Some thoughts on intelligent design

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Some Thoughts on Intelligent Design

Everything I have learned about brain science and evolution has lead me to conclude that there must be some kind of creator who set everything in motion with a few well-placed molecules, as if those molecules were a self-actualizing, self-correcting bioprogram for the entire of creation. When I look into the eyes of living creatures, especially those of my beloved husband, and think of the neurological specifics that prompt life, I am overwhelmed with awe. I cannot help but to believe that there are creative forces beyond what I am capable of imagining.

Regardless of the title of his 2006 book, Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design (emphasis added), and his own views about intelligent design, Michael Shermer has captured the essence of how I feel about the issue. I do not see intelligent design and evolution as contradictory concepts. Bear in mind that the following paragraphs in no way sums up Shermer's ideas. For that, you will have to read his engaging and erudite book.

Page 157: If we define the spirit (or soul) as the pattern of information of which we are made—our genes, proteins, memories, and personalities—then spirituality is the quest to know the place of our essence within the deep time of evolution and the deep space of the cosmos.

Page 160: As we are pattern-seeking, story-telling primates, to most of us the pattern of life and the universe indicates design. For countless millennia we have taken these patterns and constructed stories about how life and the cosmos were designed specifically for us from above. For the past few centuries, however, science has presented us with a viable alternative in which the design comes from below through the direction of built-in self-organizing principles of emergence and complexity. Perhaps this natural process, like the other natural forces which we are all comfortable accepting as non-threatening to religion, was God's way of creating life. Maybe God is the laws of nature—or even nature itself—but this is a theological supposition, not a scientific one.

Page 161: If religion and spirituality are supposed to generate awe and humility in the face of the creator, what could be more awesome and humbling that the deep space discovered by Hubble and the cosmologists, and the deep time discovered by Darwin and the evolutionists.

I was talking with my husband about my ideas regarding intelligent design and he pointed me to The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security (2004), by Grant T. Hammond. The Wikipedia entry for Boyd reports: "Colonel John (Richard) Boyd (January 23, 1927 – March 9, 1997) was a United States Air Force fighter pilot and Pentagon consultant of the late 20th century, whose theories have been highly influential in the military, sports, and business." Hammond writes:

Kurt Gödel (1906-1978) was a Czech-American mathematician and logician whose most important contribution was made in 1931, thought it was not fully appreciated until much later. He demonstrated proof of a theorem stating that the various branches of mathematics are based in part on propositions that are not provable within mathematics itself, though they can be proved by logic external to mathematics. That is, it is impossible to embrace mathematics within a single system of logic. Gödel proved that any consistent system is incomplete. There are statements of concepts that are true within the system that cannot be deduced from postulates within the system. In Boyd's words, "Gödel's proof indirectly show that in order to determine the consistency of any new system we must construct or uncover another system beyond it. Over and over this cycle must be repeated to determine the consistency of more and more elaborate systems."² Thus, there is always something beyond the system—no explanation is self-contained.

2. John R. Boyd. "Destruction and Creation," unpublished essay, 3 Sept. 1976, pp. 12-13.


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