Exchange 4

David:

I must thank you for reminding me of my own position! All too often, the immediacy of the swirling chaos of life seems overwhelming, but hearing it from you, as I look back I can more clearly see the difference my faith has made. I don't know if I can say I've stood on the rock as I ought, but as the old hymn says, "We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and firm while the billows roll." I've often thought, in a theoretical way, that I would most likely have tried to end my life if not for this connection to something greater, but I can feel it more as I imagine myself looking at the world through evolutionary eyes.
 
Non-mysteries 1 & 2: Indeed, I don't have to wonder how my uniquely human ability to see the four dimensions of the world and share variations on it, or entirely new and different worlds, through story, song, 2D and 3D static art, drama, or video came to be. What could be a clearer or straightforward manifestation of being a special creation made in the image of the Creator? Don't get me wrong, I don't jump from a supernatural spirit to all this; in fact, it might be difficult to say just how that might figure in when the physical aspects of our brains may account for just about everything as far as we can determine. Still, the design of our brains would also not be dependent on some unknown series of random mutations.
Non-mystery 3: (Quite a different sort of thing, I'd say) Yes, this is one of the main reasons I can't see myself becoming an evolutionist even if things happened to clearly disprove Christianity (e.g. The remains of Jesus of Nazareth were found buried alongside one of his disciples with the exact set of wounds and/or a scroll describing how the body was removed and hidden, etc.) It's not that I feel the need to have God step in at that particular point, it's just that I see such a vast gap between the organized dynamic complexity of living things, and their related ability to maintain this condition, and everything else in Nature. I hadn't really thought of it as granting "special powers," but, yes, even further down the road, there's also increasing degrees of consciousness and such. The largest and most complex hurricane still simply is moved, while tiny "simple" bacteria motivate themselves to follow or hide from light, or track the chemical trail leading to food. But primarily for me is the simple fact that over 5 decades of research by highly trained scientists have failed to produce any possible natural conditions producing anything with the organized dynamic complexity of a wind-up toy.
As we creationists sometimes say, it seems to take more faith to be an evolutionist. "For unbelievers these questions face us with having to suppose that in the universe are processes almost as wonderful as God..." But that's just the problem: you have to believe that the wonders of living things and even human abilities that were traditionally attributed to God's  handiwork were actually produced, not by "processes almost as wonderful as God," but by processes that are utterly non-wonderful, perfectly ordinary, natural processes. We were just discussing this on an e-mail list, that evolutionists keep using words that really belong to creationists alone. I almost have to laugh when you talk about dumping pretty much everything in philosophy and such that came before Darwin (especially since you seem to continue to think you've got a problem with darwinism). Living things aren't "creatures" to you, so you should call them "evolutes." Life came about by some extremely rare process indeed, yet it didn't involve any being of a different nature, no intelligence at all (let alone one vastly greater than our own), so there's really nothing wonderful about it, just so-far unknown. Except, as I say, it goes against everything else we observe going on in natural processes apart from life. A miracle with nothing miraculous to produce it.
This "almost as wonderful as God" also reminds me that non-theistic evolutionists keep coming around to some substitute (or several) for god. You're hardly the first to envision a future where humans are so advanced we would seem to be "as gods." Likewise, where did the universe come from, with so many fundamental factors within a narrow range needed to produce and maintain interesting things like life? One popular theory sees it as just one of the lastest bubbles in an indefinitely large and ancient (perhaps infinite in time and space) greater universe, with each individual budding bubble-universe having different properties... given infinite space and time, anything can happen... as I pointed out in a recent correspondence with another evolutionist, if you combine the "we may evolve into god-like beings" with the possibly infinite super universe, why wouldn't you *expect* a supernatural realm with a God or gods? Just the idea of the super-universe alone goes along way toward substituting for God.
Anyway, I think if you'll look in the right places, you'll find lots of other people who see or are seeking in Evolution a mythos that explains things which raw, reductionistic darwinism seems to leave untouched. As I suggested, check out astronomer Tyson and run through the comments about what he says online, and you'll find others inspired to tears by the story of evolving from stardust. For example: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/03/06/neil-tysons-most-astounding-fact/ I would say they care very much about evolutionary origin stories.
Oh, I must check out your play some more. Interesting start. I'm afraid the actor doing Galileo seemed to slip from an Italian accent to something that reminded me of an oriental villain, and the gleeful dancing while saying "Oh what fun we'll have with him!" seemed positively Mephistophelian. Very curious to see where it goes from there, though.
 
