That out of nothing something comes
belies the maths of other sums,
suggesting nought, far less than small,
amounts to something after all.
If we accept what’s here is here,
‘though what is here remains unclear,
how, out of all this inert splurge,
could what we know as ‘life’ emerge?
Yet odder still, we have to tell
how from a single living cell
chance - random, purposeless and blind -
knocked out the template of the mind.
A simple message now is taught -
from nought through dust and cell to thought.
From slime to Mozart in his prime
is just what happens, given time.
It’s really difficult to see
how all this fits with entropy.
I sometimes feel the need to query
‘survival of the fittest’ theory.
‘O flightless, feathered reptile, strive
for aeons just to stay alive,
not knowing those long finger things
will in the end support your wings.’
OK. No quibbling. Here we find
the stuff of things and life and mind,
unplanned, unwanted, undesigned.
Yet here’s a thought on which to muse,
a question reason can’t refuse -
how is it more from less ensues?
At least please try to tell me why
life should exist and multiply.
Why should a virus of no use
commit itself to reproduce?
Why should a single cell decide
its role in life was to divide;
and then combine for all its worth
to promulgate all life on earth?
“That’s just the way it is, my friend”
is not an answer I’d defend.
Is it not really rather odd
to favour chance instead of God?
You call all God-believers fools
but they at least explain the rules.
“What rules?” you ask in feigned surprise.
The rules that govern seas and skies
and time and space and all we know -
whence came the rules that make it so?
“You really do not understand:
the rules inhere – they are not planned;
much less bestowed by a creator,
a notion that occurred much later.
“It’s simple really, evolution
affords a rational solution;
Evolution gives a stir
and makes things better than they were.”
That’s no more cogent, I’d suggest,
than simply saying ‘God knows best’.
Indeed, apart from change of name,
it’s saying very much the same.
I’m having trouble I confess
with this idea of more from less.
It will be seen as rather tragic
if science starts to sound like magic.
And when you say the rules “inhere”
I have no doubt you are sincere;
You sound as though you’re sure you’re sure
but what you mean remains obscure.
Are you suggesting from the start
the rules that govern all formed part
of some primeval churning drum
of hydrogen and helium?
It’s not my nature to deride
but where did all the rules reside?
Nor is it I’m so keen on God
(He’s often seemed an evil sod)
but if you wish to steal his glory
you need a more compelling story.
The God in whom the faithful trust
turns every devotee to dust;
you need to tell me, if you can,
what magic turned dust into man.