In the previous post, I posited the existence of a hostile social background against the idea of theism, both in the usefulness of atheism to the regime and the eagerness of regime members to virtue signal their ideological distance from heartland whites. I also shared my own best idea as to origins, and in this post I will share several heuristic examples that might be useful in thinking about theism.
In the practice of law, a key concept is something called an “admission against interest.” The courts know that humans tend to shade the truth, particularly when they have an interest in doing so. As such, a certain degree of skepticism is smart when any witness claims something to his benefit. However, there are times when a witness, perhaps in an unguarded moment in response to an unanticipated line of questioning, admits or discloses something against his interest. Such an admission, if not simply due mispeaking due to confusion, is regarded with a high degree of reliability, as humans are most truthful when they are most disinterested, and only in moments where the natural tendency to obfuscate is interrupted does someone admit to something against his interest.
The scientific consensus is formed by individual scientists, and each has a huge interest in distancing themselves from enemies of the regime, notably white, Christian Americans. Their stated position is that science is the realm of testable, falsifiable hypotheses, and that considerations of the supernatural are by definition outside the allowable scope of science. However, on the question of origins, there are many respectable hypotheses promoted by eminent scientists that are as equally untestable and unscientific as the most simplistic appeal to authority by a Bible-thumping preacher at a sweltering mid-summer Missisippi tent revival.
In the field of cosmology, there is a almost universally acknowledged concept called the anthropic principle. Physicists now know of hundreds of precisely-tuned, arbitrary constants (such as the weak nuclear force) that if slightly altered would make the existence of life, and particularly intelligent life, impossible. Some of these constants are tuned to an unbelievable precision, on the order of 10^-100 or greater. It appears that the universe is deliberately designed to support life, and the degree of fine-tuning would require a superhuman level of intelligence to pull off. The simplistic counter-argument to such a theistic conclusion is that of course we notice this fine tuning because we exist – if the universe were not fine-tuned for intelligent life, we would not be here to observe it. This argument begs the question, of course, of why the universe appears fine-tuned. 200 years ago, it was a plausible hypothesis, and common among atheists of the time, to believe that life was fairly simple, the universe had always existed, and the emergence of life would be inevitable, like gravity or any other physical law, in any given eternal universe. That we have discovered that none of those assumptions are true should make us question the atheistic hypothesis, or at least give the theistic hypothesis some credence.
More thoughtful scientists, those who recognize the significance of the fine tuning, have either become theists themselves or else embraced the theory of the multiverse. In this view, our universe, and all that we observe, is but one in an infinite number of possible universes that exist outside of ours, with the physical constants varying randomly among them. Thus, since the probability of something, no matter how small its positive probability, if repeated infinite times becomes certain, the existence of the fine tuning of our universe is not a surprise. After all, we live here, and we would only exist in a universe that happened to be randomly fine tuned to our needs. A signicant fraction of cosmologists hold to the idea of the multiverse.
The multiverse hypothesis is plausible and well-respected in the scientific community. However, it also happens to be non-falsifiable, since by definition we cannot observe and further by definition we cannot apply the scientific method to something outside our universe. The multiverse, then, is a supernatural belief, in that it posits the existence of something beyond our natural, material world.
The other major area of faith among secular scientists concerns the origin of life. The further we get from Darwin, the more we learn about the complexity of even a single-celled organism. The details are beyond the scope of this post, but among some scientists who study the issue there is a belief in panspermia, the idea that, as far as we can tell, the early Earth was hostile to life, so it must have been seeded by alien life, either by a meteor containing simple life, by accident, or perhaps, by intelligent life. This too, is unfalsifiable. If we cannot observe the creation of life, or even use historical states of the Earth to build hypotheses about the origin of life, then we again have an article of faith, a belief in the pseudo-supernatural, to explain what we cannot prove happened naturally. Panspermia, in my view, is simply a superset of possible explanations of the origin of life that includes God. For what is God, broadly defined, but an alien, an intelligent, non-human form of life? Star Trek imagines this possibility, albeit along the model of the human-like pagan gods, in the character Q.
Hopefully now the reader is picking up on the gist of my reasoning. As a non-scientist, I am hopeless to pick apart the evidence in a credible way. I also understand that there is incredible political pressure on scientists, in service to the regime, to deny the possibility of the existence of God, and thus moral absolutes (especially the non-pozzed sort of moral absolutes in historic Christianity). What I can do is observe which non-scientific theories are otherwise tolerated in the scientific community. Intelligent Design, which explicitly posits an intelligent creator, is largely (but not completely) anathema. Because ID proponents refuse to adhere to methodological naturalism in their hypothesizing, they are considered by many to be non-scientists. Yet, we also can observe respected hypotheses that also eschew methodological naturalism, that involve non-falsifiable and non-observable explanations, such as the multiverse and panspermia. Thus, methodological naturalism is not a common denominator but rather what appears to me an arbitrary exclusion of the possibility of a very specific sort of panspermia, an alien humans have historically referred to as God. When we see evidence or ideas excluded based on arbitrary criteria, we can infer a political motivation having primacy over truth, something every Alt Righter agrees is happening today in many areas of our society. The global warming hoax is another example of a scientific consensus with no basis in reality, borne out by its failed predictions (such as complete disappearance of arctic ice by 2016).
Intelligent design does fit the traditional notion of science in that it can be used to make predictions. ID proponents had, for twenty years, said that so-called “junk DNA” would be found to be functional, because ID assumes that features of life are designed. Evolutionists had hailed non-coding DNA as evidence of a blind process, of outdated instructions accumulating over eons for no good reason other than the lack of an intelligent force that would have trimmed unnecessary information. It turns out that instead of only 1% of DNA being functional, and the remainder junk, at least 81% of DNA now has known biological function, specifically in gene expression. If the coding DNA is the piano and its notes, the non-coding DNA is the music (and, in life, the blueprints for the piano), arranging the notes, building the piano and by its nature necessarily more complex than the piano itself. Many scientists assume that further experiments will show nearly all of the genome having functionality of some sort, and the percentage of true junk being very low.
All of this is to say is that I believe theism is a plausible position not incompatible with reason – but elements of faith will always remain. The current state of science, and perhaps all future states, make it impossible to prove theism.
In my next post we will begin moving towards an integration of the plausibility of theism with faith and practice.
Coda: one obvious specific objection I will address is the argument that speciating evolution appears to be true because humans share so much of their DNA with lower life-forms. This could be evidence of evolution, but it might also be evidence for design. We would not be surprised to see Apple, for example, re-use components and code across multiple products and even platforms. No rational designer would re-invent where unnecessary, especially since many problems have one best solution. The existence in the fossil record of convergent evolution, where two animals independently evolve the same exact feature present in no common ancestor, would tend to bolster the design hypothesis. It is unlikely a non-teleogical process would provide the same solution across indepedent lines of development.