I was listening to the Symphony of Science songs recently and I have a particular line stuck in my head.

"The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together."

Sometimes, a phrase runs you over like a truck. Maybe this one didn't do it for anyone else, but for me, thinking about exactly what was meant was fairly intense.

The way those atoms are put together initially sounds like he's talking about the structure of those atoms, how they work, and the laws that govern them. About a second later the meaning sank in. The process by which those atoms are formed.

The beautiful, tragic, and inconceivably large process that lead to the heavier elements that make up our bodies. The slow gravitational gathering of gases and particulates over a vast time scale that ignite a new star. The furnace gave its mass to the universe once its lighter elements were depleted. Several times through this in various nebulae and the heavier elements that make us up were formed. Then enough of them gathered together to allow for molecular machines to form and evolve. Those machines became self-aware and began to learn how to manipulate the universe that gave rise to them....

How could anyone believe this should only inspire awe if it were 'created' by some anthropomorphized entity?

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Comment by Tom Hail on September 22, 2010 at 12:25am
Amazing, isn't it? Blows me away too. That adds to the awe of the maelstrom of quantum mechanics, the order of physics, the magic of chemistry and the wetness of biology. :-) All awesome.


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