God and Ungod(Essay)

Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/crucifix-illustration-208216/

For the average Joe, Watch is a humble device to know about time considering it a simple analogue one. Not so for William Paley. In his 1802 work, Natural Theology, he held that as the existence of a complex watch compels our belief in the existence of an intelligent watchmaker, so does the existence of complex life forms, which compels us to believe in an intelligent creator(In this case, a god) for its design.

The logic is complexity cannot arise and exist in nature without the hand of an intelligent being(God). So, all of space and its “stuff” is the result of a watchmaker’s engineering skills.

Then came a man who turned up the notch. Charles Darwin, the dear lord of all the scientists, with his “On the Origin of Species”(1859). He argues, by taking into account living creatures, that life was not designed by choice instead it had evolved by chance. New species arise naturally by a process of evolution rather than having been created by a god. That was the wisdom he acquired in the infamous Galápagos Islands. Thus the theoretical fight club began with science and religion throwing logical/faith punches at each other.

In 1986, probably deliberately, Richard Dawkins borrowed the same Paley’s analogy and wrote the eyebrow-raiser—“The Blind Watchmaker”. He attacked the god-made-the-world’s notion with his computer models and stated that the Darwinian worldview was the only possible explanation for our existence and it is the only theory that could solve the “mystery of our existence”.

Obviously, the other side too didn’t rest.

Michael J. Behe, a professor of biochemistry came up with “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution”. He opines that the many biochemical systems indicate the presence of intelligent design rather than evolutionary processes with his “irreducible complexity” theory. He takes the mechanisms of blood clotting, immune system and several others to prove it. Michael basically uses all the black holes in Darwin’s theory and fuels the fight.

However, it’s pointless to argue over this. Neither human intelligence with all its subjectiveness and narrowness nor faith mixed up in parables alone can solve it. We need both fact and fiction(only a metaphor here).

Even if we pick sides, say for argument’s sake, there is an intelligent design behind all this. Philosophers with their old hats come with the question of “Purpose”. The issue of “what’s the purpose of it all?”. Then we know how Soren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus wrote of “Absurd” and so-called “Sisyphus existence” and the “Existentialism Nausea”, that Jean-Paul Sartre talks about. They question the very existence of human beings and the meaninglessness of life. Then a new debate kicks in.

And if we pick the side of science, mere quantum physics is enough to reveal the complexity and the big question mark over our heads. And the humility it imparts is breathtakingly big. In fact, as someone rightly said, the more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless. Things get more interesting once the alien life is found.

Move on. What Gould said in his 1999 book, “Rocks of ages”, is the way ahead, at least for this essay—

“There’s a proper sphere for religion and there’s a proper sphere for science and they don’t overlap. Isn’t that great? We can all be friends.”

Let’s end it that way.


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