World mysteries and natural wonders Part V.

Published in GralsWelt issue 11/2003)

The miraculous balance

Everything is connected to everything
With the triumph of mechanics in the 17th century, a method also became popular that makes complex systems accessible to understanding by breaking them down into simpler components. This method has proven itself many times in technology. For example, when developing an automobile, a tire designer does not need to have in-depth knowledge of the ignition behavior of diesel engines or to have precise knowledge of car electrics. If all components work individually, the whole system should work satisfactorily after they have been put together.

This method of investigation also penetrated biology. Living beings were examined, cataloged, systematized, and dissected in isolation. The biologists of the 18th century were accordingly considered to be anatomists, collectors of plants, beetles and butterflies, who were sometimes not recognized as scientists by physicists.

Darwin was a good observer of nature who recognized the interdependencies of the living things that we study today as "ecological equilibria":
“Only the bumblebees visit the red clover, because the other bees cannot reach the nectar. It has been suggested that butterflies can fertilize the clover, but I doubt that that can happen with red clover ...
We can therefore assume as probable that if the whole bumblebee species became rare in England or disappeared entirely, the same would happen with the red clover. The number of bumblebees in a district now largely depends on the number of field mice that destroy their combs and nests. Colonel Newman ... believed that 'in all of England more than two-thirds of bumblebee nests are destroyed by mice'. As is well known, the number of mice depends on the number of cats. 'Near villages and small towns,' says Newman, 'I found most of the bumblebee nests, which I attribute to the cats that kill mice. It is therefore quite plausible that the presence of numerous cats through the intermediary of the mice and then the bumblebees can have a determining effect on the number of red clover plants. '" (7, p. 136).

Above all, natural research wanted to benefit people. In the natural history books that I read in my childhood, for example, insects were divided into "beneficials" and "pests"; according to the approach of the 18th century that man should overcome nature and adapt it to his needs. What supported him was useful, what stood in his way was considered harmful.

In the 19th century, many naturalists became aware that living nature is more than the sum of plants and animals. Natural cycles, interactions between living beings and the environmental conditions were recognized as decisive for the possibilities of life. In 1866 Ernst Haeckel introduced the name "Ecology" for

"The entire science of the relationships between the organism and the surrounding outside world".

It was not until the second half of the 20th century that the importance of the many dynamic equilibria in the interplay of living beings with raw materials and natural forces became generally known.

From the simple to the complicated - a physical impossibility?
The development of life, from very simple beginnings to increasingly complex structures, can be taken for granted, even if no theory has yet been able to explain how the many different forms of life came about and how they have developed.

This development from the first, primitive, unicellular organism to more and more differentiated forms of life is one of the wonders of nature that seems to contradict the laws of physics.

In the 19th century, thermodynamics, an apparently quite abstract science, provided a new approach, the philosophical meaning of which has not yet been fully discussed:

The entropy principle.
The entropy results from the second law of thermodynamics with a statement that at first glance seems trivial:

"Heat can pass from a body at a higher temperature to a body at a lower temperature, but not the other way around."

Through this second law we get a ranking of the energies. You have to infer from it that a quantity of heat at a high temperature has a greater value than the same quantity of heat at a low temperature. Likewise, different types of energy have different values, since the “higher” energy can (at least in theory) be converted into a lower one without loss, but never the other way around.

In an expanded form, this sentence says that all physical and chemical processes always run by themselves in such a way that high-quality energy becomes inferior, so that the disorder becomes greater in the process.

This general consideration applies not only to energy, but also to all other processes. Whether alcohol evaporates, a piece of wood burns to smoke and ashes, or two substances mix: the end products are always less organized than the raw materials. The more primitive structured is the more likely.

The concept of entropy was introduced in order to find a measure for these losses occurring with every energy conversion, for this disorder, which according to the physical understanding must grow with every process. It is a state variable that can only be grasped mathematically and cannot be measured directly.

A humorous explanation is attributed to Heisenberg, who is said to have said that one can recognize the essence of entropy from the fact that disorder always arises “by itself” on his desk.

There are now interesting differences in nature. With “dead matter” you can see how entropy increases everywhere: rocks weather, mountains are removed by water and wind, organic material disintegrates. More energetic, more highly structured things become simpler, less complex, more disordered.

Life, on the other hand, appears “anentropic”. Every living being, even the smallest and most inconspicuous, is a highly complex chemical factory in which organic macromolecules are created from a few, simple preliminary products, of a complexity that has only been possible to understand for a few decades.

Viewed in this way, every living being is, from a thermodynamic point of view, extremely improbable. It consists of numerous structures that, from a statistical point of view, should not even exist. This physical improbability of the existence of living things has the effect that every single living being is unstable, it is maintained by complex dynamic equilibria, and its time is limited. But life as such continues to develop, increases the diversity of species and creates ever more highly structured forms of life. Never have there been more different species on our planet than in the 18th or 19th century, before the extinction of species due to human intervention.

