"Nature is God's Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world" (Baha'u'llah)

Exploring the Physical World – Using Science & Religion

June 12, 2017

The beginning of creation…

As regards thine assertions about the beginning of creation, this is a matter on which conceptions vary by reason of the divergences in men’s thoughts and opinions. Wert thou to assert that it hath ever existed and shall continue to exist, it would be true; or wert thou to affirm the same concept as is mentioned in the sacred Scriptures, no doubt would there be about it, for it hath been revealed by God, the Lord of the worlds. Indeed He was a hidden treasure. This is a station that can never be described nor even alluded to. And in the station of ‘I did wish to make Myself known’, God was, and His creation had ever existed beneath His shelter from the beginning that hath no beginning, apart from its being preceded by a Firstness which cannot be regarded as firstness and originated by a Cause inscrutable even unto all men of learning.

That which hath been in existence had existed before, but not in the form thou seest today. The world of existence came into being through the heat generated from the interaction between the active force and that which is its recipient. These two are the same, yet they are different. Thus doth the Great Announcement inform thee about this glorious structure. Such as communicate the generating influence and such as receive its impact are indeed created through the irresistible Word of God which is the Cause of the entire creation, while all else besides His Word are but the creatures and the effects thereof. Verily thy Lord is the Expounder, the All-Wise. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas’)

May 26, 2017

Hummingbirds


Embraced by cloud forest almost a mile above sea level, the enclave of Mindo in Ecuador is a honey trap for hummingbirds. 
(National Geographic)

May 10, 2017

“...every part of the universe is connected with every other part…”

Reflect upon the inner realities of the universe, the secret wisdoms involved, the enigmas, the interrelationships, the rules that govern all. For every part of the universe is connected with every other part by ties that are very powerful and admit of no imbalance, nor any slackening whatever.... 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a Tablet, The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Conservation of the Earth's Resources)

April 27, 2017

Klyuchevskaya Sopka

Klyuchevskaya Sopka is a stratovolcano. It is the highest mountain on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia and the highest active volcano of Eurasia. (Wikipedia and National Geographic)

February 28, 2017

Does Milky Way galaxy orbit anything?

Our galaxy does indeed! The Milky Way is one of two large galaxies that make up what’s called the Local Group, which contains some fifty-odd galaxies. The other large galaxy involved is Andromeda, our closest galactic neighbor; our galaxy and Andromeda are slowly orbiting each other. The rest of the Local Group are mostly small things, like the Large or Small Magellanic Clouds, which are gravitationally tied to either the Milky Way or Andromeda, and orbit the larger galaxy to which they’re bound. Andromeda weighs in somewhere between 700 billion solar masses and a trillion solar masses. This is approximately the same mass as our own Milky Way, which is also usually considered to have about a trillion solar masses worth of stuff hanging around.

February 20, 2017

Atom

Atom is the tiny basic building block of matter. All the material on Earth is composed of various combinations of atoms. Atoms are the smallest particles of a chemical element that still exhibit all the chemical properties unique to that element. A row of 100 million atoms would be only about a centimeter long.  Understanding atoms is key to understanding the physical world. More than 100 different elements exist in nature, each with its own unique atomic makeup. The atoms of these elements react with one another and combine in different ways to form a virtually unlimited number of chemical compounds. When two or more atoms combine, they form a molecule. For example, two atoms of the element hydrogen (abbreviated H) combine with one atom of the element oxygen (O) to form a molecule of water (H20). 
(Encarta Encyclopedia)

February 9, 2017

Octopus - 35% of its neurons are in the brain and 65% in its arms

In number of neurons, octopuses and their relatives far exceed other invertebrates and put rodents, frogs, and many other vertebrates to shame.

Pond snails have 0.01 million neurons; mouse 80 million; octopus 500 million; and human has 86,000 million neurons.

An octopus’s nervous system processes information not just in the brain but also throughout all eight arms and the suckers that line them.

