http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/06/why_doesnt_inte097281.html: Why Doesn’t Intelligent Design Identify the Designer?
The ID group, connected with a rightwing lobby no less, is beset with all sorts of suspicions on the ‘Intelligent Designer’ guessing-game front. They justly protest they have, via the Design Inference, etc, of William Dembski created a new approach here.
But I think the approach here, while a bit ruthless, is the right extension of that as an interpretation via the ‘eonic model’ in WHEE.
The issues are stark: the cosmos got a lot bigger with the findings of modern cosmology. It makes little sense even for a believer to think that ‘god’ would intervene in an isolated spot in ancient Canaan.
But we clearly generalized this to the ‘Axial Age’, a planetary level synchronous transformations.
So we are beset with the view of the ‘secular’ crowd using biblical criticism of the Old Testament literature. That’s a pretty drastic set of critiques. But there is an irony here: the design argument gets clobbered, but then revives in a different form.
First, ‘design’ is a universal principle of biology: look at any textbook of the subject and the images of biochemical machines are mamy many in number. The source of this ‘design’ has to be biological, but can’t be natural selection. The latter point is what gets the whole question gummed up on both sides. Design is thus connected with a teleological principle, and this may or may not be connected to an ‘intelligent’ designer. The latter would have to a some form of ‘mind in nature’, or…consider our ‘demiurgic powers’.
The issue gets worse: look at the ‘transition’ as we call it in WHEE in Israel in the period 900 to 600BCE. The ordinary text has a subtext the Israelites never even saw: the larger parallel of Persia and Israel and their blending in the period of the Exile. In general the whole emergence of monotheism is impossible to explain sociologically for reasons such as this. We are led to see that some process or power is exploiting/generating a particular type of history, as the Israelites themselves claimed.
But is this ‘god’? or Yahweh? Ay, there’s the rub. It doesn’t make sense to inject the ‘god’ we see in the Old Testament. The Israelites had a great tale, but fucked it up trying to inject Yahweh. The real history as fact is far better ‘evidence of design’ than the mess of pottage in the Old Testament.
But again, this is not likely to be ‘god’. So who/what is it? Noone knows. We have attempted to consider an idea of J.G.Bennett of what he called ‘demiurgic powers’ of nature. This is an idea associated with some very controversial other notions so we should reinvent the term several times with different terminologies to keep the discussion useful. This was an idea and term from Bennett but sufis and other shadowy figures will rapidly claim the terms and make their meaning esoteric and their implication one of the spiritual duty of man to be ‘food’ for higher powers.
But demiurgic power is a good starting point as long as we consider that it has no definition in human terms. It is an abstract reference to a form of ‘being and will’ that is within the realms of existence, material as anything else, but in a form we don’t know about. That is therefore science fiction.
We can posit, but we can’t as yet prove anything here. Keep that in mind. We have claimed nothing.
Let us invent our own terms: the Demiurge, singular! why would Bennett makes demiurge into a plural? Plato’s idea speaks of a being whose properties are (platonically) obscure. More terms: angelic powers. A problem there with Xtian semantics. Angels are ????something else…
We can proliferate terms: demiurgic brahman/atman or the other way around, brahmanic/atmanic demiurge(s): the question arises if such beings are ‘superconscious’, have ‘wills’, existential ‘bodies’ of some kind (in scifi terms, bodies of light, bodies of consciousness, are some of the ‘yarns’ here), and the relation of such to advanced AI and or supersubtle technology unknown to us but able to operate with issues of consciousness, etc… We are still in search of new terminologies… The brahman/atman distinction is relevant because a ‘demiurge/demiurges’ would not likely have any distinct egoic boundary and would be one and many at the same time….???
The ‘heavenly host’. The Xtians were well acquainted with traditions of such beings, but botched the subject, as will we if not careful.
Another issue is whether such beings are enlightened and what ‘place’/condition of being would be the case in this context.
Tolkien’s The Silmarillion stumbled on this and has a dozen useful terms of this kind in all sorts of combinations. http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/The_Silmarillion
This extricates the concept from Bennett’s formulation which he immediately handed over to the Gurdjieff circuit, wrecking its meaning.
Now back to our discussion: we can see that the Old Testament/Persian history is part of a larger phenomenon of the Axial Age, and is correlated with the proto-secularism of the Axial Greeks, the buddhism of Axial India, and the complex Axial Age in China.
We are thus in need of cosmic beings most probably within the realm of existence who can operate in history. But is the eonic effect of WHEE a mechanism or a design? It is clearly both, and we have no way to finally resolve the question.
But we can see that we have multiple candidates for the ‘designers’ asked for by the ID groups.
We do not have to make any assertions about the reality of such beings. The point is the simple abstraction in various potential definitions of designers, within existence. Whether they are real or not
And these are not ‘god’…
Scientists excoriate the design argument. They should lighten up a bit. If you claim that natural selection is the dynamic of evolution and refutes the design argument you are already on equal terms as a boob with bible belt boobs. Relax. Anyone can claim what they wish, but they must prove it. Proof of the design argument is lacking, so why the hysteria?