‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Thursday, 12 February 2009

How do you view the world?

Most of us agree that while sometimes science helps explain things, science done reducing everything to natural causes (methodological naturalism) like it is today, seems half hearted, it is bankrupt in its completeness because it rules out anything else as fantasy before you start. Art is fantasy, morals are, religion is, everything else is, it kind of places science itself as God. Perhaps this is because it is science done without a sense of wonder, science done without reverence, science done as a pure description of the natural ruling out design, artistry or God before it starts. It assumes there is not outside influence, that this natural world is closed and was not produced, was not designed. The only reverence left then is for science itself.

That word design is not a popular word is it? Design of life.... The media has taken an axe to it. ID or intelligent design is now slanted by names such as IDiots or IDiocy. But when you think about it, they have a point. The word design is dry to most of us that aren't engineers; it still doesn't capture me as much as it should. It's so intellectual without capturing the passion of a father, the passion of a creator which is what I believe in and most do who believe the world was “designed”.

If I was to apply methodological naturalism to my daughter Naomi who to me is a miracle, she would be reduced to a temporary organic chemistry factory, a blob of energy and matter doing their thing. In such a paradigm or perceived world, she would no longer be the miracle I see her as, she would be well described but somehow the wonder and with it the reverence is lost. If I was to apply design to my daughter she could still be a factory, albeit one with an intended purpose, but it is hardly the miraculous description I crave. The fathers handiwork, crafted and yet importantly also cherished. Watches are designed, but they aren't miracles, you buy them and throw them away when they don't work. So I think I am saying even the idea of intelligent design doesn't quite capt ure my heart as it should looking at a God creating this world for me.

Secondly, miracles cannot exist in the naturalism paradigm because of perception not description. By perception even if an unnatural event is witnessed, something not described yet is to be described eventually, certainly not magic or miracles, so what of God? Is He reduced? But here is the problem; design is not magical either, even in perception. The essential component lost in both paradigms is the inability to perceive the world as artistry. Let me repeat that for effect.

The essential component lost in both paradigms is the inability to perceive the world as artistry.

We get so bogged down in the science is truth, all else is art debate that perhaps we have lost something. Should science described as an art? It would certainly retain more humility that way!Take for example Naomi my little girl. I can describe her in great detail under such a paradigm, I can talk about her intricate detail and design, or perhaps a splattering of intended randomness, but in referring to her as art, she retains the miraculous, value, sense of wonder and reverence.

Art as you know can be a splatter of paint, a pile of bricks or even the Mona Lisa. However detailed our description, use of the term art maintains a sense of meaning, significance, purpose and wonder. Something that should not be taken for granted. Science as an art is exciting and wondrous when we look at the world , it is something to be enjoyed, something to get lost in. Explain anything you find all you like, it only increases the wonder of it all! It is like finding new pictures in an immeasurable gallery. That is because you are no longer trying to explain things away, but rather describe the magnificence of it!

The question, what signature is on the universe, is up for debate. Like all art, the artist needs to own up or someone needs to tell you who painted it, you need to read about it from a book written by people who know (I hope you are following me here). For me Jesus is a simple, straight forward and beautiful answer. To me Jesus is the artist shouting "Yoohoo! Here I am!"

This whole picture would be more appealing generally. Science as art would be more accessible, leaving the intellectual elite such as Dawkins and his friends sounding like people who want to turn the likes of my favourite pet or my daughter into a pile of mud. Hardly a good description for such a magnificently “God breathed in” mud sculpture formed by the hands of an artist don't you think?
Written by Gareth Sherwood

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