Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Intelligent Quantum Designer

It’s not the Intelligent Manufacturing argument, nor the Intelligent Construction argument, nor even the Intelligent Improvisation argument. It’s the Intelligent Design argument. The word “design” is key, because it implies something about the mind behind nature. It implies an intent and a purpose. Intelligent Design spokespeople, such as William Dembski (as in his book “The Design Revolution”), sidestep the issues of intent and purpose, but these things necessarily are required by any theory of intelligent design. To say that they reside outside the theory is like Darwinians saying that evolution happened by natural means but that any putative mechanisms or examples lie outside the scope of the theory. That’s not science. And neither is Intelligent Design. Unfortunately, Theatre of the Absurd makes no improvement on conventional theology. It's just modernity adding its towel to the hats in the ring. Among the absurdities is the materialistic, mechanistic philosophy of science. It’s no longer a tenable position. Quantum mechanics turns materialism into a religious superstition. The belief that the world fundamentally is made up of tiny pieces of stuff is false. At a more fundamental level the world of actual events consists of an interface between the actual events and a potential for the events to occur in various ways. Quantum mechanics retires notions of causality in terms of billiard-ball-like collisions of particles at determinate locations in favor of an indeterminate causality that includes an ingression of formative creativity from moment to moment. Here comes the polemic: Quantum Mechanics looks like the empirical ground for a postmodern theology, a "solid" foundation for the conceptual architectures of Panentheism and Process Theology. (The mysteries of the East seem just as amenable to incorporating quantum mechanics, suggesting the potential for a genuinely catholic theology.) “Material,” “Substance,” “Particles”—these words no longer belong to the vocabulary of ontology. Berkeley is perhaps the unsung hero of postmodern metaphysics. His (too) radical immaterialism was prescient. God’s prehension, or apperception, of this world pushes it into being. It forces a subset of all potentials to undergo the formality of actually occurring, and in so doing generates the empirical world. The momentum of the material of the materialists is modified (enhanced?) or deflected by creative intervention at the quantum level. We manifest our wills socially and culturally. God manifests His will naturally. With what intent? A likely motive resides at

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