The Search for Connections That Is “Science” (Compared with the Intelligent Design Hypothesis)

Search for Connections

I donʼt mind if someone is an I.D.ist who believes a Designer spent eons “tweaking” DNA base pairs. Maybe the Designer also spent eons tweaking the paths of asteroids, planetoids and planets, as well as the paths of suns and black holes (once you hypothesize “tweaking” why limit yourself just to a Designer who only tweaks DNA base pairs? Even Isaac Newton hypothesized that God was required from time to time to tweak planetary orbits (without invoking at least that a minimal degree of divine intervention one might dare to conclude that planets orbited entirely by themselves, a rather “godless” idea of how the cosmos functioned according to many of Newtonʼs fellow theists, and in fact I think I read the atheist, Laplace, was referring to Newtonʼs “tweak” hypothesis when Laplace said, “I have no need of that hypothesis”).

Of course itʼs unfalsifiable and probably unprovable whether a Designer has invisibly tweaked things or not. Neither does it lead to new scientific knowledge, since thereʼs always more to be studied concerning possible Connections throughout the natural world, rather than sitting back and claiming a universal negative, that no such connections will ever be found, between lifeless molecules and self-reproducing ones (though we have already found connections that explain how the simplest molecules, hydrogen and helium, gave birth to all the rest, look up nucelosynthesis, a natural process).

Another nonfalsifiable hypothesis is that of Rupert Sheldrakeʼs “morphogenetic fields,” namely that all living things have undetectable morphogenetic fields (undetectable by present day instruments) that interact in an invisible fashion with other fields of members of the same species and allow permanent evolutionary structural or behavioral changes to be handed down from generation to generation. Unlike I.D. this hypothesis involves changes that take place between organisms, information being exchanged “horizontally,” compared with say, “top down” changes being instituted directed by a Designer from “on high.” But if there are other “morphogentic” energies outside of the known ones that make up the electro-magnetic spectrum, we have not detected them yet, though we also still donʼt know exactly how gravity fits in with the electro-magnetic spectrum of energies, and neither are we sure what dark matter and dark energy is.

As for myself, Iʼm not eagerly placing bets or trying to prove the existence of anything supernatural to other people, neither I.D. nor morphogenetic fields. Because I figure that “mysteries of nature” only get solved via hard work after long periods of experimentation, investigation, and scholarly debate over how to interpret the data. Speaking of which, scienceʼs track record continues to grow. For instance the means by which an animalʼs body type and some behaviors is inherited from its parents used to be a total mystery, but the discovery of Mendelian genetics as well as the DNA molecule and the human genome project have continued to show us more and more about how the inheritance of body types and some behaviors occurs. Embryogenesis used to be a total mystery, but we have begun to discover how certain biomolecules are released in one cataract spilling over into another, like one sprung mousetrap setting off others, and how different gradients of certain chemicals in certain parts of the growing embryo lead to the differentiation of different body parts, and how the same genes that catalyzed the embryonic formation of “eyes” were found in both fruit flies and humans and that such genes appear way back in our shared ancestral trees. Photosynthesis used to be a mystery of nature, but we discovered the structure of the chlorophyll molecule and quantum mechanics, and together they explained how photons striking the chlorophyll molecule imparted energy that was stored biochemically in other molecules in the plant cell (I believe in ATP-like molecules). Itʼs not magic. But it took hard work to discover such Connections:

  1. How atoms of far greater sizes and with new properties arose from hydrogen and helium the smallest of atoms (nucelosynthesis).
  2. How inheritance works (the DNA molecule).
  3. How embryology works.
  4. How plants obtain energy from sunlight. All considered such unfathomable mysteries in the past that only “miracles” could explain them all, from the formation of elements to the formation of people in the womb to the ability of plants to grow from sunlight, water and some minerals. But such gains in scientific knowledge came about because scientists were seeking to discover how things in nature were Connected, not disconnected.

Letʼs say an I.D.ist goes to heaven and gets to meet God (aka “the Designer”) and He admits “I was constantly tweaking things, invisibly for over 10 billion years.” If the I.Dʼist is also a scientist thatʼs not all he would want to know. Because as a scientist he would still be curious about the Connections behind each tweak, “Yes, God, but what individual reasons were there for tweaking things That particular way instead of some other? What were the Connections in nature that you saw that made you tweak things in such and such a way, and how did you determine the ripeness of time and place for each tweak based on how it connected with changing circumstances? What kind of grand schematic inside your head were you following out, Connecting this tweak with that change and how each tweak would affect further changes down the line? I am very interested in particular examples! And have an eternity to learn more about such Connections inside your mind! Itʼs all so fascinating to me, a scientist!” So again, a scientific mind would wish to find out more about the Connections rather than the disconnections.

Seeking to learn more about Connections is what science is about. How do rainbows form out of sunlight, air and water and the eyeʼs ability to see perceive colors? What Connections exist? How did stars as well as stars that go nova produce all the elements out of mere hydrogen and helium? How do those elements naturally form molecules in space, congealing together on asteroids, planetoids and planets? Can those molecules then form reproducing units? Letʼs look into all the possible Connections.

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