. I explained my ideas in more detail than he would need because I decided to post it here as well. It has to do with miracles. The most definitive argument for the existence of God is the evidence of miracles and whether or not they exist. Here’s what I wrote to him:

Thanks for your letter. I have just a few comments. 

Concerning miracles, I divide them into two different classes. The first class, a class one miracle, I something which is contrary to the laws of physics.  I an occurrence seems to break one of our physical laws, it doesn’t mean the we’re witnessing a miracle, it means that our physics is wrong. If Joshua really made the sun stand still in the sky,  then Mr. Newton needs to rethink some of his precepts. The short answer is that class one miracles don’t happen.

A class two miracle is one that almost to infinitely impossible, but nonetheless occurs. Consider one divided by a billion to the billionth power. Class two miracles are all around us. You probably never studied statistical physics. Professor Desloge taught the course. And, incidentally, he was the best instructor I ever had. He made a very difficult subject easily understandable. 

What makes matter distribute itself the way it does? The classic example is why, in a room full of air which is a mixture of atoms and molecules, God knows how many (It’s not hard to calculate the number given the volume of the room and atmospheric pressure, but that’s not the point), why isn’t all the oxygen one one side of the room, the nitrogen on the south side, the water vapor on the left, etc? The answer is determined by a formula called the Grand Canonical Ensemble. This essentially tells you the the most probable state is when all the particles are evenly distributed. That is, starting with one possible distribution, exchange two identical particles, say two nitrogen atoms. This is a second second distribution, but it is identical to the first. If you count all the possible distributions, the most probable is the one which has the most identical states. All the atoms are evenly distributed. It’s like when you mix, say, flour and sugar. The mixture becomes evenly distributed. there’s no way to stir it so that all the flour is on one side of the bowl and the sugar on the other. If it did happen, that would be what I call a class two miracle.

Now consider yourself. Consider billions of galaxies each containing billions of solar systems, not withstanding all the other kinds of stuff out there. Consider the uncountable number of atoms and molecules in the universe. And yet you exist. It’s impossible. You are a class two miracle.

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