You have to wonder if science isn’t going to lose the design argument…In fact it already has but the crucial last step is probably beyond resolution: the designer of religion won’t work as stated in the Old Testament. So science is debunking design…on the way to a better design argument.
In Dembski’s language, we have a design inference, maybe an intelligent designer, maybe a natural designer on the level of intelligence but something mechanical… But this ‘designer’ is likely to slip through the conceptual klutches of those who expected some confirmation of the ‘god’ question. I fear that designers, if they exist, are likely to be something unexpected. We have discussed one such here, the ‘demiurgic powers’ postulated by J.G. Bennett. These are unknowns that follow a minimal set of properties far short of anything specific: first, ‘god’ can’t exist, he is beyond existence, and thus unknowably obscure. But beings that exist can be superadvanced with a knowledge and technology far beyond our own. They must stand beyond man’s highest state of consciousness, ‘enlightenment’, and that is quite unknown to us, as yet…Science would be satisfied with this, if the evidence ever came forth. It is possibly analogous to the now botched beliefs in an angelic world. The latter has suffered such conceptual decay as to be rejected out of hand now. But what we are talking about would be in the realm of nature and this, using scifi to be sure, could find realization in the future technologies of space/nonlocality, electromagnetic fields as supercomputers, connected with scanners that can analyze the lifeforms over a geographical region, ditto for cultural forms over a region, ditto for whole civilizations/biological species over VLT spans (very long time), biocomputers as above that can interpret minds, languages, arts, and…souls? The key question here is, what is a soul? it should have to have a material component, making it in principle a topic for…science?…’gnosis of nature’? The soul provokes the question of the reality, if conceivable, of a state of being beyond time. But this is immediate even in the archaic traditions of buddhism and their bardo sutras (not reliable, but provocative).
These are some of the unknowns that arise in the study of the ‘eonic’ or ‘macro’ effect. Consider: http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap5_2_1.htm: the case of Archaic Greece in the interval of the so-called Axial Age shows a very specific of innovations in a series of transformations over a region over three or so centuries. We arrive fairly quickly at a ‘natural’ process that can do the net equivalent of a space-time scan of a region, and induce somehow the creative impulse behind some very spectacular art.
This is getting a bit tight for those committed to mechanical arguments! Now consider this: the Greek Archaic generates the seeds of the realization that produces the grand sequence of tragic drama, which just as suddenly disappears, to recur in the interval of the rise of the modern. Careful study suggests this is not coincidence. So our ‘scanner’ can ‘scan’ for art potential remorphable into tragedy, over many millennia. Amlodhi’s Mill: something seems like it was able to scan Icelandic literature for a potential myth for a next appearance of tragedy: Amlodhi to Hamlet. This example is interesting because noone can really define what a ‘tragedy’ is, let alone write one, outside the key ‘scan’ interval….
Debunk this all you wish, but the mysterious issue of a ‘designer’ won’t go away. ID folks and scientists will have to nurse each other through nervous breakdowns here. The scientists will probably go first…