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Designed for Discovery

The capacity of the universe to surprise appears to be infinite. UK scientists have recently discovered that plants have a built-in capacity to do maths, which helps them regulate food reserves at night. A fact which has allegedly "amazed" because they did not them.

Mathematical models show that the amount of starch consumed overnight is calculated by division in a process involving leaf chemicals. Overnight, when the plant Arabidopsis cannot use energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into sugars and starch, it must regulate its starch reserves to ensure they last until dawn.

Experiments by scientists show that to adjust its starch consumption so precisely, the plant must be performing a mathematical calculation - arithmetic division. The scientists told BBC News, “They’re actually doing maths in a simple, chemical way - that’s amazing, it astonished us as scientists to see that. This is pre-GCSE maths they’re doing, but they’re doing maths.....This is the first concrete example in biology of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation".

The scientists think similar mechanisms may operate in animals such as birds to control fat reserves during migration over long distances, or when they are deprived of food when incubating eggs. Even more amazing is the statement from Dr Richard Buggs of Queen Mary, University of London,: “This is not evidence for plant intelligence. It simply suggests that plants have a mechanism designed to automatically regulate how fast they burn carbohydrates at night. Plants don’t do maths voluntarily and with a purpose in mind like we do.”

I think the Dr Richard Buggs has hit the nail on the head. The plants are designed! And where there's a design there must be a Designer! But more important these designs are left by the Designer as a sort of his signature. As King David declared many millennia ago :
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. (Psalm 19:1-4)
David had much less data than we do today. These discoveries would have totally blown his mind away. Or more accurately, they would have sent him to eternal kneeling before the Creator. We should too. God is very big indeed! How manifold are his works! The earth is truly full of His creation!

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013

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