The brain of octopus contains one-third of its neurons. It handles higher executive functions, such as decision-making, learning, and memory, as well as coordination of complex movements. Most of an octopus’s neurons are in its arms. Each has interlinked control centers, or ganglia, that relay information to the brain and also independently control movements such as extending or twisting an arm. 
(National Geographic magazine)

February 4, 2017

Evolution of man

In the world of existence man has traversed successive degrees until he has attained the human kingdom. In each degree of his progression he has developed capacity for advancement to the next station and condition. While in the kingdom of the mineral he was attaining the capacity for promotion into the degree of the vegetable. In the kingdom of the vegetable he underwent preparation for the world of the animal, and from thence he has come onward to the human degree, or kingdom. Throughout this journey of progression he has ever and always been potentially man. 
- ‘Abdu'l-Baha  (From a talk, 6 July 1912, New York; ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace’)

January 22, 2017

Orangutans stay with mother for up to 10 years

An 11-month-old baby copies mom at mealtime. The juvenile will stay with its mother for up to 10 years as she passes on essential survival skills. Among them: how to find the most nutritious rain forest fruits. 
(National Geographic magazine)

January 15, 2017

Purpose of Man’s Creation

The purpose of the creation of man is the attainment of the supreme virtues of humanity through descent of the heavenly bestowals. The purpose of man's creation is, therefore, unity and harmony, not discord and separateness. If the atoms which compose the kingdom of the minerals were without affinity for each other, the earth would never have been formed, the universe could not have been created. Because they have affinity for each other, the power of life is able to manifest itself, and the organisms of the phenomenal world become possible. When this attraction or atomic affinity is destroyed, the power of life ceases to manifest; death and nonexistence result. 
-‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk on 12 April 1912 at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Howard MacNutt; ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912’)

January 13, 2017

Comforting a young Rhino

Lulah’s mother was killed by poachers in Kruger National Park. She now lives at Care for Wild Africa, a sanctuary specializing in rhinos. Staff member Dorota Ladosz lives with her full-time and comforts her after surgery to repair wounds inflicted by hyenas before her rescue. 
(National Geographic magazine)

January 10, 2017

Befriending a deer

A Buddhist monk cares for a spotted deer he rescued when he found it alone in the forest near the ruins of Ritigala Monastery in Sri Lanka. 
(National Geographic magazine)

January 5, 2017

Global & Regional Winds

Winds blow on both a regional scale and a global scale. Global-scale belts of moving air spiral around the Earth, driven by the Sun's energy. As the Earth turns, the circular wind cells become spiral belts, such that air moving toward the equator blows to the west, and air moving toward the poles blows to the east. Regional winds may augment or diminish global winds. 
(Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia of Science Year Book)

December 31, 2016

Lava & Plants

The many ridges and folds that form when the lava flow cools -- and eventually stops -- trap windblown dirt and seeds. Plants grow rapidly in the rich volcanic soil. In a matter of years, the entire area destroyed by a volcano can be revegetated. 
(Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia of Science Year Book)

December 27, 2016

Harvest mouse - Europe’s smallest rodent

A harvest mouse——grooms itself on a hogweed flower head in a meadow near Moulton, England. This adult was raised in captivity, microchipped, and released as part of a study on how the elusive species survives. 
(National Geographic magazine)

December 20, 2016

“Man” has always existed – even when there was no Earth

…the divinity of God, which is the totality of all perfections, reveals itself in the reality of man -- that is, the divine Essence is the sum total of all perfections, and from this station it casts a ray of its splendour upon the human reality. In other words, the Sun of Truth is reflected in this mirror. Thus man is a perfect mirror facing the Sun of Truth and is the seat of its reflection. The splendour of all the divine perfections is manifest in the reality of man, and it is for this reason that he is the vicegerent and apostle of God. If man did not exist, the universe would be without result, for the purpose of existence is the revelation of the divine perfections. We cannot say, then, that there was a time when man was not. At most we can say that there was a time when this earth did not exist, and that at the beginning man was not present upon it.

But from the beginning that has no beginning to the end that has no end, a perfect Manifestation has always existed. This Man of Whom we speak here is not just any man: That which we intend is the Perfect Man. For the noblest part of the tree, and the fundamental purpose of its existence, is the fruit. A tree without fruit is of no use. Therefore, it cannot be imagined that the world of existence, whether in the realms above or below, was once populated by cows and donkeys, cats, and mice, and yet was deprived of the presence of man. What a false and vacuous notion!
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Table talks in Akka, authenticated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha; ‘Some Answered Questions’ – 2014 revised translation by the Baha’i World Centre)

December 17, 2016

Mantis Shrimp

Mantis Shrimp, common name for a group of tropical marine crustaceans. Mantis shrimp are also called praying shrimp because they hold their large, hinged claws in a position reminiscent of hands clasped in prayer. Mantis shrimps vary in length from 6.4 to 56 cm (from 2.5 to 22 in). Their stalked eyes are borne on separate, movable segments. Mantis shrimp are nocturnal, foraging aggressively for food at night. (Encarta encyclopedia)