He moved all of the furniture exactly where he wanted it, then sat down and wrote a note. The note read:
I am the owner of this room. Over the space of one hour, I moved all of the furniture into the current arrangement.He taped the note on the door into the room. Then he left.
Days later, a group of men came by and noticed the room. Glancing briefly at the note and shrugging, they walked into the room.
The men immediately gasped at the beautiful and complex arrangement of the furniture. They sat down and began making notes.
Another man walked by, paused at the door, read the note carefully, recognized the signature, and entered the room.
"What's going on?" he asked.
Eagerly the men responded, "We've been studying this room, and it's absolutely fascinating! Look at how intricately this furniture arranged itself! Look at the drag-lines! In a stationary room, we've calculated that movement of this sort had to have taken billions of years! Maybe kazillions!"
Puzzled, the man replied, "But the note on the door says the room's owner came in and arranged it. It only took him about an hour."
The men looked at the intruder with pity. "Owner?" they asked. "Do you see an 'owner' in here? Besides, if there were an owner, why would he deceive us all by this evidence, that clearly took billions of years to come into the current arrangement?"
"Huh?" the visitor returned. "How is it deception? Didn't you see the note? How is it deception when he tells you exactly what he did, and you just ignore it?"
Sadly, with an expression of infinite, condescending pity, the men say,
"Ah. You're not being scientific."
UPDATE: now, this is interesting. I've had this idea for some time, wrote it a bit back, and published it on the given date. Now today (2/13/09) I read for the first time this essay, dated January 30, 2009. Kevin T. Bauder, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, does an excellent job of developing the same point along similar lines. Check it out.