David: First of all, before I forget again, you certainly may reproduce my comments on
takeondarwin. Any extra materials I may have included, of course, come with caveats
related to copyrights and privacy of anybody I may have quoted, but I'm sure if you care
to use any of that material you'll be discrete and follow fair use practices and all
that.

As to Uncommon Descent, that's the web presence of the ID movement. Now that I've read
more of your play and understand your position better, I would recommend you check it
out. Despite the Establishment's loud announcements that ID is nothing but creationism in
disguise, it is actually a "big tent" movement that includes a number of people who simply
feel that some intelligence of some sort needs to be considered, because the standard
view doesn't account for everything. Even some of the overtly theistic ones still try to
distance themselves from us creationists, certainly from us Biblical Young-Earth
creationists.

Now I must say that I haven't been trying to refute your position. I didn't even
understand it until I read the second part of your play. I thought that your references
to the thread of the genome through history being the self and all that was metaphorical.
But now I think you're actually proposing that the genome has had a mind of its own, and
that even the formation of the first life required intelligence to be present in the
chemicals as they formed up. Now that I'm getting into the third act, I'm under the
impression that what you're proposing amounts to replacing science (insofar as it applies
to understanding Evolution, the big picture of biology with the meditations of humanities
majors!

I'm afraid that trying to dissuade you with evidence, arguments, logic, etc., will be as
hopeless as trying to use such techniques on charismatics -- you both simply know what
you've experienced and are experiencing, and the immediacy of that experience you take as
unshakable proof or complelling evidence that it is the primary phenonemon it seems to
be. Furthermore, you clearly are reacting on an emotional level against the horror of the
determinism inherent in atheistic materialism -- you want to have free will and be master
of your fate, not a bag of chemical reactions that's deluded itself into thinking it's an
active, distinct entity. You've projected what you WANT to be true into your beliefs
about what is true. Your idea depends on circular logic.

You "know" evolution is true, yet you recognize the theory of evolution can't explain key
things like the origin of life, the creation of new forms by randomly damaging highly complex things, the sudden appearances of great varieties of life, and
the appearance of consciousness. So evolution itself must be an intelligent, even
conscious process with the corresponding power of creativity, in order to produce
evolution, because we know evolution is true.

The big problem I see right now is that the source/location/execution/process of this
intelligence or "mind" of the genome is so vague or left for future discovery. You posit
dualism because you cannot abide the thought of monism and its concommitant determinism,
but where is this second aspect of reality, mind/intelligence/consciousness supposed to
reside? It's sort of trying to have your cake and eat it, too.

But, like I said, I think you should be able to find some like-minded popular-level
evolutionists. It's the people who really know science and logic (unlike your self-
proclaimed master of logic, Galileo, who seems to neither understand logic nor care much
for the experimental nature of science which the real Galileo practiced more than
Darwin).

Oh dear, getting late again. Goodnight.
 
 
Shaun: Now I do feel more understood. "As we creationists sometimes say, it seems to take more faith to be an evolutionist." Yes, exactly. But "...were actually produced, not by 'processes almost as wonderful as God,' but by processes that are utterly non-wonderful, perfectly ordinary, natural processes." No. Just as or more wonderful than God, but not God. "Living things aren't 'creatures' to you, so you should call them 'evolutes.'" No. Reference to creatures being evolved won't do until we elevate evolution much higher. Creatures is fine. "Life came about by some extremely rare process indeed," yes, " yet it didn't involve any being of a different nature, no intelligence at all (let alone one vastly greater than our own), so there's really nothing wonderful about it." Wrong. Both intelligent and wonderful. But not God. "This 'almost as wonderful as God' also reminds me that non-theistic evolutionists keep coming around to some substitute (or several) for god." You've got that the wrong way round: your God is a substitute for what really drives evolution, as yet known only by its manifestations.

