History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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The obscurity of design concepts, and their science fiction hints of future discoveries…

February 4th, 2014 · No Comments


Pharyngula attempts to work through the ID question, but I am not so sure I could really bother with the list of questions given. The question on both sides lacks focus.

I have avoided design claims, but in Descent of Man Revisited I considered a different possibility, after the fashion of J. G. Bennett in The Dramatic Universe:

We cannot understand the forms of being that might exist in the universe: the question of ‘god’ is probably insoluble, pace Kant, but the question of higher forms of being in the material universe, but at a very high end of the scale of being, e.g. beings of unknown elements of being, mind, spectra of consciousness in higher ‘octaves’ known to man (who can penetrate an octave beyond consciousness, self-consciousness). Sometimes this is taken up in science fiction, and also, not very clearly, in ‘apocryphal literatures’ (which are not very helpful). Here’s the clincher: are there/can there be (as Bennett suggests) ‘beings of light’, beings of hyperconsciousness, or ‘bodies of light’, that can manifest mind beyond the cruder levels of matter we are familiar with. The point here (in Bennett’s useful triad of being, function, will, where ‘consciousness’ and ‘matter’ are on the same plane, but at opposite ends of a spectrum) is that ‘material’ beings in some form with bodies of consciousness, or light (like electromagnetic computers that could move at the speed of light, and/or ‘think’/program as projected ‘radio’ waves could certainly be ‘designers’ of some kind in all kinds of situations. If Verne could predict atomic energy, we should be mindful that scifi, as above, points to a future still unknown to us, and full of surprises. The apocrypha, btw, contain possibly botched explanations of something like the above. None of this is supernatural (whatever that is) and projects a continuum of concepts such as ‘consciousness’, ‘mind’, ‘being’, to their limits of current comprehension as speculations: how about a being with a body of light able to travel at the speed of light, and able to think at the level of intangible computers/minds made of light or some electromagnetic spectrum. This is just an inch short of lunacy to suspect we have a lot to learn about the universe, and about possible designers, who might, incidentally, have intervened in human evolution. Pace Bennett, we should be suspicious that an ‘independent category of will’, characteristic of his and other systems (such as Schopenhauer), with their distinction of being, will, function, would go a long way to clarifying our confusions about what is material, what is alive, and what is conscious, and why these are so often confused and wrongly separated.
The Preface to DMR discusses Bennett’s idea of a demiurgic power, or powers, as a set of beings evidently in the near-nonsense-spectrum above. The point here is that creationists wrongly attempt to posit a supernatural entity as involved in the details of evolution. Those who challenge the supernatural, however, might well be confounded by some element of design and designers still in the realm of ‘being’ or the ‘material’ in some sense.

So best of luck arguing with Bible Belt creationists.

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