Welcome to a fundamental node of the Pandeism index!!


A perception, sudden as blinking, that subject and object are one,
will lead to a deeply mysterious understanding;
and by this understanding you will awaken to the truth.

-Huangbo Xiyun in the Wan Ling Record of Xiu Pei
Here is the question/problem:

One complaint easily raised against the possible existence of an intangible deity is the typically purported ability of such an entity to manipulate the physical world by means apparently outside the laws of physics. Such beliefs were, naturally, more defensible prior to the development of substantial scientific knowledge of the world -- it is easy to imagine a deity "breathing life" into a clay figure and thus bestowing human life upon it when one remains ignorant of the complexity of cell structure and DNA-based assembly of life. While this is not as much of a challenge for deism and pandeism, both of which deny the interference of the creator (usually denoted the Deus) in the physical world beyond that initial act of creation, both nevertheless propose a creator that preceded the Universe and was thus capable of a quite physical act of creation. The human mind being a physical object, the question follows: how can the mind of God work on a mechanical level? Where do the thoughts and memories of the maker physically reside?

From the bottom down:

Go back, for a moment, to cell structure -- and indeed to the structure of a very small and simple pair of organs, the eyelids. Your eyelids have the thinnest skin on your body, and like everything else in your body they are made of cells -- of the estimated 100 trillion cells in the human body, your eyelids probably have a few hundred-million of them. Skin cells, hair cells, muscle cells, nerve cells, blood vessels, glands... these cells contain all sorts of sub-structures (including, in every single one of them, a complete copy of your DNA blueprint), and these structures are made of many thousands of molecules, which are themselves pretty massive as molecules go, each containing hundreds or thousands of atoms. Different kinds of atoms, to be sure, but almost all of them will be carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. The hydrogen atom is the most basic, so we'll stick with it for a while as a tool of explanation.

Perhaps you have heard the comparison recited that if the nucleus of a hydrogen atom were the size of an common object (an orange, a baseball, a golf ball, the period at the end of the sentence), then the electron would be buzzing around at a distance of hundreds or thousands of feet with nothing but empty space in between. I prefer the ping-pong ball for this simile, as I believe that to be the object of set size most common to the human experience. If the ping-pong ball-proton were set at the center of a football or soccer field, the electron shell would be the exterior of the stadium itself.

There is an enduring myth, perhaps because it is easy to visualise and comports with our experience of larger things, that the electron "orbits" the nucleus of the atom in a circular sort of way, like a planet orbits a star. Quite the opposite, however, what the electron does is to chaotically jump from one point on the shell to another, to another, to another, eternally so, and with no rhyme or reason. Let's do a little math here. As it turns out, the electron has been measured to move about in its shell at about 1/137th of the speed of light, the speed of light itself being a bit more that 186,282 miles per second, or 299,792.458 kilometres per second - the latter is an exact measurement, as the meter itself is defined as the distance light travels in that fraction of a second. That, divided by 137, is over 2,188 kilometers per second.

Now, in order to figure just how far a path the electron in a hydrogen atom is cutting across its shell, we would need to know the size of the atom - but another surprising truth is that the atom itself has no set size, but is subject to substantial expansion or compression based on factors such as gravity and "excitement of the electron," better known as heat. With a combination of low pressure and high excitement, that football-stadium sized atom mentioned above could swell to take in a dozen city blocks in each direction, and to add to the complication, the electrons in an excited atom move faster. In the hydrogen atom typically observed on Earth, however, the electron is jumping out to a distance of about 100 picometers, a picometer being one millionth of one millionth of a meter. So, an object topping 2 million meters per second is jumping around in a space of two trillionths of a meter, meaning that if it were in fact neatly orbiting the nucleus, it would be going around it well over 1.2 quadrillion times per second -- that's quadrillion with a "q" -- but since it is not actually orbiting, the most we can say is that the movement of the electron, jumping about at a respectable fraction of the speed of light, is enough for it to randomly occupy hundreds of trillions of points in the shell every second, enough so that to any outside observer the shell would appear impenetrably solid.

The most important point to take away from this is the substance which fills the gap between the proton and the electron: nothing. There is nothing there at all. It is a vacuum. The vast majority of the volume of matter, all but a tiny bit of it, is the emptiness between these miniscule bits of energy, one of which is sitting still, and the other of which is moving around so fast that nothing can poke into that empty space without hitting it (and having it bounce that thing back). Now let us consider the involvement in all of this of the brain, the operation of which remains a mystery.

What has this to do with blinking your eyes?

Now, blink your eyes. Go ahead and actually blink your eyes, one time (chances are that you blinked while reading this even if you didn't conciously will yourself to do it, either because thinking about blinking makes you blink, or because it's natural to do so several times per minute anyway). The common description of the events precipitating this simple motion is that the brain "sends a signal" through the nervous system to the muscles tasked with causing the eyelid to snap shut and then rise; an examination at a lower level may speak of the brain originating electrical impulses and sending them down the axons by introducing a molecular salt-transfer reaction within the nerve cells, which is then passed on from nerve cell to nerve cell until it reaches the muscle, and from there introduces the same sort of chemical reaction to signal some receptor in the muscle to cause the whole thing to relax and then contract. But in biology, the analysis does not attempt to parse further than that. How is it that the brain trasforms a thought -- that you wish to blink your eyes, into the chemical reaction that results in a change in the physical universe (even if this change is as minute as the momentary closing of an eye or two)?

A single human eyelid may contain as many electrons, neutrons, and protons as there are stars in a galaxy. So, every time you blink your eyes, you are -- with the power of your thought alone, in a sense -- sending a signal that passes through millions of molecules in order to move a galaxy's worth of particles!! Impossible as it may seem, almost all of the volume of those millions of molecules that this signal passes through, and almost all of the volume of the billions that are moved, is empty space, nothingness. We, beings of energy constrained in physical form to seem as matter, are therefore Godlike in our ability to control the movement of these multitudes of particles tied together by nothing more than forces still ill-understood, across and through a vast expanse of emptiness!!

So, before we doubt whether a godlike entity can exist in the fabric of the Universe, with all that empty space within, perhaps we should first figure out how we manage to do it!!

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