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My Summer Book Report & Question

One of the "olde" books I read this summer was H.L Hastings' Atheism and Arithmetic (1889).

Basically, the book provides two lectures on how the finding of number in nature becomes proof of "the existence of an Intelligent Creator." And yes, it does have a section on the Golden Ratio and phyllotaxis.

But, the one thing that grabbed my attention was the section "Arithmetic in a Corn Field." The primary subject was a shucked ear of corn.

Hastings, as the author, makes the bold claim that every single ear of corn has an even number of rows of corn kernals on a cob...Ergo, God exists!

To elaborate, Hastings argues that given the passage of time and types of corn, the permanent "evenness" could not be by chance...but must be a sign of the controlling "will of an Intelligent Being who counts and reckons, and who understands...how to rule the secret energies of vegetative life in accordance with mathematical law." (p. 22)

So how did I really spend my summer? Every time I had corn on the cob, I tabulated the number of rows of kernals...even did some browsing (i.e. counting) at the produce section at the local supermarket... and I discovered.... (Sorry, I will not ruin this opportunity for you to do an experiment yourself!)