When the kid in us craves for a McDonald’s hamburger, we can walk into any restaurant with the golden arc, and get the same hamburger and fries that we are used to getting at the McDonalds’s in our hometown. And we feel right at home no matter where in the world the McDonalds’s we just entered is. Normally we would just enjoy our meal in the restaurant and return home, but this time we feel very observant and are in the mood for some philosophical thinking. Well, with some reason-based deep thinking, we can infer the following from this leisurely visit, even if we use a drive-through automated service window with nobody insight:
- We notice that the restaurant takes in supplies like beef patties, potatoes, bread buns, paper products, and drink kegs, etc. and gives out wrapped hamburgers, French fries, and drinks, etc. Obviously, this cannot be the making of the universal laws and forces of nature. (If we were to sit back and let the nature take its course, the supplies would still be sitting at the entrance, and start spoiling). Therefore, the supplies must have been subjected to some processes in the restaurant by the equipment and machinery inside. Considering that the supplies are turned into the same products at all McDonald’s restaurants in the world, we can safely infer that there is a set of procedures followed and influences exerted in all restaurants. These procedures constitute the code of operation of McDonald’s, which can also be called ‘the set of laws and influences of McDonald’s.’ The code of operation is applicable within the restaurants all over the world. And against the backdrop of the laws and forces of nature, the code seems to be fully controlling and governing all the supplies from the moment they enter the restaurant. If we peak inside the restaurant and carefully observe what is going on, we can even infer and write down the code of operation of McDonald’s.
- Now, if we get a printout of the code of operation of McDonald’s complete with all the information needed for the operation, and leave a copy next to the supplies, hoping that operation will take care of itself, we know that nothing will happen in the restaurant. This is because of the inscribed codes or procedures as well as the information lack agency. For the restaurant to function, there must be an active agent with (a) the purpose of turning supplies into specified products, (a) the knowledge of how to do it by adhering to the code of operation, and (c) the power and skill of actually doing it – turning the supplies of beef paddies, potatoes, etc. into the products of hamburgers, French fries, etc.
The active agent can be a person or the collective personality of the team of able employees and the machinery, which is currently the case. It can also be a cloud-based system with software that resides in the cloud and includes the built-in code of operation and runs all the restaurants in the world that are fully automated by communicating via the internet. This time we will see in the restaurants are robots that take in the supplies, process them as specified in the code of operation, serve the products to the costumers, and complete the payment transactions. The invisible active agent in this case will be the mastermind behind the cloud system. And the operation of the restaurants by the code of operation will reflect the will, knowledge, and power of this mastermind. It is also this mastermind who will pocket the profits and shut down the restaurants that are not profitable. The dummy robots of closed restaurants will be discarded or transferred to other restaurants.
Now that we satisfied our fancy and are in the mood for healthy fruit, we go and visit a garden with red delicious apples hanging under the branches of apple trees. By carefully examining the apple tree and its fruits and drawing parallels between the apple tree and the McDonald’s restaurant, we can infer the following:
We notice that the apple tree takes in minerals from the soil through its roots and sun’s rays and atmospheric gases through its leaves as supplies, and gives out red delicious apples as for its products. Obviously, this cannot be the making of the universal laws and forces of nature. (If we were to let nature take its course, the essential minerals would still be sitting in the soil next to the roots). Therefore, the supplies must have been subjected to some intricate processes in the tree. Considering that the supplies taken in by the apple trees are turned into the same apple fruits all over the world, we can safely infer that there is a set of procedures followed and influences exerted within the bodies of all trees. These procedures constitute the code of operation of the apple tree, which can also be called ‘the set of laws and influences of the apple tree.’ The code of operation is applicable to all apple trees all over the world. And against the backdrop of the laws and forces of nature, the code seems to be fully controlling and governing all the raw materials from the moment they enter the body of the tree. If we carefully observe what is going on within the tree, we can even infer and write down the code of operation of the tree apple (or the set of laws and influences of an apple tree.) This is how scientific information is discovered and how science books are written.
Now, if we take the code of operation of the apple tree, complete with all the information needed for the operation (we can just copy it from the DNA of apple tree), write it down in a seed-like medium using the 4-letter genetic alphabet, and burry the artificial seed into the soil, we will be disappointed that nothing will happen other than the information-laden lifeless artificial seed rotting. The inscribed instructions and information in the seed will not grow roots that have the ability to recognize the right raw materials, take them in, and process them. This is simply because of the inscribed codes or procedures as well as the information lack agency. For the information in the seed to be actualized, there must be an active agent with (a) the purpose of turning raw materials into specified products, (a) the knowledge of how to do it by adhering to the code of operation, and (c) the power and skill of actually doing it – turning the raw materials first into an apple tree with branches and leaves, and then into apple fruits.
When we sow into the soil a natural seed – a seed with life – instead of the artificial seed laden with the same information, we observe that the natural seed germinates, grows roots, takes in the right materials from the soil in the right amounts, constructs a trunk for the tree, builds branches and weaves leaves, and makes apples – amazing and fascinating acts by any account. Noting that the artificial seed cannot do any of this and the only difference between the artificial and natural seeds is the elusive and enigmatic life, we must ascribe all these qualities and abilities to life, even if we cannot see it and physically locate it in the seed since life is a nonphysical entity. Life seems to be everywhere within the bounds of the tree without being anywhere. This means, as, in the case of McDonald’s, the secretive life must be performing all the complex functions within the tree, and the primary feature of life must be the agency. This is because life seems to be responsible for the turning of potentialities of an apple seed into actualities, and transforming the raw materials into red delicious apples. The agent of life must be equipped with purpose, knowledge, and power since (a) the ingredients are taken in are transformed into an apple instead of something else, (b) from germination of the seed to the making of the apple fruit, a code of operation is meticulously followed while the information on the DNA is used as the template, and (c) all the raw materials are moved around as needed, processed, and manipulated with full power to build tissue and make apple fruits.
It seems that both the McDonald’s restaurant and the apple tree take in the supplies, and turn them into the intended products – hamburger meals in the first case and apples in the second. Both involve similar stages of processes, albeit making hamburgers is a child’s play compared to making apples.
Everybody will agree that it is preposterous to think that the laws and forces of nature, together with written instructions and information, can turn the meat patties, bread buns, and potatoes into hamburger meals. They will also agree that there must be a mechanism in the restaurants with purpose, knowledge, and power to do that. By the same logic, it is not any less preposterous to think that the laws and forces of nature, together with written instructions and information, can turn the minerals, sun’s rays, and some gases from the atmosphere into apples. Obviously, there must be a mechanism in the apple tree with purpose, knowledge, and power to do what it is being done. Since there is no such apparent physical mechanism in the case of apple, shouldn’t life be equipped with a virtual mechanism with the same features and abilities? Isn’t this the right thing to do to characterize life correctly and begin to understand its true nature? Whether we admit it or not, such a virtual mechanism that accommodates life must be in place, unless we prefer to believe in magic. This inference is no different than thinking that there must be a chef in the kitchen if the groceries we bought in the morning are turned into cooked meals. Failing to do this reasoning is a classic case of being blinded by what we see and not see, and failing to see what is beyond.