As for your reference, when I see mention of "Discover..." I blanch, wanting to avoid association with a Christian-centered examination of anything. But I'll give it a try.

Wow! You're actually a young-Earth creationist!! Ye Gods!

I have to accept that it took the play for you to take literally what I've been saying was my position. "Now that I'm getting into the third act, I'm under the impression that what you're proposing amounts to replacing science (insofar as it applies to understanding Evolution, the big picture of biology) with the meditations of humanities majors!" Yes!! That's the logic I'm driven to. Science can't do the job, isn't equipped to, doesn't want to. The issue is a humanities issue--self and consciousness.

I'm making a distinction between science and scientism. Science is open-ended, scientism is close-ended. All the difference in the world.

"Your idea depends on circular logic. You 'know' evolution is true, yet you recognize the theory of evolution [no, darwinism] can't explain key
things like the origin of life, the creation of new forms by randomly damaging highly complex things, the sudden appearances of great varieties of life, and the appearance of consciousness. So evolution itself must be an intelligent, even conscious process with the corresponding power of creativity, in order to produce evolution, because we know evolution is true." Yes, but I don't see how that's circular. If darwinism can't account for the reality of conscious experience then some other mechanism must be involved.

"The big problem I see right now is that the source/location/execution/process of this intelligence or 'mind' of the genome is so vague or left for future discovery. You posit dualism because you cannot abide the thought of monism and its concommitant determinism, but where is this second aspect of reality, mind/intelligence/consciousness supposed to reside?" I'm a bit upset by this, because I think it's obvious I am doing all I can to identify that source. " It's sort of trying to have your cake and eat it, too." No, I don't think so. I am doing without God or any existing account of human origins, risking all on finding a new one. If you want some more thoughts on this idea see up to page 24 of www.evolvedself.com/alternative/revolution.pdf

"
But, like I said, I think you should be able to find some like-minded popular-level evolutionists." I haven't found anyone open to the strategy I'm proposing. All the non-darwinist evolutionists I've met so far are like me, pursuing just their own idea and not wanting to traverse over to some other cranky idea. I'm not open to mind having originated in the birth of galaxies.

Were you teasing me when you said "the actor playing Galileo..."? Was it not apparent to you that I played both roles in the podcasts of my play? Do I distinguish the two roles enough for disbelief to be suspended? Do realize I've not managed to get any feedback for this performance, no one will submit to seeing me perform it, I am lacking the feedback I need to have the courage to offer to play it in public.

Therefore, I'd much appreciate your opinions. Is the play amusing enough? Is it too long (I dread having to shorten it)? Is it clear what's going on? Can the arguments be unambiguously followed? Are there glaring gaps, repetitions etc? Would you feel you'd had value if you'd gone to a performance, paid, say $10, and seem me dressed as Darwin playing both roles? That's what I plan to do. Am I ready for prime time? Would people get the ideas in the play if they hadn't had the prior exposure to them you had? Can I claim it fits into the tradition of a traditional dialogue?

And, how unusual are my ideas? Am I bound to have difficulty explaining my ideas because there's so little precedent for them, they're so far from any existing positions I can lean on and quote? I'd appreciate your opinion of that, too, that would help me.

Thank you for concurring uncommondescent is my spiritual home. Do you know how it works? The forum seems to be  behind walls. Not surprising. Is entry to being able to post by invitation only, after commenting on existing posts for a while?

Young Earther!! Wow! Humans coexisting with dinosaurs? Noah's ark?

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