The Peculiar Peter-Pantheism of All Those Biomechanical Algorithms…

X6kTu Yesterday I was asked by someone to “extrapolate” on some things I said about how Evolution is itself a religious belief system, and beyond this that all such complaints made by atheists about how the existence “religion” infringes upon their ability to live short, happy lives without being laden with things like fictional religious guilt are ultimately nonsensical, because from the perspective of scientific naturalism inherent to traditional Evolution, there really is no such things as “pain”, or “happiness”, or even true free will.

One of the things that is so confounding about these kinds of dialogues, is that time and again, the Evolutionist will demand that the person believing in the Bible (or any other religion, but for the most part it’s usually about challenging the Bible…) “prove” to them the truthfulness of the Bible, from within the constraints of their own pre-supposed naturalistic worldview. Scientific naturalism is always inserted at the beginning of the entire matter, and assumed to be fact a priori, completely ignoring the obvious fact that to do this is to just assume the conclusion of the matter before the questions are even asked. It basically goes, “Science tells us that there is nothing but the physical world, so HA, there is no such thing as imaginary fairy-tail nonsense such as that which is in your absurd Bible!”

Of course, by definition, that which is supernatural does not fit into the category of that which is “natural”, and so really this is just a tired application of circular reasoning, a merry-go-round that seemingly some people almost don’t know how, or just don’t want to, get off. But what I find even MORE fascinating, is how this very same pre-determined, purely naturalistic cosmology, while being vigorously applied as the big stick with which to whack away at God like some piñata, in fact isn’t something that I have found too many proponents of Evolution wanting to delve too deeply into when it comes to fully contemplating what the ramifications would then truly be for, well, everything, starting with themselves…

Because what does Evolution essentially declare? It asserts many things, the first of which is that many, many, billions of years ago, everything was compacted into an infinitesimally small point (but we don’t know how that came to be there), and then the point suddenly blew up, flinging all of it’s compacted “stuff” outward in every direction. Then, the flying, spiraling “stuff”, began to mysteriously organize itself. Somehow, the “stuff”, allegedly first in the form of hydrogen atoms, unconsciously decided upon a fairly complex set of physical laws that it would obey, as it went about the task of rearranging itself on the atomic and subatomic levels, eventually giving birth to the rest of the elements in our periodic table. The newly-formed spectrum of periodic elements then eventually started combining in a variety of ways to create molecules and gas clouds and massive spinning boulders comprised of different minerals and such. Some of the swirling gases then started clumping together into monstrous pockets, which then lit themselves on fire, and the stars began to light the universe.

If you have been blessed with a solid public school education, then you probably already know how the rest goes. The hurling, whirling boulders (self-sculpting into spheroids) started hitching rides on the gravitational pulls of some of these gas-torches. Some of them even figured out a way to start spinning in the completely opposite direction.(!?) One particular spheroid landed in a most fortuitous track around what we now call our “sun”, where it never got too close to get cooked, and never got too far away to be frozen solid. This cozy little spot made for a very ideal oven-of-life indeed. Throw in a few more billion years, add a sprinkling of some more minerals and elements floating in from space, then let it bake. (The recipe allows for adding/subtracting a few billion years of course, to get it just right) And then, eventually, inevitably, miraculously, mysteriously, mystically, the first cell was born. Complete with a genetic code enabling it to replicate itself, feed itself, and grow into some kind of pan-primordial-ocean algae. Being algae is boring of course, so (add another several million more times around the sun) and the algae is now swimming around with flagellum and even little fins. The once “simple” code of that first cell has now managed to piece together billions of new sequences of coded proteins, building all kinds of new cell types, which keep on, again and again, growing within organisms in just the right formations to eventually form things like scales, and gills, and eyeballs, and even cells capable of bioluminescence…

So of course, the more millions of years are added to the equation, the more the codes continually rewrite and upgrade themselves. Fish crawl onto land. The land-fish become reptiles and birds. The “accidental” self-writing code never stops, giving hummingbirds the ability to hover and bats the ability to use echolocation. One branch, called “mammals” get bigger, and fatter, and some of them less hairy over time, until…. VOILA… Here we are! And that, in a nutshell, is the mythology “science” of Evolution. It’s so simple! DIRT (all the “stuff”…) + TIME (remember, lots of time…) + MATH (and don’t ask us where the math comes from…) Dirt + Time + Math = Everything.

gearbrainI realize I’m being a bit facetious here, but seriously, that’s what you’re left with, when all is said and done. Everything, from me to you, from the bacteria swimming in your toilet to the waves of a hurricane, is all just algorithms in the end. Matter which is (for whatever reason) organized into a dizzying array of algorithms interacting with other algorithms, all combining into larger “macro-algorithms”, off into infinity. Some of these algorithms we classify as being “biological”, but from a strictly materialistic point-of-view, the biomechanical algorithms (what we usually call “life”) are just algorithms which happen to have a different kind of internal math than the non-bio ones. When a bio-algorithm “dies”, this is merely just mechanical process of a mathematical function playing itself out. Well, either that or another algorithm of one kind or another disrupts it’s natural process of computation, and the equation becomes too depleted of it’s computational abilities to continue crunching along. That’s the Evolutionary universe. From top to bottom, and everything in between.

