God the Pachinko Player
It's time to come clean. I've been bashing Intelligent Design a lot lately and I'm starting to feel bad about it. It feels like being mean to small helpless animals. Of course I realize that some of these poor creatures aren't so helpless and actually run the American government. Still it seems nasty to pick on simple folk. They know not what they do.
As for my own beliefs, it's just not possible to spend 5-6 hours a week singing choral music and not be a spiritual suspect. So I admit to a lingering feeling that this overwhelming sense of awe and beauty can't simply be attributed to thousands of generations of sexual selection for musical sensitivity.
I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance.
Charles Darwin, 1860, source
I like the idea of a God having created all the natural laws with the rest of time evolving like a giant Pachinko Game. I don't think the ID-ologists (not to be confused with Caroline Sami) would approve however. Their God seems to be more of a chess player. Plus he comes with a lot of anthropomorphic traits I can't take too seriously including bad moods, desire for lots of praise and open-toed sandals.
Whether God created life, created the natural laws, is the natural laws or is simply a security blanket to lost souls cast upon a meaningless universe, is besides the point. That is a philosophical discussion. ID does not belong in science class.
I'm happy to debate this but there are limits. My list of dumb arguments I won't bother having include the following:
- Evolution didn't happen. Well it did and if you are too pig-headed to recognize this and think dinosaur bones are part of some elaborate Dan Brown like plot carried out by God, then there's nothing to discuss. Disagreement by scientists about the specifics of the process does not disprove its existence any more than one church faction diverging from another disproves the existence of God. If your God doesn't have the capacity to create evolution then you need a new God.
- Random Disasters, Black Holes, Multiverses, etc. , etc. disprove the existence of God. No they don't; they simply redefine his powers. It's an endless argument.
Ironically, I'm not confident we could have evolved the capacity to grasp reality. We experience 3 spatial dimensions and have a linear grasp of time. We have big brains because they helped us find fruit and perhaps helped us charm the pants off the opposite sex. Would it be a happy side-effect that this could equip us with the ability to really grasp the nature of the universe? I guess we'll know when we get there.
Either way, debates about metaphysics are totally subjective. They don't affect reality either way so there's no point getting dogmatic.
You Asked for It
It upsets me that some religions teach their followers to not think and to rely on blind faith even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. But likewise I get fed up with scientists who attempt to veer their work on a collision course with God. Why bother? Why are people so wrapped up with trying to disprove the existence of something that could never be proved to exist in the first place?
Was evolution characterized by a number of mass extinctions? Yes. Were these caused by random events – perhaps huge meteors hitting the earth? Yes. Does this disprove the existence of God? Why are we even asking the question in the course of a scientific discussion? If you're going to open up that can of worms then quite frankly, you've just invited them into your classroom... and we don't want them there.