Sunday, November 14, 2004

Those who have ears, let them hear.

Let them hear the songbird sing their lil' songs.

"While these and other avian theories are useful, [I may disagree....] it leaves the primary question entirely unanswered. And that’s how matter allowed all this to happen. Ecological factors may have unlocked the capabilities of the organisms in question, but where did these innate capabilities, the unique flight feathers with its aerodynamic capabilities, the respiratory system found in no other mammal, come from? And how is it that such adaptation to ecology was possible? Take it down to the genetic level; even with random mutations, the genetic material must ultimately have contained the capabilities we now see manifested in sparrows and robins, meadowlarks and woodpeckers. Or if you go back before the origin of life, you ask how the matter fields existing before the origin of life acquired all the capabilities that were to manifest themselves after the genesis of life and living beings. Were those innate capabilities, and if so, how did matter come to have such properties and how is it then able to manifest them?

The point is that there’s something involved here beyond quantum fields, and this right from the very beginning. When we see birds take off with a runway of inches or fly across continents for months at a time, we have a right and an obligation to be wonder-struck. To lightly dismiss them as products of evolutionary adaptation is to ignore the questions of (a) where did the entity that does the evolving come from, (b) how did it come to have its innate capabilities, and (c) why is reality structured so that adaptation is possible.

So the next time you see a bird, don’t view it simply as a twig on the evolutionary tree, a vehicle of natural selection or matter in motion. Consider its displays of intelligent, even extraordinary, behavior, and assess these displays on their own terms. Listen to it sing. This is not just a disturbance of fields (although it is that) or phonons gone berserk. It’s a bird singing. And it’s here, now. Its existence is as marvelous and moving as the most beautiful painting. Yes, it emerged through progressive modifications from primordial times but the endgame is what matters, as surely as the end painting makes sense of the initial pigments. Its properties of intelligence and beauty bespeak a source, in the ultimate analysis, that is intelligent."
(The Wonder of the World: A Journey from Modern
Science to the Mind of God
by Roy Abraham Varghese :310)

There is a problem here, you might note. The philosopher and scholar acquainted with ontology, energy fields and quantum mechanics says, "There is no concievable story indicating that what we see could come from energy fields and mere matter in motion." But in my view he accepts too much of a narrative/story based on philosophic naturalism in biology, another field.

A maverick biologist might say, "There is no way to concieve of a naturalistic narrative for the design of birds by known processes." But perhaps he misunderstands the Big Bang and accepts philosophic naturalism there based on Stephen Hawking's "imaginary time." For once upon a time, there was no time, except some imaginary time! That time seemed to have arrived just in time to maintain the usual atheistic kookiness.

The biochemist Michael Behe who rejects a naturalistic type narrative in his own field, accepts narratives about common descent.

Generally, it seems that philosophic naturalism is the easy way, the path of least resistance. I.e., it's the type of thing that journalists believe. You just say, "It's matter in motion. For just look at it!" That's about it, sight without insight. Whatever it looks like prima facie becomes the story of the journalist.

I.e. a lil' story. Like so, "Once upon a time, people looked like monkeys....for some reason they were divided into two sexes. It does not seem that efficient as far as survival of the fittest and procreation. But, we'll think of something eventually. So their lil' private parts just evolved, each one, just so!"

And so on.


Anonymous said...

I'm not real sure what a naturalistic narrative is. Can you explain this? Is your last lil' story an example of this? Interesting post!


mynym said...

The most succint naturalistic narrative would be, "Once upon a time, Nature did such and such." or natural processes did such and such. Which is to say that something happens by laws of Nature that are known by a pattern of cause and effect.

Main Entry: nat·u·ral·ism
1 : action, inclination, or thought based only on natural desires and instincts
2 : a theory denying that an event or object has a supernatural significance; specifically : the doctrine that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena
3 : realism in art or literature; specifically : a theory in literature emphasizing scientific observation of life without idealization or the avoidance of the ugly

Naturalism can be scientific but it can be brutish/brutal as a unified type of philosophy or view of the world, a worldview.

For instance, Marxists on religion:

"We want to sweep away everything that claims to be supernatural or superhuman, for the root of all untruth and lying is the pretension of the human and the natural to be superhuman and supernatural. For that reason we have once and for all declared war on religion and religious ideas . . . "
(Marx and Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 6, p. 103)

"In what sense do we reject ethics, reject morality? In the sense given to it by the bourgeoisie, who based ethics on God's commandments. On this point we, of course, say that we do not believe in God....We reject any morality based on extra-human and extra-class concepts."
(Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 31, p. 291)

"Every religious idea, every idea of God, even flirting with the idea of God, is unutterable vileness . . . . vileness of the most dangerous kind, 'contagion' of the
most abominable kind. Millions of sins, filthy deeds, acts of violence and physical contagions . . . are far less dangerous than the subtle, spiritual idea of a God . . ."
(Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 15, p. 402)

Socialists often refer to Jews as the people of God in similar terms. In fact, it seems that anyone who is a slave of Evil tends to talk in certain ways. Other people are vermin, there is a contamination, etc.

Anonymous said...

Thanks--I get it!