Saturday, May 23, 2009

Daniel C. Dennett - evolution, natural growth and God

God's great gift to humanity - wheat

Evolution is lifted by D.C. Dennett from the humble position of natural processes to replace God Himself:

With evolution, however, it is different. The fundamental scientific idea of evolution by natural selection is not just mind-boggling; natural selection, by executing God's traditional task of designing and creating all creatures great and small, also seems to deny one of the best reasons we have for believing in God.

And the poor believers who have problems understanding this attack the clear facts of scientific research, biology, with wishful thinking as the debate on Intelligent Design shows:

So there is plenty of motivation for resisting the assurances of the biologists. Nobody is immune to wishful thinking. It takes scientific discipline to protect ourselves from our own credulity, but we've also found ingenious ways to fool ourselves and others. Some of the methods used to exploit these urges are easy to analyze; others take a little more unpacking.
D.C. Dennett New York Times 2005

Not so fast!

The fundamental scientific idea of evolution by natural selection is not just mind-boggling;

The basic idea in Dennett's worldview is that there is no need to believe in God since we can now explain rationally everything in the nature without referring to anything that is bigger than nature. God is replaced by a natural mechanism that designs and creates all creatures, great and small.

I am sorry to disappoint our dear Professor but this level of reasoning is not something that modern science can discuss and experimentally prove to be true or false. It is not a scientific question at all but rather a matter that belongs to the realm of Philosophy and Theology.

He may represent rationalism, he may represent atheism, he may present empiricism or some sort of positivism and analyze artificial intelligence systems from logical and mathematical point of view.

This is his philosophical point of view.

Biology does not study evolution to point out the presence or absence of a supernatural divinity, that would be superstition. This is the mistake of those who want to mix Intelligent Design teaching to the school curriculum. The subject does not belong to the Biology class, it belongs to the class where Philosophy, Theology and religion are discussed.

Besides, have you ever considered the "natural growth" of a wheat kernel?

There is nothing natural about it!

It is one of the miracles of Nature.

The entire cosmos is another.

Take a seed and look at it. Does it look like the beautiful tall plant that you see in the field once it has "evolved" strangely through processes that science can study. For some reason, this simple looking living thing pushes things we call roots down to the soil, starts to get a chemical we call H20 from there, its cover breaks and a thin greenish stam breaks the surface of the soil and reaches towards the sunlight. For some reason, this small creature knows that a day will come when the winds will blow pollen and make it fruitful and ready to carry its own seeds.

Not just for its own sake. But for the hungry animals and people who use this process to make bread. The idea to use wheat for cultivation changed human history.

Now, Daniel C. Dennett is happy to explain all those processes that science knows about and tell us that look, it is all a mechanism that exists by itself and was created by natural selection.

Freedom of religion.

My faith is that our good Lord, the God of Israel who makes Himself known to us in the Word of God, the Bible, created the seed and not just for itself but with the specific purpose of bringing nourishment to the people He so much loves.

I thank God for the bread in the breakfast table this morning.

And I am not intellectually ashamed of it.

And I do not attack the biologist and other scientists who explain to us even in greater detail who a seed becomes the wheat plant.

It is still a miracle, even if we know how water fights the gravity and reaches the top of this beautiful creation.

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;

The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Psalm 8. The Bible. King James Authorized Version.

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