hughfarey wrote: Kurieuo wrote:
hughfarey wrote:I believe it is impossible to distinguish between an atheistic and a theistic universe. The distinction between these two philosophies is at a more basic level.
I don't even know what an atheistic universe would look like, except complete nothingness.
I like that! And agree with it. Perhaps I should have said the difference between an atheistic study of the science of the universe and a theistic study of the same.
When it comes to the processes of evolution, for example, I don't think one can distinguish a difference, and, bit by bit, I think even the more scientific creationists (supporters of ID) are beginning to realise the same.
There is an interesting article
I came across, by a blogger called Tyler Journeux. It contains rather complex thinking, but draws upon many ideas from Plantinga, Nagel, and others, touching upon the likes of Kant and Aquinas. I think it takes the next wave of "design thought" to higher levels.
The sentence in your words that I underlined and made bold above, I think there is much that could be said. Which would also lend more credence to your reason for Theistic belief over Atheistic when considering Evolution. You do not need to go so far back as problems with abiogenesis, or even a cosmological argument, in order to say "design" (and therefore support your Theism) -- but would have an argument for apprehending design in evolutionary processes themselves. These thoughts are quite sophisticated and forceful I think, when properly understood.
Ironically, many assume science works by assuming Methodological Naturalism, and yet, as it turns out, the picture may not be nearly so neat. I'll quote some interesting thoughts towards the end of that article (but you'd have to read the article more fully to have the full sense of how he gets there):
.... in effect, Kant is arguing that while we cannot justify any claim of intelligent design about the world we must nevertheless axiomatically presuppose intelligent design, otherwise we will be ultimately unable to comprehend the natural world. We might call this methodological intelligent design
, as opposed to metaphysical intelligent design
. In Kant’s view, intelligent design is not a perception so much as a presupposition which serves as a necessary precondition for our teleological judgments.
This critique of the teleological power of judgment may have as much going for it as Thomas Aquinas’ fifth way. In fact, rereading the last of the Quinque viæ
through this lens also lends it enormous credibility. Although it is also readily dismissed by modern thinkers, St. Thomas’ teleological argument may be no worse for ware given the assumption that design is perceived. Aquinas’ fundamental point is that nothing which lacks intelligence can move itself, with any considerable consistency or regularity, toward a beneficial end.
The argument can be briefly outlined as follows:
Et hoc omnes intelligent Deum
- Anything which acts “always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result”17is either intelligent or being directed by a being “endowed with knowledge and intelligence”18
- Natural bodies act always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result.
- Natural bodies are not intelligent.
- Therefore, natural bodies are directed to their ends by a being endowed with knowledge and intelligence
["and all understand this to be God"]. The crucial assumption here is that “whatever lacks intelligence cannot move [itself] towards an end.”19 Thus, if the fundamental ingredients of the world are unintelligent, they will not be able to conspire to combine themselves or work together towards an intelligent end of any kind, including the development of intelligent creatures, or even creatures whose parts are intelligently ordered so as to take aim towards the ends beneficial to the organism as a whole.
There is a lot of build up to this, so the fuller article ought to be read in its entirely before responding. Intelligent Design is built upon the premise that we ought to "infer" design based upon certain criteria. Yet, as the author writes:
instead of being an inference to design, Plantinga suggests that our apprehension of design in nature is rather more like a perception.
- “In many cases, so the thought goes, the belief that something or other is a product of design is not formed by way of inference, but in the basic way; what goes on here is to be understood as more like perception than like inference.”14
On his view, a person whose cognitive faculties are operating correctly while being appropriately connected to the external world can perceive design.
It seems apparent that you're not taken by Intelligent Design thinking, of inferring design. Yet, nonetheless is seems equally apparent that you see much beauty and "design-significance" if you will in the evolutionary process that are directed towards an end goal as wondrous as what unfolded (i.e., all the diverse species and ultimately humanity).
If I now turn to your thoughts on the process of evolution, specifically not be able to distinguish the difference between Atheistic and Theistic study of such science
, I think you are right. However, I do not believe you are right in the direction that you might think such goes (i.e., God or "Design" isn't needed). Rather, I think as above, the direction points more to what the author calls a methodological intelligent design
. It seems such is what we work with, we're trying to figure out something that has been designed, something that has been arranged in a meaningful manner in according to certain defined laws. It is just that, some naively dismiss such as nothing, because they do not (indeed perhaps cannot) perceive the design behind such as you and I would.
I'll finish here by quoting the author's own reflections upon the processes in evolution:
Ever since seeing the beauty and elegance in the theory of evolution, I have had a difficult time understanding how anyone who believed in it could avoid what seemed to me to be the obvious conclusion; namely, that the process of evolution seemed an intelligent orchestration. I am, on this point, in strong agreement with the heretic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who could not help but read (perhaps too much) religious significance into evolution. Those who do not see this have, in my opinion, not sufficiently reflected upon the apparent design of the evolutionary process itself. How odd would it be if a universe fundamentally comprised of unintelligent elements and forces with no intelligently designed fundamental structure (laws, etc.) just happened to give rise to the overwhelming appearance of design? It seems nearly unconscionable to me. Some unscrupulous thinkers dismiss this intuition as naïve, suggesting that the mechanisms responsible for the appearance of design are comprehensible without any appeal to intelligence. In one sense, they are quite right. In a deeper sense, I think they are the ones being naïve. Judgments about design (i.e., teleological judgments) are similar to judgments of the good, and the beautiful in that they are profoundly subjective (more so than, say, mathematical judgments, or judgments relying on logical intuitions). How, then, can I expect to convey this sense of ‘perceived design’ to those who do not apprehend it as readily as I do? Perhaps an illustration will be helpful here.
People often chuckle irreverently when first learning of the philosophical views of several pre-Socratics, including, for instance, Diogenes Apolloniates who argued that air is intelligent. I often chuckle just as irreverently when I compare those views to the currently fashionable materialism adopted unthinkingly by so many people today. The pre-Socratics were attempting to explain why the world appears to be intelligently structured, and the answers they came up with almost invariably posited some underlying intelligence (usually in an element, or some other alleged fundamental ingredient of reality). By contrast, the materialist strangles intelligence out of the picture entirely, insisting instead that the fundamental elements of the world are unintelligent, and the complex underlying structure of the natural order (with all its laws and constants) is an inexplicable accident. Sure, they express hope that one day it will become an explicable accident (unconsciously committing a sort of materialism-of-the-gaps fallacy), but in this they have already missed the point. What makes their view so odious is that it suggests that ‘unintelligence’ is the best explanation for order (and, ultimately, even order enough to instantiate intelligence itself). In other words, their view is that unintelligent matter guided by no intelligence at all just happens to organize itself into highly complex structures (from sub-atomic particles all the way up to galaxies), including (eventually) the human brain (the paradigmatic locus of intelligence). This seems incredible, to put it mildly. I, for one, can more easily see the sense in thinking that if matter arranges itself into complex end-directed structures it must be intelligent than I can in thinking that matter arranges itself into complex structures with the appearance of being designed for a purpose under no intelligent impulse or direction at all. To put it somewhat poetically: the view that matter is intelligent is much less crazy than the view that intelligence is matter.
Highly recommend reading the article in full