Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Brookfield Ontological Argument for Design

In introducing his new book "Signature in the Cell" Steven C. Meyer uses combinatrics and "combinatorial explosion" as an argument against the proverbial "typing monkey." While the combinatrics argument is basically sound, it seems to me that another, more effective and complimentary argument, could be used here – "The Brookfield Ontological Argument for Design." There is a clear ontological (basic substance) difference between monkey shakespeare and real Shakespeare. Scientists who question this do so at their own peril (more on this later).

Both typing systems are letter "writing systems" (abc..) and subsequently both are bound by system-level law to produce sequences of letters. Real Shakespeare however is bound by numerous other laws while monkey shakespeare is not. Real Shakespeare is bound by the laws of spelling, grammar, syntax, plot development etc. Moreover, real Shakespeare is bound by the spacio-temporal laws of physics in that it must map to those laws in order to make sense to humans who live within those laws (within space and time). Divergences from those laws (science fiction) must not occur at random but must be suitably framed (laws again).

When one is asking as to the source of the finely tuned laws of physics or design in biology one is not asking as to the source of illusionary laws/design (monkey shakespeare) but real laws and real design (real Shakespeare). The mere amplification of system-level probabilistic resources (infinite typing monkeys, infinite universes, deep time etc.) provides no explanation whatsoever for the existence of higher order laws or design. "Design" is itself a higher order pattern of lawful correspondence to a telic attractor. Monkey shakespeare (being utterly devoid of higher order laws, patterns, or divergences of any kind) is nothing but lawless system-level order (random letters). An infinite amount of random typing monkeys produces nothing but an infinite amount of lawless system-level order (letters). Infinite universe arguments against design are subsequently worthless. While they are indeed multiplying probabilistic resources (producing more monkey shakespeare), they are doing so in the wrong location (no real Shakespeare).

The discipline of science appears to have been developed by people who had some kind of spiritual belief in a "law maker" who subsequently believed in the reality (not illusion) of physical laws (upon which we can depend and build our science). They also believed that we might be sufficiently like the "law maker" (anthropomorphically resonant) in order to understand these laws. It seems to me that without some of the core convictions (anthropomorphic God) of the early believers we would have no science. It also seems to me that many of the modern arguments against design are quite anarchistic in that they consistently undermine the notion of laws that are real, design that is real and science that is real. Scientists who call science into question, do so at their own peril.

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