The few "facts" known about evolution should not be incompatible with
anyone's philosophy. Conclusive evidence for either randomness or God will
never be found, and the existence of purpose --or lack of purpose-- in nature
should not be part of a scientific debate. I don't ridicule anyone's God,
and could be as tolerant of atheists if they didn't try to impose "lack of
purpose in nature" upon me as scientific truth. Explanation for the
unexplainable seems a pressing human need, and we agnostics are not immune,
although our explanations are sometimes more personal and individualized.
"Self organization" is one such explanation, and the evidence for it will
remain similar to the evidence for God or for randomness. Self organization
is also as impossible to define as God and randomness.
Rupert Sheldrake refers to the laws of nature as habits. Most have existed
so long as to be comparatively stable. Life, a newcomer in the universe, is
far from stable. One might guess the laws governing life could change more
easily. They "self-organize". Any change in the "habits" or laws of nature
governing life, which have persisted for billions of years, would still be so
gradual as to be imperceptible to humans. Habits, as we know them, are
changed by will. Many atheists deny the existence of free will, even for
humans, but I see the ability to make choices as what distinguishes life from
non-life. The most primitive bacteria has a choice of turning right or left.
We have decided "mind" is synonymous with our brains, and that "mind" is an
almost exclusively human attribute. Some people acknowledge a diminished
portion of mind for some mammals, but most people would declare a cut-off
point for mind (or free-will) somewhere above bacteria. Even those who admit
bacteria make choices would insist it is a mindless choice. How can anyone
know that? Until science can define "mind", which I don't anticipate, any
"cut off" seems unwarranted to me.
I suspect many religious people would not be offended by such views, but I
expect most atheists to be as outraged as they are by the concept of God.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jan 13 2000 - 11:56:03 EST