Monday, October 10, 2005

Intelligent Design?

A number of years ago, I'm going to put it in the 1994-1995 time frame, I was looking into fractals. I think I was using a program (free) called fractint, which basically produced fractal images using integer arithmetic (for speed I would imagine).

On the day I'm thinking about, I was looking into a special sub-system of fractal math called L-Systems. L-Systems were first introduced by a guy named Lindenmayer in a book named The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants. In any case, I was running this one particular fractal algorithm over and over and over. It produced a visual similar to the following classic L-Systems fractal:



As I recall, you could single step the algorithm, run it to its conclusion, give it the number of iterations that you wanted to see "built", etc. I did all of the options. For whatever reason, I ran the above simulation over and over for several hours. Why? Maybe I was bored. I think I couldn't believe that you could run an algorithm that would create a virtual plant built out of vectors. Whatever my reason (and no, I was not high), that's what I did.

The next day I went with some friends to a ranch about an hour South of me (in Texas, we measure distance in hours, not miles or kilometers), to go dove hunting. Now dove hunting is a national pastime in Texas, one that usually involves lots of friends, family, shotguns, and of course, beer. Now if the beer comes before the hunt, you won't have much to eat because you won't hit any dove, so on this day about 10 sober Texans were waiting to gang up on a bunch of innocent dovies around the proverbial West Texas tank (a man-made pond for those of you unlucky enough to live outside Texas).

Dove tend to fly into water starting about an hour to 30 minutes before dusk, so you have to be in place before that or they will see you and fly somewhere else. While you are waiting for the dove to fly in, there's not much to do except look at the sky and the trees and enjoy nature, which is what I started doing. Specifically, I got interested in looking at some "broom weed". I have no idea what the plant's genus and species is because I call any of several plants indigenous to my area "broom weed", but anyway, I got really interested in the weeds closest to me.

I looked and looked at the pattern of the branches. Each branch branched off exactly in the same way. The buds on the ends of the branches had exactly the same pattern as the branches. And where had I seen that pattern before? Suddenly I gasped: it was the same pattern that I had been running over and over the day before.

I had a religious experience. Suddenly I realized in a real and personal sort of way that God had "invented" math. We were merely "discovering" its existence. Tears were rolling down my cheeks as I slowly turned that weed around and around in my hands.

In the midst of my religious experience I looked up to see one of my friends waving his arms and whispering expletives. I thought "now, what is up with him...". That's when I realized that a flock of about 10 dove were all around me having landed while I was musing over God and plants. I jumped for my shotgun and managed to gun down a couple of them as they flew off in all directions, evoking more expletives as bird shot fell around my compatriots.

That "aha" moment convinced me of the veracity of the first chapter of Genesis. Basically, the conclusion that I came to is

Where there is a program, there must be a programmer.

6 Rant In Reply:

Blogger bold as love said...

Dayum,
Dove hunting here in Georgia is a big thing also and I've done my time on many a dove field. I really enjoyed this post, your moment realizing and recognizing God's hand in the most simple of things brings outdoor memories of my own to mind. Thanks

Tuesday, October 11, 2005  
Blogger R&B said...

I love the smell wafting through the air just after a shotgun has been fired.

I didn't know dove hunting was big in Georgia as well. Here, it's like a national thing.

Thanks for the visit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG.. You had a religious experience and the next thing you is jump for the shotgun? You yanks sure are a funny people..

Saturday, October 15, 2005  
Blogger R&B said...

LOL!

Monday, October 17, 2005  
Blogger BREEZE said...

i dont think you should have shot the doves...are they not a sign of grace and love sent from up above...isnt that in the bible...or did i make that up?
i like your father- daughter stories though...good day

Friday, October 21, 2005  
Blogger James Manning said...

This is a funny story. I can't believe you killed the doves after having a religious experience.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005  

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