Archive for July, 2008

Meaning in life.

I’m currently reading a book called “Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul.”  The author argues that the method Intelligent Design adherents use to attack evolution, if successful, will do more than weaken America’s belief in evolution.  Rather, our whole conception of science will cease to exist and will be replaced by a new ideology-based “science” rather than evidence-driven science.  The author writes persuasively, but my post will be about a different section of his book.  He titles one chapter “The World that Knew we Were Coming.”  Basically, he argues, even if the universe got started all over again, some form of higher consciousness being would exist at roughly this time period in roughly this location in the universe.  The rationale? Adaptive space.  Life is not random, neither is evolution, or the processes in the cosmos that form the galaxies. Things have to fit into the physical laws of the universe and are contigent upon them. Life adapts to fill the spaces around it, but does so within the confines of nature’s laws. 


Why the laws exist as they do, I don’t know. Could be a supernatural power, what people consider God, that started the entire process, it could be that we’re just one of a million universes out there, so by statistics alone, the odds of life happening somewhere were pretty good. Obviously, the latter view doesn’t preclude God, but it does lessen our uniqueness. However, neither view can be experimentally verified. The latter may, one day, be mathematically possible, from what I understand, but will likely always remain outside experimental research, making it, for the most part, every bit a leap of faith as the belief in God(s).


For that reason, I find that one chapter to be the best summation of why science is not the enemy of faith or meaning in life. This immensely huge universe that we can’t even ever hope of being able to probe may exist with one of its direct results being that life such as us was almost destined to evolve. For me, that inspires awe and wonder, not fear or a sense of meaninglessness.


I still don’t understand why science is threatening; on the other hand, I don’t understand scientists who believe that science holds all the answers.  We’re human, and as such, we perceive the world in very limited ways. I mean, we can’t see infrared light, but we do know it exists, so not the best example, but my premise still stands. Basically, it’s the unknown unknowns, which refers back to the quote from my first, and only other post. There is likely more in this world than any philosophy, religion, or science put together. That we’re a part of it, and that what we do understand, science can explain through the material world, creates wonder in me, not fear, because of everything it took to get to this point coupled with everything else that could exist that is beyond the human ken.


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