This anentropic work of life does not refute the entropy principle. Because the earth is integrated in the energy flow sun - earth - space. The sun provides the indispensable energy for all life, and the earth the necessary substances. The entropy of the entire system increases, even if, contrary to all probability, it decreases in living beings.
And yet, is this highly improbable development of life, contrary to the physical laws of inanimate matter, not a miracle?

Digger wasps
Everyone has heard of the digger wasps, maybe even watched them doing their amazing work on a sunny summer day. Their family, the Stechimmen or Speghidae, includes around 5000 species of wasps of very different sizes, whose way of life is similar in that the females paralyze insects or spiders with a sting and then enter them into prepared cavities as food for wasp larvae and close them with an egg occupy. The little insect carries out a chain of logical actions that have to fit together seamlessly in order to secure the offspring.
Can you imagine that by chance an insect came up with the idea of paralyzing a caterpillar with a targeted sting at the right point, but not killing it? The caterpillar has to stay fresh, otherwise it is useless for the larvae hatching from the egg attached to the caterpillar. What prompts the wasp to act so “with foresight”? Does it act according to plan, for example in the sense of "massage theory"?
Even in Darwin's time, the well-known entomologist Jean Henri Fabre (1823-1915) contradicted the evolutionary hypotheses on the basis of his observations of digger wasps:
“Note: the insect was not the surgeon of today from the start. It only got this far through trials, periods of apprenticeship and various levels of skill. The selection 'sifted', dropped the less able, retained the more gifted, and when individual abilities were accumulated in addition to those already inherited, the instinct as we know it gradually developed.
The argument is wrong: a gradual instinct is a tangible impossibility. The art of caring for a larva requires masters, it does not get along with apprentices. The hymenoptera has to perform excellently from the start or may not even deal with it. Two conditions must be met under all circumstances: the possibility that the insect pulls its game, which is bigger and bigger than it is in size and strength, to the nest and stores it there, and the possibility that the newly hatched worm can calmly move into the narrow cell can consume living and relatively huge prey. These conditions can only be met by canceling the movement in the victim and this requires, if it is to be total, multiple stabs in the back, one in each motor center. If paralysis and numbness are not achieved to a sufficient degree, the gray worm will defy the efforts of the hunter, fight a desperate battle along the way, and fail to get to the destination. If complete immobility is not achieved, the egg attached to the worm will perish under the giant's twitches. There is no middle ground here, no partial success. The caterpillar is either treated according to every trick in the book and the hymenoptera species live on, or the victim is only partially paralyzed and the hymenoptera progeny perish with the egg.
Now that we have learned from the irrefutable logic of things, we must admit that the first hairy sand wasp to catch a gray caterpillar to feed its larvae treated the patient according to the methods customary today. She grabbed the animal by the skin of the neck, stabbed every nerve knot, and when the monster made an appearance to offer resistance, she pressed its brain together by chewing. That was how it had to play out because, we repeat: an inexperienced murderer who would have tried his hand at his work little by little would not have left a successor because the development of the egg would have been impossible. Without his fully trained surgical knowledge, the caterpillar butcher would have died out in the first generation. " (1, p. 121 f.).

The circles of the living
As life evolved, so did the environment; for the living beings not only adapted to their environment, but they also changed it, in a life-promoting direction.

Life not only knew how to adapt to natural cycles such as the cycle of water, as well as the time of day and seasons, but it also developed its own cycles such as the oxygen-carbon dioxide cycle, the nutrient cycles in ecosystems, etc. Because there is none in nature Rubbish. The waste of one is the basis of life for the other and any dirt, destruction or imbalances that may occur are cleaned up "by themselves".

Once the earth was a dead planet made of rock and water with an atmosphere that is poisonous for today's living beings. The few centimeters of humus on the earth's surface, on which all rural life depends, a breathable atmosphere, the plant cover that protects against erosion, are achievements of the living over millions of years. Because yesterday's life worked on the foundations for today's life. Life itself ensures that life can go on and develop further. A wonder of nature?

Gaia - the earth, a living being?
The many natural wonders have puzzled far-sighted researchers and made them wonder whether the usual mechanistic approaches can be sufficient to understand the wondrous interplay of the many forces that make the origin, the rise and the continuation of life on our planet possible.

The biosphere, in which it is possible to live alone, is comparatively as thin as dew on an apple. At a height of 15 kilometers it is already too cold and the air too thin to survive, and after a few kilometers under the surface of the earth with its cold crust of the solid land, it is already too hot again. This thin biosphere contains the life support systems of the planet and has offered relatively stable conditions for millions of years, for example only slight temperature fluctuations, the prerequisites for the development of life.

As far as we know today, the luminosity of the sun has increased by 25 % since life began 3.6 billion years ago. Nevertheless, the temperature on the surface of the earth remained at a comfortable level for life during these eons.

