by Barry Newton
If a scientist were to explain a battery’s functioning, he might say: “An oxidation reaction on the anode terminal releases electrons.”
Although physics and chemistry can explain how a common battery works, can these fields of study provide accurate information about its origin?
Through the scientific method, our understanding of physics and chemistry continues to amass deeper insight into how and why things work as they do. Nevertheless, neither can explain a battery’s origin, since more than purposeless and undirected natural principles are needed for making AA batteries.
Where Batteries Come From
Commercial batteries are produced by engineers, who design both the manufacturing equipment as well as the fabrication process, and by workers who run that equipment.
We know that even eons of time combined with mere natural principles do not create AA batteries. AA batteries owe their existence to the ingenuity of the human mind to design and fabricate them.
A Scientist’s Explanation of Battery Origins
Imagine what would happen if scientists assumed that batteries were merely the result of natural forces. (The notion is silly, because we know where AA batteries come from.)
In this case, there would have to be a naturalistic story explaining their origin. Human curiosity would demand discovering how a battery could form naturalistically, even if we did not get all of the story’s details right.
Perhaps excerpts from such a story might include: “This molten metal composition under volcanic pressure could have been driven into thin rock fissures. … As the surrounding rock eroded over time, these tiny sheets of metal would then have been exposed. We are still far from a battery, but what would eventually become the casing had been formed.”
In spite of a naturalistic imagination, the undirected and purposeless forces of physics and chemistry could never accurately describe either the origin of AA batteries nor those objects that surround our lives: electronics, furniture, buildings, roads, signs, and vehicles. All of these objects exist, not because of naturalistic forces, but because intelligent human beings designed and built them.
A Battery in Nature
While humans manufacture many types of batteries, another type exists in both the plant and animal world. We call these tiny packets of stored energy ATP, for adenosine triphosphate. Within living cells a whole host of tiny machines depends upon the energy within ATP in order to function.
While biochemistry and physics can tell us how kinetic mechanical energy is converted into potential chemical energy during ATP synthase to manufacture ATP, can these disciplines tell us how these marvelous, minute energy-manufacturing factories, often operating at 9000 RPM with near 100% efficiency, came into existence?
Just like its commercial counterpart, ATP is manufactured by a machine. Furthermore, just as human designed battery-making machines are constructed from many parts, so too the enzyme responsible for ATP synthase is itself composed of multiple smaller protein units, each of which are constructed from DNA instructions and then assembled.
We know that commercial batteries did not just happen. What about ATP and its manufacturing process?
How It Works Doesn’t Explain Where It Came From
Some will insist that mere naturalistic principles are responsible for the origin of ATP synthase. Really? How do they know this?
What evidence demands that undirected and blind naturalistic forces provide us correct insight into the origin of ATP synthase? After all, there is a categorical difference in describing how a process works and assuming that those same naturalistic principles can account for the origin of that entity.
Such an assumption abandons the realm of verifiable science to engage in philosophical speculation. The seeming plausibility of the story will be dependent more upon one’s own insight and ignorance than in actually reconstructing history.
The naturalistic imagination must create innumerable origin stories.
A More Ancient Story
There is another story, an ancient story, that proclaims, “In the beginning God created.”
When we use our intelligence to design and manufacture commercial batteries, our efforts are a poor imitation of the efficiency of what Someone has already done at the nanoscale to store usable energy.