Of God, Bananas, Dinosaurs, and Chickens
The humble banana, proof there is a god?
I came across a youtube clip that I thought was both interesting and funny. Ray Comfort, and evangelistic Christian of some note claims that the “perfect” design of the banana proves that it indeed was designed by God for human use. Thus of course proving that God exists and that atheists are wrong. Mr Comfort refers to the banana as:
At first view one might suspect he is joking, but no, Mr Comfort is quite serious about his banana argument. There are so many holes in it that I don’t know where to begin. The most obvious one is that the banana we see above is the result of thousands of years of human breeding, a wild banana is a nasty, seed filled thing that only remotely resembles the banana above, and would hardly be called a perfect fruit. Lots of people are having fun with this, but heres one that is particularly amusing:
All I can say is that I don’t think Mr Comfort is helping his cause any, unless his cause is to bring particularly stupid people into his flock. I’m trying not to be disrespectful, and I may not be the best Christian, but I’m insulted by Mr Comfort’s ridiculous arguments.
Moving right along this fine day, breaking news on the dinosaur front. As some may know, a few years back it was found that some large dinosaur bones contain soft tissue that apparently was unfossilized. How this could be so in a 68 million year old bone is quite mysterious and has been the subject of much debate and research, and since the process of fossilization itself is not understood, it’s probably going to remain mysterious in the foreseeable future.
Recent research has shown that the collagen in these T Rex bones does indeed contain intact proteins. These are the oldest intact proteins ever discovered in fact. More importantly, these proteins are essentially the same proteins that are found in chicken bones. People have suspected for quite some time that dinosaurs and birds were closely related, this is the first observation that is based on direct chemical evidence and not just structural similarities, so the case for the chickens in your yard being dinosaur relatives just got a whole lot stronger.
As an aside, a lot of people (including scientists) are having a hard time getting their head around the idea that proteins and other soft tissue could be preserved intact for millions of years. In fact the whole idea wasn’t even considered remotely possible so no one had even looked before, the soft tissue was first discovered in 2003 by accident when a large T Rex bone was cut in half to fit it into a helicopter. It’s going to take a more research to convince the skeptics that this is a real phenomena, but this latest makes the case considerably stronger.
The point I wish to make here is that reality exists by its own rules, human conceptions of what “makes sense” have no bearing on what is really out there. Our conception of what makes sense may even blind us to the possibilities out there, as it did in this case. This research could have begin decades ago, but no one ever thought to cut open an intact large fossilized dinosaur bone because they knew all they would find is fossilized bone. Obviously there are many other discoveries like this awaiting us in places no one thought to look before. This discovery is more proof that the universe is grander than our limited imaginations. The map is not the territory.
The ultimately mysterious universe may not be proof of the existence of God either, but for me it works a whole lot better than Mr Comfort’s banana argument.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is central to illustrating the post and is not being used for profit. Image © 2004-2007 Cepolina photo)