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Paradigm Shift: Thoughts on Science, Theology & Cosmology

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A revolutionary perspective on the meaning of life and consciousness in the visible universe.

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"If the Big Bang was the start of everything, what came before it?"


Paradigm Shift

It is respectfully suggested that a discussion of our cosmic origins demands a passionate, determined exploration of ultimate questions: Why are we here? Why does reality exist? Where did reality come from? It is submitted that reality had to come from somewhere, that there must be meaning and purpose behind it all: not out of wishful thinking, but because the fact that consciousness has emerged from the void self-evidently favors meaning and purpose.

Please closely examine the punctuation mark immediately at the end of this sentence . The moment before the Big Bang, the entire visible universe -- everything you see outside of you and within you -- existed within a point less than the size of a punctuation mark period. Logic suggests -- indeed, Darwin's own method of scientific reasoning has as a key principle -- that if you're trying to explain something in the remote past, you should invoke a cause or causes which are known to produce the effect that you're trying to explain. It is therefore submitted that the most rational way to perceive the Big Bang is as a seed: a teleological, autotelic cosmic seed, with disembodied free will/consciousness as its fruit.

There is a sense in which the multiverse hypothesis is intended to make cosmology the new opiate of the masses; there's no need to fret too much about what happens here, right now - just relax, enjoy yourself, and don't think too deeply. After all, if you don't get what you want in this universe, a parallel you will get it, is getting it, or has gotten it in at least one alternate universe. There is also a sense in which the multiverse hypothesis is really the mechanistic atheists' heaven. Every possible event has happened, is happening, or will happen in every possible combination: in one universe you're a Beethoven, in another you're a Stalin, in yet another a flea! You can almost see the egalitarians and materialists and Marxists and reductionists popping the cork out of the champagne bottle.

Darwinism/methodological naturalism states that given enough time, mechanism can bring about life, sentience, and consciousness. And what is the multiverse hypothesis if not a spatial variant of evolutionism's time game? The multiverse hypothesis contends that given enough space, mechanism can bring about life, sentience, and consciousness. But what are the elements, forces, laws, and entities that will manifest themselves within space-time, and how and why will they self-assemble as they proceed to do so?

It is respectfully submitted that Gould's concept of religion and science as "nonoverlapping magesteria" is a fallacious paradigm: reality is an integrated, holonic totality; science, philosophy, and religion tend to compartmentalize reality and therefore each tends to view reality from its own perspective - and each is tempted to mistake its own limited perspective as embodying the true, complete understanding of reality. To a significant extent, however, reality is analogous to a Gestalt image: the viewer sees what she or he chooses to see. The anthropic principle offers perspectives that attempt to explain the existence of observers capable of recognizing that the laws and forces of nature are bio-friendly; the "explanation" offered is that the laws and forces of nature must be bio-friendly - otherwise no such observers could exist. But the fact that the bio-friendly laws and forces of nature have induced conscious beings capable of observing them is self-evident; such reasoning merely begs the question: Why are the laws and forces of nature bio-friendly?

Darwinism (understood as ateleological reality) and the mulitverse hypothesis seem to have in common a prior commitment to mechanism, i.e., to the doctrine that holds that natural processes (as of life) to be mechanically determined and capable of complete explanation by the laws of physics and chemistry. Darwinism and the multiverse hypothesis are both inimical to teleology; indeed, Darwinism and the multiverse hypothesis seem suspiciously crafted to eliminate any role whatsoever for teleology. Darwinism maintains that natural selection and random mutation can bring about life, sentience, and consciousness; the multiverse hypothesis purportedly eliminates the need for an intelligent Creator: together, Darwinism and the multiverse hypothesis are the twin pillars of atheistic mechanism -- ultimately there is nothing but matter and time and energy and unguidedness and space.

Natural selection operates on entities that possess some kind of a "survival" drive, or impetus. How and why would the plasma/radiation released by the Big Bang self-organize into the visible universe? Sir Roger Penrose maintains that an incredibly high degree of "fine-tuning" (i.e., amazingly low entropy) existed in the organization of the initial universe: how and why would the visible universe emerge from an unguided expansion of space-time? Unguided plasma/radiation and inanimate matter do not have a "survival" drive, or impetus; to even suggest otherwise seems to risk resorting to teleology in some form, or "essences" of some kind, both of which mechanism forbids; until life somehow arises, natural selection has no self-organizational impetus to sculpt: how and why would inorganic, lifeless, unorganized, unguided plasma/radiation structure and contextualize itself so as to induce life, sentience, and consciousness? The response of the materialist-atheist is invariably some form of mechanism, i.e., the answer is somehow to be found in the laws of physics and chemistry. But mechanism states that there is no Creator to write the laws of physics and chemistry. Why then do these natural laws operate as they do? Why do they have the parameters that they do? Why do they interact and manifest themselves so as to integrate themselves into a cosmos that can then in turn induce life, sentience, and consciousness? The life engendering balancing of the laws and forces of nature seems to fly in the face of the unguided processes required by mechanism: i.e., a stacked deck isn't unguided. The existence, the hierarchical ordering and meaning imposed on each card in the deck, and the rules required to give card games meaning, fly in the face of unguidedness. To say that life arose by "accident" or via unguided processes seems analogous to stating that someone pulled the nine of clubs by "accident" or via unguided processes. It seems self-evident that life had to have a teleological reality in which to self-generate and then self-replicate; the deck has to exist before someone can draw a card from it.

