“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Monday, May 12, 2008
Purposeful Evolution Pt 3 of 3
Last of a three part series
Energy comes in many forms: heat, light, gravitational, electro-magnetic, etc. but there is no universally accepted view as to the exact nature of energy. Sometimes it acts like a wave, sometimes it acts like a particle. However, the fact remains, what energy is and what makes it go are a complete mystery.
There is randomness in the behavior of matter but material movements are not entirely random. They must obey the Laws of Physics. There is a point at where the Laws of Physics cannot be calculated. Below this point, material behavior is so subtle that it cannot be accurately predicted. There will be a range of possibilities and we make a calculation of the probabilities of one outcome over another.
Matter, coming together to form an organism by chance is beyond calculation. So, we end up with a range of probabilities about possible outcomes. The probability that matter would come together to construct an organism randomly is, statistically, nil. Nonetheless, the organism does come together. The only known force to interfere with the relative frequency with which an event occurs or is likely to occur is intelligence.
Intelligence exists in organisms. Evolutionary theory say that every characteristic possessed by organisms has evolved. Therefore, intelligence evolved. That means that intelligence had antecedents. How intelligence and its antecedents may have contributed to the creation or development of organisms needs to be acknowledged. To deny the role of intelligence in any theory of evolution is, at the least, short sighted.
Dr. Barry Sears once commented that the human body was like a "vast biological internet." Think of all organisms, and anything else that may process information, as components in a vast cosmological internet. In my opinion, this vast cosmological internet is The Mind of God.
God created us. He operates through us. What role has He determined for us in the evolution of the universe? Humans are the leading edge of God's current capabilities. And what has God been doing, through His agent, Man, for the last few thousand years? Advancing civilization, I would observe.
Man can build a civilization because of the four main attributes he possesses: brain capacity, manual dexterity, a moral sensibility, and the power of choice. All of the artifacts of civilization are possible because of Man's technical prowess. This prowess is due to the first two of these attributes: our brain and its ability to do mathematics, and our opposable thumb which allows allows us to build tools.
But a civilization is more than the sum of its artifacts. Civilization becomes "civil" through its behaviour. The behavior that is necessary to allow us to construct an advanced civilization would not be possible without the other two major attributes: a moral sensibility and the power of choice. These four major attributes not only allow Man to build the various forms of civilization but, in my opinion, made it inevitable.
Evolution by chance only acquires abilities "on demand"; the process of random selection has no foresight. Clearly, humans are an example of anticipatory design. We have "evolved" abilities in advance of need. But, to what end?
Is advancing civilization that end? Is that our purpose? I would answer, "yes." This is the only inference I can draw from Man's history. If so, what do we mean by advancing civilization and how do we do it?
As I turn away from philosophy and toward politics, those will be the central questions that I examine.
Before I form an opinion about anything I try to marshal as many facts as I can. Where there are no facts, I try to make reasonable assumptions. Where there are no reasonable assumptions I rely on "insight."
Facts are dry and cold things. They have no flavor. When I raised my children I immersed them in Biblical stories, stories from Greek mythology, and Aesop's Fables. I consider all of these tales to be allegorical but they are no less true for that. But the truths in them are accepted because they are palatable. The people who wrote these stories not only had the gift of insight but they wrote stories that were sometimes delightful and always satisfying. Furthermore, they had gleaned most of the truth about God before the science of physics was ever dreamt of.
People who are my age get occasional glimpses of the Grim Reaper lurking in the shadows. I can assure you that we do not seek comfort in The Laws of Physics. So, while I am always trying to ferret out the facts, facts, per se, do not satisfy the soul.
Darwinism is, in my opinion, a complete waste of time. It is nearly devoid of facts in its central thesis and is unsatisfying to boot. Creationism, while not literally true, has deep insight into the nature of things.
Does Intelligent Design belong in science class? Clearly, the answer is no; it is an incomplete hypothesis with untestable aspects to it. Does Darwinism belong in the science classroom? The answer to that is also no. It is statistically impossible and it is only in the classroom because, decades ago, Darwinism was used as a stalking horse by philosophical nihilists who were trying to drive Christianity from the schoolhouse. In the battle between Darwinians and Creationists, you know where my sympathies lay.