This could be a little difficult for some folks (me included) to wrap your mind around but imagine that your next Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy assembled itself, with no human or robot hands involved in the final process.
No, that’s not science fiction speculation, but real-world technological progress. Super intelligent people at places like MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab are already working on turning the concept into reality and have come up with a pilot process, according to a smart guy who should know.
I don’t know about you, but I find that prospect absolutely fascinating because, if a self-assembly process is possible for a smartphone, the same cannot be far behind for … cars, computers, power plants, who knows what the limits might be or if there even are any limits.
But that’s not even the most amazing aspect of the self-assembly frontier, according to former Fortune 500 R&Der Fazale Rana. Rana is a Christian convert from Islam and is now vice-president of research and apologetics for Reasons to Believe.
In other words, Rana is a techie whose job is to know what is happening in science and technology. He’s fascinated by the self-assembly developments, too, and explains why here:
“It is quite likely that the work of MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab (and other labs like it) will one day revolutionize manufacturing—not just for iPhones, but for other types of products as well.
“As alluring as this new technology might be, I am more intrigued by its implications for the creation-evolution controversy. What do self-assembly processes have to do with the creation-evolution debate? More than we might realize.
“I believe self-assembly processes strengthen the Watchmaker argument for God’s existence (and role in the origin of life). Namely, this cutting-edge technology makes it possible to respond to a common objection leveled against this design argument.”
“It is quite likely that the work of MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab (and other labs like it) will one day revolutionize manufacturing—not just for iPhones, but for other types of products as well.”
The Watchmaker argument originated with William Paley, an 18th century “natural theologian” who argued that just as a watch, which is made up of multiple complex parts that must interact precisely in order to perform its maker’s intended function, so must the universe be.
But guess what, according to Rana, there is quite a correspondence between machines that self-assemble at the cellular level and the emerging process of human-initiated self-assembly for machines like smartphones:
“Cells contain protein complexes that are structured to operate as bio-molecular motors and machines. Some molecular-level bio-machines are strict analogs to machinery produced by human designers.
“Some molecular-level bio-machines are strict analogs to machinery produced by human designers.”
“In fact, in many instances, a one-to-one relationship exists between the parts of manufactured machines and the molecular components of biomachines …
“We know that machines originate in human minds that comprehend and then implement designs. So, when scientists discover example after example of biomolecular machines inside the cell with an eerie and startling similarity to the machines we produce, it makes sense to conclude that these machines and, hence, life, must also have originated in a Mind.”
Now, you don’t have to agree with Rana’s conclusion in order to be genuinely fascinated by the possibilities suggested by his analysis. And not only for the creation/evolution/intelligent design debate.
How long will it be before Congress is confronted with the necessity of deciding whether and how to regulate the soon-to-be emerging self-assembly design industry?
That’s another reason why, if you work on Capitol Hill, you need to read the rest of the story. Go here. Then come back and share your thoughts with the rest of us.