The earth's atmosphere also consists of a thermodynamically improbable and chemically unstable gas mixture that remains constant over long periods of time.

Apparently the biosphere reacts flexibly to external influences, e.g. changes in solar radiation. Even life-threatening major disasters such as impacts *) and gigantic volcanic eruptions have survived thanks to the self-healing powers of the biosphere.

Such observations led the English chemist JE Lovelock to the "Gaia hypothesis", which regards the whole globe as a living being that reacts flexibly to disturbances and admirably maintains the equilibrium that is beneficial to life.
This idea is close to the old image of "Mother Earth"; It is no coincidence that the name of the Greek earth goddess "Gaia" was chosen.

The Gaia hypothesis can hardly be proven with scientific means. But it shows that open-minded scientists are ready to abandon purely mechanistic thinking and not rule out higher influences from the outset. After all, the Gaia hypothesis has provided some interesting food for thought and even dared to make some predictions - the acid test of every theory - which have already been confirmed.

Signals from the transcendent?
Natural scientists are usually careful observers of nature. Many of them are moved by the wonders of nature, and they are amazed at the natural processes that traditional Darwinists have to explain. In the article “The Rise of Life”, we used the example of the so-called brainworm to describe a particularly strange parasite existence that does not fit into the common explanations. Another example on this topic would be the digger wasps (see box).

This is where the unconventional thoughts of modern biologists come in, which are discussed as “massage theory” (6, p. 297). On the one hand, this theory sees the fundamental relationship of all living beings, which suggests a common origin. At the same time, however, there are so great differences between the species that the well-known evolutionist explanation for speciation is unsatisfactory. Even the supposedly universal genetic code has different deviations in numerous organisms, which according to evolutionary theory must have arisen several times independently of one another (6, p. 162).

So the unprovable assumption comes to mind that the ascent of life is based on a uniform planning, i.e. a plan of creation. For example, when very different animal species develop the same structures in very different ways. Nicotine and caffeine are found in a wide variety of plants that are not closely related; Woodpeckers, aardvarks, anteaters and pangolins have a long sticky tongue that can be pulled out to prey on insects; etc. (6, p. 159).

Darwin as a theist? Darwin, as a trained priest of the Anglican Church, was not an extreme Darwinist, but as a loving observer of nature, moved by the wonders of nature:
“Another source of the existence of God, related to reason and not to feelings, makes the impression on me as if it carries more weight. This arises from the extreme difficulty, or rather the impossibility, of seeing that this immense and wonderful universe, which embraces man with his ability to look far back into the past and far into the future, is the result of blind chance or necessity. If I think about it, then I feel compelled to look around for a first cause that possesses an intellect which is somewhat analogous to that of man and I deserve to be called theist. " (5, p. 150)

This brings us back to the assumption frowned upon by most scientists of a teleological (goal-oriented) or purposeful, i.e. not purely accidental, development.

A second basic idea of massage theory is the assumption that living beings show specific “design signals”, i.e. properties that cannot be explained by evolutionary processes and suggest a planner. Structures can be seen as design signals
* whose origin cannot be explained by the known mechanisms
* whose design features are more unusual than the function of the structure suggests
* whose beauty is not only due to functionality (6, p. 297).

Such design signals can be recognized intuitively, provided that such intuitions are not rejected from the outset on the basis of acquired prejudices. However, if you are ready to let the beauties of nature affect your feelings, you will encounter its wonders. Natural harmony and aesthetics then, today as it was thousands of years ago, foreshadow the higher principle standing above everything earthly, without which neither the world, nor life, nor us humans could exist. Those who experience nature in this way no longer need “proofs of God” to feel the greatness of the Creator and his work.

Continued Part VI.

(1) Fabre, Jean Henri "From the wonder world of instincts", Westkulturverlag, Anton Hain, Meisenheim / Glahn, 1950.
(2) Hagl, Siegfried “In search of a new worldview”, publisher of the Grail Message Foundation, Stuttgart 2002.
(3) Hagl, Siegfried, “The gap between science and truth”, publisher of the Grail Message Foundation, Stuttgart, 1986.
(4) Hagl, Siegfried “If it wasn't a miracle…”, publisher of the Grail Message Foundation, Stuttgart, 2000.
(5) Hemleben, Johannes “Darwin”, Rowohlt, Reinbeck 1968.
(6) Junker, Reinhard / Scherer, Siegfried “Evolution. A critical textbook ”, Weyel, Gießen 1998.
(7) Lay, Rupert “Die Ketzer”, Langen Müller, Munich undated
(8) Lovelock, James “Gaia: The earth is a living being”, Wilh. Heyne, Munich 1996.
(9) Myers, Norman "Gaia, the eco-atlas of the earth", Fischer, Frankfurt 1985.