02/12/2005: Infinity vs Vanity and The God Gene
OH...Crap...I was hoping not to have post this...not just yet any way...but they've gone and kept writing endless stuff about this "God and Evolution" issue over at the NY Times:
Nicholas D. Kristof (NY Times columnist) has this op-ed today: God and Evolution
So, I had to send him this one called "Infinity v Vanity": (I'll let ya know if he gets back to me on this one...sometime they get soooo many e-mails they don't always answer anything personally. Just auto-response answers to e-mails. These do not count in my book as an "answers" at all...just a form of "politeness" on the internet highway of life.)
Dear Mr. Kristof:
OH...Please not more about this abominable "God Gene" nonsense!!!
I have a much better one though...If I were writing the legal brief for the Celestial Court of the Universe, it would be phrased in "legalese" as "neither admits not denies the existence of a God." (Besides...what do I know...I have no special "TRUTHs" in this matter...and I'm mighty suspicious of those who claim they DO.)
Try this one on for size:
Have you ever come across Dr. Steven Wolfram's "A New Kind Of Science" published in 2002? Wolfram created a program "mathematica" of simple mathematical programs which run and mimic complex processes found in nature. (Full book text can be found at www.wolframscience.com - and do check out a few of the incredible pages of illustrations; like pp's 402-403, 415-416, and 426-427 - they are awesome!!)
He avoids the "God" implications in either Creationism or Intelligent Design, except by suggestion that if one believes in God as proved by the immeasurable complexity and variety found in nature, the truth may be that if there was a divine "plan" it may have been a "simple plan" after all. (This is the direct opposite concept of the ID people who posit an intelligent creator because of the diversity visible in the world.)
While I am not a mathematician, so many of the 1293 pages of equations fall outside of my ken, but the basic principles he explains and the models he illustrates are amazing.
The interesting point about the "simple plan" is how it can fit both views if one wishes to see a divine force or merely the work of nature. However, in my opinion, what is doesn't fit is the usual Religious narrative that attempts to squash that "infinite" creativity to the idea of a "human inspired" creation of only 6000 years in a theme of biblical literalism of creationism. I fail to find a reason for "Biblical Literalism" in all its forms, except as the propaganda agenda of so many organized religions as used to justify policies for themselves and against others (both other religious and non-religious groups.) How "telling" is that the Bible and Koran, as it was written by other mere mortal men years after events (now why didn't Jesus or Mohammed write down their own "talking points" or have their words scribed by others since they must have known the import of them to their adherents?) wish to present their views based on God's benevolent interest in us…seems mostly mere mortal vanity.
However, if one conceived of an infinite being, to whom time is infinite, processes unlimited, why would it make sense to limit its' "creativity" in creation to this unnaturally narrow frame of possibilities as described in the Bible by men? It fits so much better that this may have been the process of a few simple rules (if one like the notion of a divine plan) that can then spin out over endlessly vast amounts of time and space, evolving and following these paths into the most spectacular array of things…as we can see around us. What is the billions of years it would take...in comparison to this infinity of time to let this all take place. How much more beautiful it becomes as a whole if one can "ignore" the organized religious views as expressed so narrowly and see beyond to the fullest possibilities yet to come. This notion of "simple becoming diverse" is not heretical, anti-God idea (but it may be anti-Biblical if one wishes to claim the Bible as Fact rather than Faith.)
On the opposite end, if one were an atheist, this simple plan also fits as perhaps the fruitful outcome of some simple rules and the natural/organic processes inherent in formation of the Earth which has begun simply and, again, spins out over endlessly vast amounts of time and space, turning and following these paths into the most spectacular array of things…as we can see around us.
That because of these processes, played out over the millennium, we somehow arrived at modern, thinking, reflective humans can be an amazing thing, but why not part of a process of this "infinite" set of possibilities rather than the "penultimate" reason for all creation…which begins to look more like that vanity of the human creation than God's creational infinity.
Hope you get a chance to look over Wolfram's work. I'd be curious to see what your take would be on this idea after you've seen if for yourself.
Karen on 02.12.05 @ 07:29 AM CST