Evillution, Intelligent Design

Why ID part 2

Why ID 2

In the first installment (https://larryemarshall.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/why-intelligent-design/ ) we left off with the concept of opposite worldviews.  We will still discuss some of the philosophy behind how these worldviews came to be at opposite ends of the spectrum with each other.

rainbow-spectrum

The main theory that pervades all scientific disciplines is that simple material entities governed by natural laws eventually produce chemical elements from elementary particles.  Then these elements swirling around in some kind of primordial environment (most call it soup) created complex molecules from these   simple chemical elements.  Then somehow, these inanimate chemicals became ALIVE!  These simple life forms survived all kinds of improbable events to combine into life that was more complex.  Finally conscious living beings developed and eventually morphed, mutated, naturally selected into YOU and ME.  In this view, matter comes first, and conscious mind arrives on the scene much later as a by-product of material processes and undirected evolutionary change.  “Chance” they say; “goo to you” mutation with natural selection picking the best of the lot by CHANCE.

The Greek philosophers (who were called atomists), such as Leucippus and Democritus, were perhaps the first Western thinkers to articulate something like this view in writing.[1]   The Enlightenment philosophers Thomas Hobbes and David Hume also later espoused this matter-first philosophy.[2]

Following the widespread acceptance of Darwin’s theory of evolution in the late nineteenth century, many modern scientists adopted this view-why is the subject for another series of articles, but essentially it is when in doubt anything should make sense.  This worldview has been called several things, depending upon which scientific study you have majored in:  naturalism or materialism, or sometimes-scientific materialism or scientific naturalism, in the latter case because many of the scientists and philosophers who hold this perspective think that scientific evidence supports it.

So this is brings up a number of questions.  Not for most of you who are reading this.  You have probably never imagined that such questions existed, let alone have or have not been answered.  That is the reason for my series; to open everyone’s minds to the facts that are out there but you are unaware of.  What are these questions?

Can the origin of life be explained purely by reference to material processes such as undirected chemical reactions or random collisions of molecules?

Can the origin of life be explained without recourse to the activity of a designing intelligence?

Who needs to invoke an unobservable designing intelligence to explain the origin of life, if observable material processes can produce life on their own?

On the other hand, if there is something about life that points to the activity of a designing intelligence, then that raises other philosophical possibilities.

Does a matter-first or a mind-first explanation best explain the origin of life?

Either way, the origin of life is an infinitely interesting scientific topic, but one that has raised incredible philosophical issues as well.

My insatiable desire for information when I was in high school and college blinded me to the only methodology bring taught at the time.  It was taught as the TRUTH with very little supporting information.  You might say they wanted us to believe what they were saying on a hope and a prayer.

key-to-life

So let us start unlocking the mystery of the mystery of all things.

Many of the founders of early modern science such as Johannes Kepler[3], Robert Boyle[4], and Isaac Newton[5] had deep religious conviction.  They believed that scientific evidence pointed to a rational mind behind the order and design they perceived in nature, which is so easy to observe all around us.

Many late-nineteenth-century scientists came to see the cosmos as an autonomous, self-existent, and self-creating system- matter was the most important thing.  It appeared to them that the cosmos required no transcendent cause, no external direction or design. Several of these nineteenth-century scientific theories actually provided some support for this perspective despite the fragility of the knowledge the theory was based upon.

In astronomy, for example, the French mathematician Pierre Laplace[6] offered an ingenious theory known as the “nebular hypothesis” to account for the origin of the solar system as the outcome of purely natural gravitational forces[7].

In geology, Charles Lyell[8] explained the origin of the earth’s most dramatic topographical features— mountain ranges and canyons— as the result of a slow, gradual, and completely naturalistic processes of change such as erosion or sedimentation[9].  This brought about the theories of plate tectonics.

In physics and cosmology, a belief in the infinity of space and time obviated any need to consider the question of the ultimate origin of matter- if it has always been there, then it never originated.  That obviously brings about many other questions, but it was and is easier to avoid them.

In biology, Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection suggested that an undirected process could account for the origin of new forms of life without divine any intervention, guidance, or design.  Again, the questions left unanswered and only partially explained were left until sometime in the future.

Collectively, these theories made it possible to explain all the salient events in natural history from before the origin of the solar system to the emergence of modern forms of life solely by reference to natural processes— unaided and unguided by any kind or type of designing mind or intelligence.  Matter has always existed and could in effect, arrange and rearrange itself into any combination that, by chance, would become more complex as time went on.

But does it!  Here we need to dive more into the philosophy of science and the underlying premises of how scientists determine things. We will be delving into some areas of history and science that many of you have never, ever thought about.  Fortunately, others do and what they have formulated is a deeper understanding of how and why you believe the way you do- whether rightly or wrongly.

mystery-of-unverse

Continue on enigmatic of challenge of seeking the mystery of the mystery.


continued at:


[1] Kirk and Raven, The Presocratic Philosophers.

[2] Hobbes, Leviathan; Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

[3] a German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer. A key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution, he is best known for his laws of planetary motion, based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican Astronomy. These works also provided one of the foundations for Isaac Newton’s theory of universal gravitation.

[4] a natural philosopher, chemist, physicist and inventor.  Boyle is largely regarded today the founder of modern chemistry, and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method. He is best known for Boyle’s law, which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed system

[5] an English physicist and mathematician who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (“Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”), first published in 1687, laid the foundations for classical mechanics. Newton made seminal contributions to optics, and he shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for the development of calculus.  Newton’s Principia formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation, which dominated scientists’ view of the physical universe for the next three centuries. By deriving Kepler’s laws of planetary motion from his mathematical description of gravity, and then using the same principles to account for the trajectories of comets, the tides, the precession of the equinoxes, and other phenomena.

[6] an influential French scholar whose work was important to the development of mathematics, statistics, physics and astronomy. He translated the geometric study of classical mechanics to one based on calculus, opening up a broader range of problems. In statistics, the Bayesian interpretation of probability was developed mainly by Laplace. He restated and developed the nebular hypothesis of the origin of the Solar System and was one of the first scientists to postulate the existence of black holes and the notion of gravitational collapse.

[7] Laplace, (Vietnamese) Exposition du système du monde.

[8] a British lawyer and the foremost geologist of his day. He is best known as the author of Principles of Geology, which popularized the concept of uniformitarianism—the idea that the Earth was shaped by the same processes still in operation today. His scientific contributions included an explanation of earthquakes, the theory of gradual “backed up-building” of volcanoes, and in stratigraphy the division of the Tertiary period into the Pliocene, Miocene, and Eocene. He also coined the currently-used names for geological eras, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic.

[9] Lyell, Principles of Geology..

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