So again, you and I, as biomechanical algorithms, while we may perceive ourselves as having things like “memories” or “feelings”, or experience things like “pain” and “pleasure”, these too, of course, and just nothing more than variables being punched through the complicated mechanical/mathematical mish mash that are our brains and bodies. Chemical reactions, and tiny electrical currents, which interact and function as a massive algorithm to sense and interpret things like: temperature, motion, gravity, light, sonic waves. Some of these sonic waves are being produced by other biomechanical algorithms, and form patterns interpreted as “words”. The “words” are eventually interpreted by the individual algorithm, as it “grows up” (i.e. carries out it’s own equation) as having meaning behind them, and astoundingly, what is occurring all around us, all day every day, is just algorithms “talking” to other algorithms. Absorbing data inward, and then spitting data back out. Chat-bots talking to other chat-bots. Googles talking to a google of other Googles.

The assemblage of all these individual humanoid bio-algorithms interacting together, creating one big macro-algorithm, is sometimes referred to as “Society”… 😉

Okay, enough of that. You get the idea. I’ve probably now tortured the metaphor worse than a poor orange-suited soul at Git-mo. But it really was necessary to lay such groundwork, because clearly, obviously, none of us really accept this idea that in the end we are nothing but sophisticated chat bots equipped with biomechanical, bipedal vehicles to walk around in. Not even the staunchest adherents of Evolution. We all cling furiously to there being true meaning to our existence, even if that meaning is nothing more than a flash in the universal pan. And speaking of “pans”, this is the very point at which I believe so many people nowadays encounter the intrinsic theoretical/practical conflict, the cognitive dissonance, and why indeed the younger generations, reared on Darwinian milk, are increasingly now turning towards one type of mysticism, “spirituality”, or another. Mandelbrot-large It’s really not surprising at all, when you only step back and recognize that what Evolution essentially embodies IS pantheism, even if on the surface it adamantly espouses full-on hatred for any form of “theism”. Practically speaking, what is being described is nonetheless a Universe which “creates itself”, a Universe that is impersonal, yet behaves like a conscious entity, a Universe that is meaningless yet somehow gives itself meaning.

So really, the person subscribing to the theory of Evolution has basically choices, either take the basic outline of a self-generating Universe that creates seemingly autonomous beings with a desire for meaning, and combine it with any one of the “mystical traditions” on the philosophical shelf (Buddhism, Hinduism, “New Age”, take your pick…) or, remain in the even more dichotomous realm of “traditional” scientific naturalism, unable to even point to anything at all as to why humans inevitably seek meaning, and that which is “good” vs. that which “bad”, talking in endless circles about the relativity of “ethics” until the philosophical merry-go-round makes you sick. These folks, who on the one hand argue up and down that we are all nothing but biomechanical algorithms bumping into one another, can’t accept the full ramifications of what it would mean to actually just totally accept this explanation and live it out to it’s fullest degree. This is why it makes a lot of sense then, to see the majority of the focus being put on just going after the other alternative explanation, (that of Creation), because if you keep yourself busy lobbing critiques at the idea of a personal, Creator God, then you’re preoccupied enough to ignore the internal contradictions of your own professed cosmology. The best defense is a good offense, after all…

“Peter-pantheism” seems as good (and catchy) a term for it as any, since I very much do see it as being akin to wanting to just stay in Neverland, never “growing up” in the sense of just stopping and admitting that like everyone else, Evolution is “religion”. It is admittedly a strange form of mysticism that is intent on denying it’s own mystical nature. It humors itself to no end, laughing at the “unscientific” beliefs of other religions, yet won’t even recognize the glaringly Unscientific claims it makes in the name of it’s own god, “Science”. It is of course really no different than any other form of pantheism in it’s practical application, because what pantheism does is just make the entire universe into “god”, and since we are all a part of this universe, we are all a part of “god”. We are declared gods unto ourselves, and this, this is what both the tenured professor of biology lecturing in some University somewhere on the evolution of humanity, and the painted swami sitting cross-legged in some ashram somewhere in India, ultimately both have completely in common…

12 thoughts on “The Peculiar Peter-Pantheism of All Those Biomechanical Algorithms…”

  1. LOL! Well done! Peter-patheism, yes, that’s a great term.

    I am always so confused, if I am just a random biomechanical algorithm having a meaningless existence, then why in the world would anyone care what I believe? Should you not just humor me, perhaps walk away quietly and go about your business? Oh no, it is absolutely critical that I drop my faith entirely and fully embrace evolution. Why? Does Evolution demand constant praise and worship? Is it somehow dependent on the collective human consciousness to manifest it into reality? Why does it require the sacrifice of my very soul? Must it be appeased?

