Ideas that add up #178

Mankind’s duty to care for Creation, through which humans have evolved to reflect at least the faint image of their Creator, conflicts headlong with the current dominant idolatry of growthism and technological Gnosticism. The idea of duty to care for Creation also conflicts with the materialist determinism of neo-Darwinist fundamentalists who see “Creation” as the random result of multiplying infinitesimal probabilities by an infinite number of trials.

Herman Daly, ‘Thoughts on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si‘ in The Daly News, June 23rd, 2015

Infinitesimal probability: that just such a universe as this should emerge, its eternal forces held in just such balance as to permit space-time to unfold the way it has, while bearing just such imperfections as to allow matter to form and agglomerate and eventually become conscious of itself.

Infinite trials: all those other “universes” that never make the cut, along with those that do but in some other way, and not forgetting those that do in very much or even exactly the same way – a “universe”, for example, identical to this in every respect except that in it my neighbour picks his nose one second earlier, and a universe in which he picks it one second later, along with infinite copies of each of those and of every other of the infinite variations on this and all possible universes. Etc etc etc. 

Both concepts are hard – or should that read impossible? – for this wet slab of brain to grasp. Now try the calculus of multiplying one by the other: SPLAT! Yet the “random result” of multiplying them, inconceivable as it is, succinctly captures what is that our Big Bang founding mythology implies.

Daly describes himself as a Protestant Christian so I presume he writes with feeling when he refers to “Creation” and the “Creator”. Maybe just lack of imagination on my part, but it always seems odd when a scientifically minded master of forensic thought – the field of steady state economics is dignified by Daly’s intellectual precision and insight – turns out to believe in randomly inherited religious dogma. Nevertheless, his critique of what he calls the “fundamentalist” position rings true. Science, or logic, or whatever it is that propels our thinking that far, hits the buffers when it comes to first causes (“something” from “nothing”? – puh-leeze!). As it does when it comes to sacredness, spirit and love.

Maybe Daly and his ilk are right. It might as well have been “Creation” all along.

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