Inadequate Answers to the Big Questions

Wednesday 20th February

I nearly decided to call this piece ‘Engulfed in Mist – 3’.but it might not have got your interest. So, the big questions and why the answers are so inadequate.  Why are people still starving in a world of plenty? What is the meaning of life?  Why do the keys on sardine tins never work? And most important of all why is their life at all?

I watched the charismatic Brian Cox last night explaining why size matters, as if his middle name was actually ‘Large’, and very well explained it was, though some of the physics lost me a bit. But he blithely swiped away the biggest question by a throwaway reference to ‘the Theory of Evolution, and Natural Selection.’

But I just don’t buy it, not completely – it only explains the how of the thing and not the why.  And even where it is obvious; giraffes have long necks as it gave them an advantage over other tree grazing mammals in that they could reach higher branches.  Okay, so if that is true then why aren’t there a) loads of other animals with long necks, and b) if this gave them such an advantage why aren’t we overrun by giraffes?  The answer is inadequate, incomplete, not the whole truth.

Now, I am not going to go all religious on you, but it is this very inadequacy, the lack of a convincing answer that drives people into the arms of God.  And all of Darwinism does not explain why? Why life in the first place, I suppose.  And yes you can explain how in the chemical soup certain atoms were attracted to others to form complex molecules.  But what was it that kick-started those chains of molecules into a single-cell living organism, with a nucleus and able to process other chemicals as food.  What made life, you know the independent chemical machines that all of life is?  Let alone why complex apparatus like eyes and brains and radar in bats and intelligence, language and art evolved?  Natural selection?  Or something else?

Is there actually a life force in the Universe?  An extra force in physics that will always strive to make more and more complex proteins out of maybe whatever is lying around in order to strive to achieve life,  Improbable maybe, but no more improbable than the Big Bang itself, or Saturn’s rings, or sex, or the success of X Factor.

Maybe therefore the science fiction writers were right all along, and life is endemic in the Universe, but maybe so diverse, so different from life on Earth that we just haven’t recognized it yet.