[Note: The "Beads of Waitangi" were created to facilitate this discussion. They were not created by the Maori Natives of New Zealand.]
The "Beads of Waitangi" are a string of 347 beads which spell out Genesis 1:1 in Morse Code.
Are they the result of random chance or deliberate design?
Since they constitute a string of 347 elements, chosen from an alphabet of two, the probability of this occurring by unaided random chance is less than 1 in 2347, or 3 (2.8669 actually) x 10104. (A probability less than 1 in 1050 is defined in mathematical physics as to be so rare as to be considered absurd.)
Contrast the complexity of:
1) A simple binary string, 347 elements assembled from an alphabet of only 2, having a random chance of 1 in 2.8669 x 10104.
2) The Hemoglobin molecule, consisting of 574 elements, in a specific order, selected from an alphabet of 20 amino acids. The formula for the probability of a specific linear arrangement of n items, taken p at a time from a candidate alphabet of q items, etc., is N=n!/(p! x q! x r! ...). For hemoglobin, the random probability is less than 1 in 10650. (If these elements occur in a different order, it results in hemoglobin opathy, a fatal disease.)
3) Our DNA, a 3-out-of-4, error-correcting, self-replicating digital code, consisting of over 3 billion elements defining the manufacture and arrangement of hundreds of thousands of functional devices, each consisting of unique assemblies selected from over 200 proteins, each involving as many as 3,000 atoms in 3-dimensional configurations, all defined from a base alphabet of 20 amino acids, all of which make up the human genome.
This goes far beyond any calculations which would be meaningful. And the fact that the same coding scheme is used throughout all life indicates they all came from the same Designer. The entire creation bears His signature. It is ironic that attributing the occurrence of the Beads of Waitangi as occurring by unaided random chance is clearly (and by mathematical definition) absurd, and yet we teach our children in school a far greater unlikelihood - that life itself occurred from random chance, and this is the cornerstone of our lives, not only in biology, but in all of our social and legal structures. It's time we diligently advocated evidence-based education and stopped inculcating our children with falsehoods and mythology.
Back to the Beads of Waitangi: Could these tribes have had an English Bible, and could they have known Morse Code?
The Treaty of Waitangi
It is interesting to note that February 6, 1840, was when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the Crown of the United Kingdom and the native Maori people, and is thus regarded as the national birthday of New Zealand.
The Treaty required the Maori to submit to the British government, gave the government the exclusive right to buy Maori land, and gave the Maori the rights and privileges of British citizens, including protection of their rights to worship. (Not widely recognized is the fact that, by then, a majority of the Maori were Christians, and thus, Christian worship is a protected privilege.)
British explorers and settlers first came to New Zealand in the late 1700s. For several decades Britain had no interest in annexing the islands. Britain's attitude changed as British settlers came to New Zealand anyway, sometimes taking land from the Maori and sometimes clashing with them. Furthermore, both the Maori and British settlers wanted protection from the French, who were considering colonizing the islands.
In 1832 Britain appointed James Busby as British resident (a type of ambassador) to New Zealand. Busby was given neither troops nor the power to arrest; his only means of solving conflicts between the Maori and the settlers was mediation, which often proved ineffective. In 1839 Britain sent Captain William Hobson to join Busby in New Zealand to negotiate a land treaty with the Maori. The government said the treaty should be based on the free will and intelligent consent of the Maori and not on Britain's right to the land through discovery, occupation, or conquest.
Hobson arrived on January 29, 1840, and was given the title lieutenant governor for any territory that might be acquired through the treaty. Hobson, Busby, and Hobson's secretary, J. S. Freeman, drafted the treaty in the next few days. A missionary named Henry Williams and his son Edward then translated the treaty into the Maori language. (Later, their translation would be seen as inaccurate.)
On February 5, Hobson presented the treaty to a gathering of 50 Maori chiefs at Busby's Waitangi home on the Bay of Islands. Many missionaries, settlers, and officials were also present, and the treaty was signed the following day.
The Morse Code
Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872), American artist and inventor, is well known for his part in the invention of the electric telegraph and the code which bears his name.
Morse was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts (now part of Boston), on April 27, 1791, and was educated at Yale College (now Yale University). He studied painting in London and became a successful portrait painter and sculptor. In 1825 he helped found the National Academy of Design in New York City, and the following year he became the first president of the institution. He continued his painting and became a professor of painting and sculpture at New York University in 1832.
About that time he became interested in chemical and electrical experiments and developed an apparatus for electromagnetic telegraphy that he completed in 1836. The following year he filed a caveat, or legal notice, at the patent office in Washington, D.C., and tried without success to obtain European patents for his apparatus. He also invented a code, now known as the Morse Code, for use with his telegraph instrument. Several contemporary scientists gave Morse significant financial and technical help with his work on the telegraph and Morse Code.
In 1843 the U.S. Congress appropriated $30,000 for Morse to construct an experimental telegraph line between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland. The line was successfully installed, and on May 24, 1844, Morse sent the first message: "What hath God wrought!"
Morse was subsequently involved in much litigation over his claim to the invention of the telegraph, and the courts finally decided in his favor. He received many honors. Later he experimented with submarine cable telegraphy.
His code was assembled with regard to the frequency of occurrence of letters in the English language. His original version was further improved by Alfred Vail, Morse's assistant and partner. Soon after its introduction in Europe, it became apparent that the original Morse Code was inadequate for the transmission of much non-English text, since it lacked codes for letters with diacritic marks. To remedy this deficiency, a variant called the International Morse Code was devised by a conference of European nations in 1851. This newer code is also called the Continental Morse Code.
The two systems are similar, but the International Morse Code is simpler and more precise. (The original Morse Code used patterns of dots and spaces to represent a few of the letters, whereas the International Morse uses combinations of dots and short dashes for all letters. In addition, the International Morse Code uses dashes of constant length rather than the variable lengths used in the original Morse Code.)
Except for some minor changes made to it in 1938, the International Morse Code has remained the same and is still in use today for certain types of radiotelegraphy, including amateur radio.
It is certainly obvious that the sequence of beads in the Beads of Waitangi could not have been an accident of unaided random chance. Yet, that's what we would have our children accept (in occurrences that are far more unlikely) as our "scientific" explanation of the universe and all that is in it.
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P.S. There is yet another alternative to explain the beads: that they were simply contrived to facilitate this discussion. In any case, I hope they have proved constructively provocative.