What Darwinism (ateleological reality) stands for is the proposition that life can blindly arise by unguided processes, and thereafter self-complexify via natural selection operating on random mutations. But Darwinism has a problem with explaining how life began, as well as with explaining the origin of the bio-friendly cosmic laws and forces of nature: enter the multiverse hypothesis; the multiverse hypothesis seems to have been designed by mechanistic atheists in an attempt to sidestep the question of the origin of life and the question of the cause of the bio-friendly cosmic laws and forces of nature; it seems popular now among mechanistic atheists (ateleological reality adherents) to maintain the existence of an infinite (or near infinite) number of universes (i.e., the multiverse), and but of course it follows that one or more of these universes will emerge in a form capable of generating and supporting life - and voila! - Darwinism's (ateleological reality's) just-so story is buffeted by an untestable, question-begging supposition. Evolution understood as change over time and even as common ancestry is rational and is clearly demonstrated by empirical evidence, but the Darwinist/evolutionist (ateleological reality) position that everything can be explained by mechanism seems wrong: it flies in the face of facts, logic, reason, and even science itself.

There is a sense in which Darwinism (ateleogical reality) represents the mechanization of life. But is the cosmos really best characterized as a watch or a machine? Is it possible the cosmos is more akin to a living organism (or perhaps a living "multiverse" super-organism)? What is the multiverse - if it exists - but self-replication on the grandest scale? The multiverse hypothesis, as explicated by ateleological reality adherents, is the mechanization of the cosmos, and as such it protects Darwinism's exposed flanks. Darwinism (ateleological reality) does not permit teleology, and the multiverse hypothesis purportedly does not require an intelligent Creator. Ateleological reality (mechanism) is a paradigmatic-hegemonic, de jure ideology, imposed by the reigning paradigm's Power-Structure, designed to render teleological reality (vitalism) unthinkable. Mechanism rules out teleology a priori, and anything and everything is interpreted through mechanism's unsubstantiated assertions and self-proclaimed parameters.

Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species, but he didn't copyright reality. Darwin recognized that change occurs over time, and he saw nature's incrementalism from the perspective of methodological naturalism. But is methodological naturalism the only perspective from which to view nature's incrementalism? The emergence of life, sentience, and consciousness, the bio-friendly laws and forces of nature, as well as the progression of the cosmos from a seed-like singularity to today's visible universe, suggest that perhaps nature's incrementalism actually is goal-based teleology. Why should the Darwinian patina of metaphysical nihilism be the final word concerning nature's incrementalism? Why is the statement: "Ultimately, everything is an accident" any more or less scientific than the statement: "Ultimately, everything is goal-oriented"? Why must the brain be viewed exclusively as a piece of electrified meat? Perhaps the brain is an organ, a portal to higher dimensions, to disembodied Consciousness, but mankind, still with primordial mud on their boots, are unable to perceive this supra-dimensional bioelectrical teleology of the matter-body-brain-mind-consciousness-spirit continuum. As Aristotle's teleology demonstrates, thinking is godlike: abstract contemplation is the highest end. Plato's Republic and Timaeus, St. Augustine's notion of evil as distance from God, Aristotle's view on biological reproduction as somehow participating in the divine: none of these thinkers or their ideas would seem to dispute evolution understood as change over time, or perhaps even as common ancestry -- but to deny teleology?

At this point in history there seems to be no way of knowing - in an ultimate sense - if reality, as mankind are capable of perceiving it, is the result of unguided processes or of purposefulness. But as intelligent, conscious beings, mankind have a duty to consider all the best possible evidence and, based upon that evidence, set forth the soundest hypothesis they can - without appeal to revelation. The seed is somehow impelled to become the plant; the electron is somehow brought to orbit the nucleus - and what does intelligent imagination suggest to us what the mind might somehow be induced to do and become? Who's to say that everything - reality - is a happenstance confluence of blind mechanism, sifting through an eternity of unguided, randomized ripples? Perhaps rather reality is the sprouting of Beauty - a symphonious cosmic garden - and not a cacophonous, materialistic hellhole. Perhaps the Big Bang singularity was a seed, and not an unguided expansion of matter-energy space-time. Cosmologists and physicists generally agree that the entire visible universe expanded from a singularity much smaller than a pea. The atoms composing your body are stardust. Consciousness has quite literally emerged from the void. The cosmos is a holonic hologram.

