Sounds to me like Deepak accepts evolution as the mechanism by which
life evolves. He just says there may be something beyond that in the
fine tuning of the universe such as to produce intelligent life.
That's the view I hold as well. It neither denies the ongoing
mechanism of evolution nor requires an intelligent designer. The gaps
in evolution are not the 'missing links' between species, but rather
evolution's silence on the why and the possible convergence of random
evolution towards end states pre-determined by the fine tuning of the
basic laws of nature, such as intelligent life forms.
On Nov 7, 2008, at 11:11 AM, zatoichi63 wrote:
Gaps in Evolution - Part I
Deepak Chopra - August 28, 2005
My last few posts were prompted not just by the recent debate
over "intelligent design" but a desire to see an adequate theory
emerge that will include the origin of consciousness. This is really
the missing link, if there is one.
Negative response to my earlier blogs insist, sometimes vehemently,
that all the gaps I point out in evolutionary theory have been solved
or refuted. In this I am afraid they disagree with evolutionists
themselves. The essence of the problem, I feel, is that a purely
materialistic explanation of evolution is bound to fail through
incompleteness. There is no molecular explanation for consciousness,
only a fad for believing that molecules must be the end all and be
all of science.
For anyone who hasn't already been worn down, there are further
points to be made about the current state of evolution:
1. Being honest with themselves, biologists know they don't have an
adequate evolutionary theory. Being equally honest, religionists know
that the fossil record must be true. Trying to pretend otherwise, on
either side, will only stymie progress. Religionists may be a poor
representation of the notion that there are invisible realities, but
to call such ideas absurd disregards the entire field of quantum
physics and thousands of years of philosophy. The mind-body problem
still awaits a solution as well, and since Darwin tries to explain
the body, we might as well keep going and see if the mind is
susceptible to explanation as well.
2. The two sides in the current public debate share the same obstacle-
-prejudice. The religionists must protect their preconceived idea of
a God who resembles a human being. Scientists must protect
materialism and its denial of consciousness (i.e., everything can be
explained without bringing in consciousness at all). These prejudices
are powerful, but I have tried to separate myself form both. God may
be the pinnacle of a natural continuum, beginning at the subatomic
level, of a pervasive organizing intelligence. The difficulty here is
not that this proposition is preposterous but that it is hard to know
how to test it, or even what criteria should be used.
3. Physics, mathematics, and biology mesh in the most astonishing way
to produce life. What this tells us is that intelligent design looks
fairly probable simply because it meshes the three fields
holistically. Religion has the great advantage that it, too, is
holistic. Everything comes from God. This is why science succeeds in
explaining parts but has not conquered religion in explaining the
whole. But if that is too much for materialists to stomach, it's
undeniable that life will only be understood as part of a Theory of
Everything. What we face is a wholeness--the universe--whose parts
are subsumed into a hierarchy. that extends to the quantum level and
beyond, that includes all time and space and beyond. Science will not
arrive at a Theory of Everything without transcending those
boundaries, as religion already attempts to do. True, the answers
given by religion are experimentally useless to science. But the
answers of science are fairly useless to religion, which is a
legitimate endeavor on its own terms. I personally think that
consciousness resolves more issues than either camp, and in my
writings I have detailed why in careful, fair arguments.
4. Darwin was tremendously successful in conquering the tradition of
teleology, which in its simpler, religious form said that God created
each creature as its own kind and with its own purpose. But teleology
didn't die. It is a more general theory with many implications.
Teleology is the notion that purpose underlies process. Evolutionary
science thinks teleology is rubbish, even though it admits that every
adaptation serves a purpose. So purpose is undeniable. It will become
respectable science once we ask a basic question: "How did human
beings acquire purpose?" From our brains? Every process in the brain
serves a purpose. The two must be linked, and to say that purpose
preceded process is much more credible than to say the reverse. If
process precedes purpose, then not only could a thousand monkeys
typing at a thousand typewriters produce Shakespeare, but we are left
with the ridiculous notion that Shakespeare himself worked that way,
at the level of brain chemistry. Meaning seems to be inherent in
evolution, since all creatures live out a purpose.
5. Recently cell biologists have discovered incredibly
complex "molecular machines," bundles of interlocked organic
chemicals that travel throughout the cell to do complex jobs.
These "machines" defy randomness, since they do the same jobs, such
as cell division and repairing genetic malformations, the same way
over and over without breaking up into component parts. And when
random molecules enter the cell wall, they immediately join a machine
without wandering around the cell aimlessly. Chaos theory is fondly
regarded in many circles, but the preponderance of design is just as
important. What we humans perceive as chaos and randomness may be
procedural stages in the creation of forms. Genesis can be seen not
as a singular event but a constant in nature. Reconciling chaos and
order would tell us a great deal about a something closer to home,
the interrelation between life and death.
6. It appears foreseeable, if cyber theory is right, that every
process in Nature will be reducible to digital information. No matter
how complex it seems, everything from a neuron to a star can be
decoded as zeros and ones. This submission to binary logic makes it
credible that Nature developed the logic first, leaving us to
discover it. Otherwise, we are left with an "accidental"
correspondence between information theory and Nature's workings at
the quantum level. Very unlikely, since logicians originally came up
with digital theory without knowing much about the quantum level. The
correspondence was there before anybody realized it. The possibility
that mathematics itself may have a transcendent source is a
philosophical issue of much interest.