Many atheists begin to despair when they realize that the universe is absurd, that it was not created by an intelligent being for some purpose. However, this fact doesn’t reduce the amount of beauty or novelty in the universe, does it? Many of these same people will refer to life on this planet as a “compost heap;” as just so much mold, mindlessly growing until it consumes the apple. They can look at something like human consciousness and shrug their shoulders, saying “eh, whats the big deal? Its just another natural phenomenon, just like storms and pond scum.” They are so caught up in the search for a purpose to this consciousness, for some intelligible reason why it must have been created, that they somehow overlook how cool it is! One simply cannot disregard the existence of life, of consciousness, or of any complex natural phenomenon simply because it is a natural phenomenon. Why is “natural” so much less interesting and meaningful than “supernatural?” Hopefully without running afoul of the Problem of Induction, I think it fair to posit that if we see some miraculously interesting stuff down here on earth, like pond scum or intelligent beings capable of contemplating themselves contemplating infinity, then it is reasonable to assume that other miraculously interesting stuff exists out there in the cosmos. While the burden of proof remains squarely on my side of the debate, and David Hume might stand in the way of us ever claiming to have met this burden, it does seem quite premature to form a conclusion for the opposition, especially with mounting inductive evidence to the contrary. If the universe is capable of producing human beings, then what else lies out there beyond our limited purview? To dismiss us as cogs in a biological machine, or as simply causal parts in this giant nexus is to be cavalier about the meaning of such parts; to deny the extreme complexity of these parts and the machine to which they belong. Does our very existence not hint of more novelties yet to be found? Discovering that the universe “just is,” for no particular reason or other, should not stifle one’s curiosity, but should encourage one to ask what else “just is” out there. Even Robert Wright tells us that “natural selection can build on complexity and build on complexity in principle ad infinitum (emphasis mine).” If an infinite process of complexity-building, how can one rule out the possibility that somehow natural selection has produced an intelligent creature that by comparison to us has “infinite intelligence,” a basic attribute of god? There are many who even suggest that human beings will someday build computers that are far greater in intelligence than their creators. Just think about that. We live in a world where these strange, self-conscious primates who are capable of contemplate the subject of their own brains as they study a concept like infinite, may be able to build artilects with god-like intelligence that would keep redesigning themselves forever! While the burden of proof rightly rests on the theists’ shoulders, it is for the above reasons that I do not consider myself a devout atheist, but rather a fairly confused agnostic. Perhaps this will help explain the name I post under, igno-sympath-noramus. It was what my AP US History teacher came up with (ad hoc, of course) to describe my position on religion, given that I don’t know the truth (igno), earnestly care to discover it (sympath), but believe my powers to be entirely insufficient to the task (noramus).
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Think On These Things by JL Tkachuk is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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