    1. Deal! If I write about philosophy, it’s generally just to clarify my own views for myself and whoever else might be interested. When I push, it’s push back, against the kind of motivated misrepresentation and marginalization exemplified above. You really like his argument? It’s 90% argument from incredulity, 10% naïve coherence theory – the mind looking back over its shoulder and saying, “I meant to do that, I mean, I must have because I mean to do everything, that’s what it means to be me (or to be made in the likeness of a God like me)”. It is its own reductio ad absurdum, and not even good theology. Come on.

      1. I thought I was responding to the comment above. Sorry if I was not clear about that.
        I was making an argument in the realm of metaphysics; I think you mean ‘supernatural’.
        I think it’s best for everybody’s well being to just leave it at that.

  2. Hello. If you despise something, you cannot see it properly. Try to appreciate the good in it. That is part of being loving as God is loving.

    No, the elements did not appear before the stars. They were formed as the stars fused nuclei together. The boulders become spheres because of gravity. You drip with contempt as you tell this story, but that is contempt for millions of academics around the world trying to find the truth.

    All that change over a long time is merely silly or religious: well, here is Richard Dawkins on the evolution of the eye.

    “Nothing but sophisticated chat-bots”- well, putting an atheist position with Love, I would say “nothing but” what we perceive: human beings in all our wondrous complexity. You accuse atheists of reductionism, but it is you being reductionist.

    “Scientific naturalism unable to point to anything at all why humans seek meaning”- well, consider the question going back to Plato, what is the Good Life? How do we find lasting pleasure? Do have a look at all that thought, stoic and epicurean, because it has had a great influence on Christianity. It starts with avoiding pain, which fairly simple organisms do, way back in the Evolutionary tree, to avoid being eaten.

    Your contempt blinds you to the beauty of God’s creation in humanity.

    “it makes a lot of sense then, to see the majority of the focus being put on just going after the other alternative explanation,”- well, no. Not in academia, because while a few scientists refute Creationists, most are engaged on finding truth and have left Creationist explanations behind long ago. An 18th century understanding of the geologic table refutes creationism, as does a 19th century understanding of the age of the Earth. It is the same with blogworld: few of the non-Christian posts are actively anti-Creationist. Rather than seeking to refute God, many atheists ignore God, while teasing out the full beauty and complexity of God’s creation.

    You wrote this as extrapolation, but could you try to rewrite it without the contempt, which you call facetiousness? The atheists are not fools. They are made in the image of God.

    1. Thank you. That is helpful. Indeed, we disagree on a great number of things but I feel our agreements are more important. God is Love. Jesus is Lord.

      Anglicans were comfortable with scientific explanations of the age of the Earth in the 19th century. My concrete example is plate tectonics. That theory overturned the previous general scientific understanding, that the Earth formed with the continents much as they are now.

      Fossils of a particular age, believed to be sea creatures from the Tethys ocean, are found high in the mountains of Pakistan. The subcontinent is believed to have moved northwards at a particular time. This fits with the dating of the fossils.

      The theories fit together in great complexity. Each new paper is peer-reviewed, and subject to the scrutiny of hundreds or thousands of experts from universities around the World. There is not just one “Theory of evolution” which claims that the Earth is more than 10,000 years old, but theories about nine different orders of trilobite, theories of the formation of the Earth and the Sun, theories of how past climate change has affected the geologic record, how the Chicxulub impact spread tectites around, lots of things I find fascinating when I read of them.

      They may indeed be fooled by a doctrine of demons, but if so it has captured them in a peculiarly cruel way. They are curious about the world about them. They do their best, devoting their lives to using creative thought and careful observation, beautiful human characteristics made in the image of God, to find the Truth. Whereas their very love of truth, a Godly characteristic, drags them further and further from the church you espouse and its certainty that the world was created <10 000 years ago.

      The alternative is that they grope towards the truth, a truth which makes God's Creation far more complex and beautiful than a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 would allow; and that the literal interpretation, that each word refers literally to a historical fact so described, is not the best way of seeing the Bible. I doubt you believe the world is flat and motionless, but much of the Bible literally interpreted asserts that it is. "All Cretans are liars" is in the Pastoral epistles somewhere- I hope you do not discriminate against Cretans accordingly. I knew a lovely Cretan.

      We know that the Bible includes poetry, such as the Psalms and much prophecy; and stories, such as the Prodigal Son or the Corrupt Steward. It includes metaphor. Why should not Genesis 1 be also story?

    1. I would be extremely interested in reading Snelling’s methodology rather than his dismissal of the claim, especially where it relates to the TTI.
      Oh, and can you provide a short list of the most highly respected YEC geologists who work for major oil companies?

  3. Brilliant piece, man! Seriously, your site is so rich, has got so much of such depth on it that I feel like a rat in a maze! I’m going to have to bookmark a bunch of stuff and come back to it when I’ve got time! Great stuff though.

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