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K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Science

Excerpted from

The G.O.D. Experiments: How Science Is Discovering God In Everything, Including Us

By ,

We are going to shift gears and move from the parapsychology laboratory to the kitchen and your personal computer. Some of the experiments about which you will read may make you laugh. A few are admittedly far out, but I assure you they all address the existence of a larger spiritual reality-a G.O.D., or Guiding-Organizing - Designing, field-in the universe as well as in our personal lives. Scientists are typically "show me" people who thrive on conducting experiments in order to observe results for themselves. I go beyond that: I am a firm advocate of the K.I.S.S. principle-Keep It Simple Science.

People who have known me over many years will tell you I am a "show me" kind of person who, even as a youngster, had to see it to believe it. Though I was born and raised in the New York area, I somehow identify with the state of Missouri-the "Show Me" state-and I require being shown things in order to believe; my "beliefs" are evidence-based.

There are two "show me" chapters in this hook, which include descriptions of a number of very simple yet definitive experiments in connection with the creation and evolution of the universe and of life. These experiments were designed to answer the question of chance versus intelligent design and higher power. You might be motivated to perform these simple experiments yourself, or-even better-with your children. In this complicated world, it's wise to raise children to be skeptical of information tossed at them. We must remember Einstein's wisdom that "the important thing is not to stop questioning."

And so if you are skeptical about any of the information I put forward, I encourage you to perform the experiments yourself. The findings generated in these experiments changed me from the resistant skeptic I once was. In many areas of science, business, law, and everyday life, most evidence allows us to reach conclusions that are "beyond a reasonable doubt." However, the evidence from some of the experiments described in this book, including one seemingly frivolous yet serious experiment I hope you will perform yourself, allows us to draw conclusions that are virtually "beyond any doubt."

As you read, I suggest you keep in mind one important question. How can a seemingly frivolous question offer compelling evidence on a subject that has haunted mankind from the earliest days?

The G.O.D. Container Experiment

The story begins almost forty years ago. I was a junior psychology major, chemistry minor, premedical student at Cornell University, on summer vacation in New York City, and I was taken to a small shop in Greenwich Village that specialized in Native American and Eskimo art. It was the first time I saw captivating Native American sand paintings, and I fell in love with them.

I purchased my first exquisite two-foot-by-two-foot sand painting from this shop, and then began to collect others. When I eventually became a professor at Yale, one wall in my study in Guilford, Connecticut, was covered with more than ten sand paintings. My first one still hangs in my Tucson study.

Historically, medicine women and men drew secret sand paintings on the desert floor. The sacred paintings revealed their fundamental spiritual beliefs, and the carefully crafted sacred images were treated with care and awe. Originally sand paintings were made of multicolored grains that were carefully placed on the desert ground. The sands were never glued to the ground-they were intended to disappear with the wind. The images in the paintings available for purchase are intentionally incomplete and inaccurate replicas of the ancient spiritual visions. Obviously, the artworks available for purchase are glued to boards to sustain their fixed patterns.

One day, while I was pondering the origin and evolution of order in the universe, I wondered: if the completely-chance-universe explanation is true, shouldn't it be possible, at least in theory, to create organized, complex sand paintings by simply throwing colored sand in the air?

So I designed and conducted a K.I.S.S.-Keep It Simple Science-sand painting experiment.

I took some white sand, placed it on the bottom of a pot, and then made a simple sand painting with various colored grains of sand. One of the images sometimes painted by Native Americans is frogs. Frogs make me smile. I carefully dripped green and yellow grains of sand and created a mediocre cartoonlike Kermit the Frog sand painting.

I originally used a round metal spaghetti pot with a cover-a square cardboard box with a cover works just as well. Even better is a clear plastic container so you can see the evolving process as it occurs. After my crude sand painting was completed, I covered the pot, and shook it once, opened it, and looked at what had happened to my cartoonlike Kermit. Then I re-covered the pot, shook it again, and took another look. I did this over and over, recording what I saw with each successive shaking. What do you think happened, over and over?

To many people, experiments like my sand painting/shaking experiment might be viewed as a waste since any nincompoop knows in advance what the results will be. So why would a credentialed scientist bother?

The answer is that it is the very nature of science, just as we explain to the children that they are not to accept any conclusion just because it seems obvious. To be accepted, an experiment must be repeatedly performed by reputable scientists who all reach the same conclusion, and that conclusion must become accepted by the community of scientists. If that has not been done, then you perform the experiment yourself. I advise adults of all ages not to accept experimental results on faith despite die frequent temptations to do so. I conduct research, not armchair speculation or wishful thinking. I encourage you to do a few experiments yourself.

What I witnessed that day in the kitchen with my spaghetti pot was truly elementary, and it happened every time. What transpired was that each time I shook the pan, the sand mixed and the frog was no longer.

The more I shook the pan, the more the sand mixed. In the absence of constraints to maintain my original frog design, and in the absence of some sort of a Guiding, Organizing Designer taking a hand, the sand participated in a most remarkable and beautiful process. The process is simple and completely replicable. The sand mixed. Blacks and whites, yellows and greens, whatever colors of sand were present, they were all brought together. They became a blended mixture, a family of colors, so to speak. They became a complex yet fairly uniform (more on this later) mixture of different colors.

Being a "show me" scientist, I insisted on replicating this experiment many times. Sometimes I began by creating an image of a frog, sometimes I began by writing the word "frog." Sometimes I drew a picture of a heart, sometimes I began by writing the word "heart"-it didn't matter. When I went through the successive shaking of the pot, the result was always a blended mixture. Always. The sand always mixed, period. The conclusion is inexorable and unstoppable.

In the absence of some sort of Guiding-Organizing-Designing process, sand mixes. It mixes every single time. Chance by itself does not create sand paintings. When given a shake, sand mixes. When mixed by wind, the sand images disappear and blow away.

Though this outcome may seem obvious to you, I want to illustrate the significant take-home message of this experiment through my direct personal experience.

Tags: Religion and Spirituality