Marc Mailloux's Blog


Mailloux musings September 2016
September 15, 2016, 1:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

August was a relatively calm month for us this year with no scheduled trips (neither domestic nor international), and the cancelled visit of our daughter and granddaughter due to the presence of the zika virus here in S. Florida.

That meant a significant amount of time consecrated to the preparation of next semester’s Haitian Bible school courses—a chore made all the more agreeable thanks to the excellent teaching available on-line, mostly from the Anglo-Saxon world with its genius for practical application of which there’s so great a dearth in the French-speaking world.

We continue our Sunday radio interventions on a local Haitian broadcast.  I also had a few dissertations to evaluate from another missionary whose teaching ministry in Africa includes both English and French-speaking students. In addition, there were the usual evangelistic meals–mostly with Aline’s gym contacts–and my weekly pétanque games with the mostly French colleagues including a couple whose life circumstances–illness and death–have made them suddenly more spiritually receptive.

There was an interesting article in the Aug.27-Sept.3 issue of the “Economist” related to the SETI (search for extra-terrestrial intelligence)   called “

Hunting for Aliens: Proximate goals” which deals with the recent discovery of an approximately earth-sized planet orbiting around a ‘red-dwarf’ star a ‘mere’ four light years away from us.  There’s some excitement in the astronomical community in its desperate attempt to determine if that planet (Proxima Centuri b) might be hospitable to sustain life. The fact that the planet is the correct size (and therefore probably rocky unlike the ‘gas giants’ such as Jupiter etc.) and orbits around a star (albeit rapidly) renews the hope of those who seek desperately for evidence that we’re not alone in the universe.

Meanwhile, the author of the article alludes only indirectly to the famous ‘anthropic principle’ which refers to the myriad conditions necessary for any celestial body to support life as we know it.  In the words of the late Astrophysicist Richard Morris: “The real question is perhaps not whether life exists elsewhere in the universe; but why the conditions are so rigorously precise as to allow life to exist here on earth….One can imagine an infinite variety of universes and in most of them life would not be possible…”

 

Naturally the SETI project presupposes that given the  right conditions, life will appear spontaneously and progress.  But is this reasonable?

 

Already in the 17th century the Italian scientist Francesco Redi proved the fallacy of so-called “spontaneous generation”.  Yet old world views die hard and it needed Louis Pasteur to re-confirm Redi’s conviction with 19th century experiments.   So the idea of life arising spontaneously anywhere in the universe demands a leap of most-unscientifically founded faith.

The first law of biogenesis is that “life comes from life.”  That it could arise spontaneously from inert matter is simply impossible –S. Miller’s experience notwithstanding.

 

So there are elements of the scientific community wants to believe and wants us believe in things that are simply impossible.  While Alice of “Wonderland” fame admitted that there were days when she “believed in five impossible things before breakfast,” most of us are more inclined to follow the logic of William of Ockham and its more obvious conclusion that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” and the living forms He put on the earth.

 

Even Voltaire, that skeptical/ cynical 18th century French ‘philosophe’ hardly know for his piety had the good sense to adhere to at least adhere to a deist explanation for the origin of the universe and of life.  He wrote:

 

“L’univers m’embarasse et je ne puis songer; (the univers overwhelms me and I can’t fathom)

Qu’il existe cette horloge qui n’ait point d’Horloger” (that a clock exists without a Clockmaker ).

elea-smiling-justin

Granddaughter Elea with her uncle Justin

fev-2016-joel-gerard-marc

Joel, Gerard (both from Brittany), Marc (ancestors from Brittany) at S.Florida petanque tournament

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