April 25, 2009

Chicken or Egg

The following is summarized from Ken Miller’s Finding Darwin’s God, pages 208-219. Hopefully I did not alter the context or meaning of Mr. Miller’s message with my snips.

This [quantum uncertainty] is something biologists, almost universally, have not yet come to grips with. And its consequences are enormous. It certainly means that we should wonder more than we currently do about the saying that life is made of “mere” matter….

This means that absolute materialism, a view that control and predictability and ultimate explanation are possible, breaks down in a way that is biologically significant. It means that after we have obtained understanding of so much of the world around us, the ultimate mastery of even the tiniest bit of matter in the universe will always elude us….

[Thus] The core assumptions supporting the “scientific” disbelief [atheism] of the absolute materialist are wrong, even by the terms of science itself…

What matters is the straightforward, factual, strictly scientific recognition that matter in the universe behaves in such a way that we can never achieve complete knowledge of any fragment of it, and that life itself is structured in a way that allows biological history to pivot directly on these tiny uncertainties. That ought to allow even the most critical scientist to admit that the breaks in causality at the atomic level make it fundamentally impossible to exclude the idea that what we have really caught a glimpse of might indeed reflect the mind of God…

…In the final analysis, absolute materialism does not triumph because it cannot fully explain the nature of reality.”

All very interesting indeed, considering that Miller is certainly not in the creationist camp. This does, however, open up an interesting debate. Which came first? The chicken… or the egg.

Plato in The Laws, book X, noted that "all things do become, have become and will become, some by nature, some by art, and some by chance," and argued that either mind comes before matter or matter comes before mind. If mind came first, then the universe is a work of art by a creator. If matter came first, then the universe is the result of a dice toss.

The current theory among physicists states that all things, including energy, matter and time, came into being at the instant of creation. Miller, in his book, raises the question of random chance creation vs. design by God... and argues both sides.

If all things (or the potential for things) appeared at creation, then the Laws of Nature did not exist prior to creation. If we transpose the Laws of Nature for the Mind of God, I have no problem accepting the premise of Miller’s work as it would be in line with current scientific understanding.

But this necessarily means that God did not exist prior to the creation of the universe. So if God did not exist before creation… how can God be the creator of the universe?

So who created God?

The book is a good read. I would recommend it for both believers and non-believers, because it will make you think.



Old NFO said...

Ah... but there is the crux MB, most people don't WANT to think. They want to be spoonfed their beliefs and only their beliefs. Your post reminded me of a totally non-sensical argument between the sides. The argument was whether or not Adam and Eve had belly buttons! I really didn't know whether to laugh or cry... I've got Plato, but will have to go find the other one.

Mule Breath said...

Old Hebrew myth has Eve as Adam's 2nd wife too. Lilith is mentioned in the King James bible, but she is described as a screech owl.

The myth has it that Lilith would not submit to Adam, so God gave him a submissive wife.

The evil redhead is supposed to be the source of all evil in the world. In one version of the myth, Lilith is the serpent who tempted Eve.

Old NFO said...

You're right! I hadn't thought about that in years... Guess that's why I've never had any luck with Redheads. :-)

Mule Breath said...

My ex-wives all are redheads. I live alone these days.