Recently I’ve been looking into the fibonacci sequence, I’m not a theist and I personally believe that religion is the biggest bain on society however
(…Why does there always have to be a “however” here?…)
I think it is odd how often this sequence pops up throughout nature etc.
I am quite cynical but like to think I’m open minded and I think although I couldn’t believe in any god that already exists but the fibonacci sequence does seem to hint maybe at some possibility of something.I was wondering if you could let me know some arguments you have thought of to explain the fibonacci’s sequence throughout nature to give me something to think about.
Response below the fold.
That’s a really weird question, actually. The Fibonacci sequence is a pattern that appears in a lot of things simply because of the way numbers work. The way you asked the question implies that you think there could be some supernatural explanation for it, but I can’t even begin to understand what you think the supernatural entity could be, why it would pick a particular pattern of numbers, or how it would go about “injecting” the pattern into nature. Like I said, it’s just… a very weird question.
Let me approach the matter from a different angle. Here’s another pattern that shows up very often in nature: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, etc. You know what that is, right? It’s xi = xi-1*2. Now, obviously this pattern would show up frequently; it’s the pattern of unbounded exponential growth. So if you have a single cell at time t=0 that divides into two cells, at time t=1 you have two cells, at t=2 you have four cells, and so on.
The Fibonacci sequence is actually very similar to this. To see why this is, imagine that instead of new cells beginning to divide immediately on birth, each cell requires two time cycles to “mature” before it can begin splitting. Now when we start with one baby cell, we see the following pattern:
- At t=0, one cell.
- At t=1, still one cell (as it has not matured enough yet to start reproducing).
- At t=2, we have one mature cell which makes a new baby cell, so two in total.
- At t=3, we have one mature cell, one cell that is one cycle old, and a third cell that is created by the mature cell.
- At t=4, we now have two mature cells: the original one, and the first child. So two new cells are born, for a total of five.
- At t=5 we have three mature cells and two immature, so we get three new ones, making eight.
If you work out the math for yourself, you can see that it goes 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc. This is exactly based on the Fibonacci formula, where xt = xt-1 + xt-2.
It doesn’t just happen with asexual reproduction either. Consider a male and female baby rabbit, where a pair of babies requires two months to grow up, and thereafter they will have a litter of two more babies each month (which we will fancifully assume would also be male and female). The Fibonacci numbers describe how many pairs of rabbits will be present each month.
Obviously your mileage may vary. If you have more prolific bunnies which make four babies instead of two per month, you get a pattern of 1, 1, 3, 5, 11, 21, 43, etc. But that, too, is a Fibonacci-like sequence that grows even faster. What they have in common is that they all describe a certain pattern of exponential growth.
What you’ll find is that theists take interesting but naturally-occurring patterns of reality and, rather than try to understand and explain them as I just did, they’ll just take the lazy shortcut and say “God did it.” But again, that’s kind of a ridiculous explanation to invoke. Does God have nothing better to do than to micromanage the rabbit population and create mysterious, unexplainable numbers of babies one at a time each month? Does a holy spirit, perhaps, somehow regulate how many bunnies there are at any given time?
Obviously not. The more reasonable approach when confronted with an interesting pattern you don’t understand is to investigate the reasons, or just say you don’t know.