Does existence have meaning or is reality meaningless? Is everything inside of you and outside of you, from quarks to quasars, all the result of unguided, accidental happenstance? Is the exquisite, life-consciousness engendering balancing of the cosmic forces of nature a fluke? Could reality as we perceive it have manifested itself into existence on its own accord, from a singulaity or from nothing? The multiverse hypothesis does not seem to resolve the issue, because the multiverse hypothesis is not dispositive: it's not falsifiable, it violates Occam's razor, and it begs the question (see, for example, Sir Antony Flew's There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind). Moreover, even if -- and that's an awfully large if -- there is a multiverse, we can never know whether the other universes too are teeming with life processes, and even if there is a multiverse, we're still faced with the question of what set it in motion, and even if there is a multiverse, how do we know life was not teleologically intended to seed its other constituent universes too? Furthermore, there seems to be no way to know with reasonable certainty precisely what happened before the Big Bang, nor likewise to know what, if anything, comes after the heat death of the universe (or, alternatively, what, if anything, comes after the "Big Crunch"). Many of the world's foremost scientists (cosmologists, physicists, etc.) have developed a theory that the universe-Creation occurred from a singularity or from nothing. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that the Big Bang brought forth an integrated, teleological reality-totality capable of inducing self-generating and self-replicating life, sentience, and consciousness.

It is respectfully submitted that the Big Bang was not an unguided expansion of space-time matter-energy (i.e., it was not an event analogous to a "bomb" "exploding"); rather, it was an ordered expansion of space-time matter-energy (i.e., it was an event analogous to a "seed" "sprouting"): therefore, it did not "explode" -- it sprouted. As to who or what "planted" it, there is no way to know. Nevertheless, Aristotle's notion of the unmoved Mover (or God, if you prefer) is a sound hypothesis. Therefore, adherence to a theistic-spiritualistic-teleological paradigm is just as, if not more, sound than is adherence to an atheistic-materialistic-evolutionist paradigm; note please the use of the term evolutionist: evolution of course is true, scientific, and undeniable. Evolutionism, on the other hand, is the philosophy of nihilism: evolutionism is nothing more than atheist metaphysics.

Perhaps Darwin didn't perceive the larger, all-encompassing order -- the layered, nestled, hierarchical space-time matter-energy bioelectrical harmonic webbed nexuses of holonic planes and dimensions -- in which the processes of evolution unfold, without which the processes of evolution could not engender ever more complex life, sentience, and consciousness: but for the proto-order somehow embedded in the Big Seed, blind, unguided evolutionism seems incapable of producing anything other than chaos. Evolution seems more a cosmic process, initiated by whatever entity/force begot the Big Seed; it seems undeniable that the cosmos has gradually, incrementally self-organized - from the very small to the very large - and that we are a teleologically unfolding part of that gradual, incremental, self-organized expansion.

It is respectfully submitted that this perspective successfully defends the proposition that adherence to a paradigm of theism-spiritualism-teleology is just as, if not more, sound than is adherence to a paradigm of atheism-materialism-evolutionism.

Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction. We cannot avoid revising the fundamental definitions of human life and human society. Is it true that man is above everything? Is there no Superior Spirit above him? Is it right that man's life and society's activities have to be determined by material expansion in the first place? Is it permissible to promote such expansion to the detriment of our spiritual integrity?

If the world has not come to its end, it has approached a major turn in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It will exact from us a spiritual upsurge, we shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era.

This ascension will be similar to climbing onto the next anthropologic stage. No one on earth has any other way left but -- upward .

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn From "A World Split Apart," Delivered At Harvard Class Day Afternoon Exercises, Thursday, June 8, 1978

 

http://transudationism.blogspot.com/

Kyle McDermott is a commentator and essayist. He advocates self-determination, freedom, and independence for all of the Peoples of mankind and respect and empathy for all living things, and he therefore believes in the cosmic Brotherhood of (more...)
 
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To imagine that scientists, in general, ... by Ned Lud on Tuesday, Jul 26, 2011 at 8:04:01 PM
Interesting article. I like the reference to a spr... by Bob Johnson on Wednesday, Jul 27, 2011 at 11:21:32 AM