Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Intelligent Design

Intelligent design is a theory that has been argued back and forth for years. In response to the theory of evolution, fundamentalist Christians (who in my opinion are really materialists in denial) and some scientists who pretend not to be motivated by religious considerations have asserted that certain features of animals (eyes for example) are too complex to have evolved through random mutation combined with natural selection. Some of these same people argue on a larger scale that the fundamental constants of physics, had they been different, would not have allowed for a universe capable of supporting life. Since the chance of these constants all holding the values they do is infinitesimal, they must have been determined by a supreme being. This is called the strong anthropic principle if I remember correctly. My position is that neither of these arguments are worth fighting over because, even if valid, they do not prove exactly what the people who use them want to prove.

Let's talk about intelligent design first. Does this argument prove the existence of God? If valid, it would prove the existence of a being much more powerful than us. Is that the same thing as God? To ask the question is to answer it. (Hint: Maybe.)

Now let's talk about the anthropic principle. It seems to me that the argument assumes that the fundamental constants of physics could have been different. But let's assume the argument is valid. It would prove the following:

  1. There is an entity somewhere that is vastly more powerful than we can even imagine.

  2. We shouldn't be calling the universe the universe, because there's obviously something outside of it manipulating constants.

  3. The common anthropomorphic concept of God obviously doesn't apply to such a being.

Now those of you who are recovering materialists can forget everything I just said, because it doesn't make any difference to us. Only the common anthropomorphic concept of God requires proof. That's not our idea of God, because it is intrinsically dualist (and therefore materialist in denial) at best. Our concept of God, to the extent that a concept can even be made out of it, is something that is above, beyond and includes the physical universe as we know it. So we don't need to worry our little heads about these "scientific" theories.

No comments: