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Author: AdvocatusDiaboli Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 195901  
Subject: God of the Gaps? Date: 8/19/2003 5:08 PM
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Very interesting transcript of a speech, I recommend reading the (long) whole:


You might be tempted to suppose that any old rag-bag of laws would produce a complex universe of some sort, with attendant inhabitants convinced of their own specialness. Not so. It turns out that randomly selected laws lead almost inevitably either to unrelieved chaos or boring and uneventful simplicity. Our own universe is poised exquisitely between these unpalatable alternatives, offering a potent mix of freedom and discipline, a sort of restrained creativity. The laws do not tie down physical systems so rigidly that they can accomplish little, but neither are they a recipe for cosmic anarchy. Instead, they encourage matter and energy to develop along pathways of evolution that lead to novel variety-what Freeman Dyson has called the principle of maximum diversity: that in some sense we live in the most interesting possible universe.
....
Where do we human beings fit into this great cosmic scheme? Can we gaze out into the cosmos, as did our remote ancestors, and declare: "God made all this for us"? I think not. Are we then but an accident of nature...?
The emergence of life and consciousness, I maintain, are written into the laws of the universe in a very basic way. True, the actual physical form and general mental make-up of Homo sapiens contain many accidental features of no particular significance. If the universe were rerun a second time, there would be no solar system, no Earth, and no people. But the emergence of life and consciousness somewhere and somewhen in the cosmos is, I believe, assured by the underlying laws of nature. The origin of life and consciousness were not interventionist miracles, but nor were they stupendously improbable accidents.
....
Yet among the general population there is a widespread belief that science and theology are forever at loggerheads, that every scientific discovery pushes God further and further out of the picture. It is clear that many religious people still cling to an image of a God-of-the-gaps, a cosmic magician invoked to explain all those mysteries about nature that currently have the scientists stumped. It is a dangerous position, for as science advances, so the God-of-the-gaps retreats, perhaps to be pushed off the edge of space and time altogether, and into redundancy.

The position I have presented to you today is radically different. It is one that regards the universe, not as the plaything of a capricious Deity, but as a coherent, rational, elegant, and harmonious expression of a deep and purposeful meaning. I believe the time has now come for those theologians who share this vision to join me and my scientific colleagues to take the message to the people.


http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9508/articles/davies.html

I (being a christian first, then, an agnostic) have always considered the belief in the literal truth of the Bible and the story of the Genesis to be, well, typically human. A typical result of the human brain, the way the limited mind looks in fear for simple and clear truths to cling to.
I've always felt that going about creation in the way it is described in the Genesis would be beneath God. It just completely lacks the grandness of design and execution I would expect, it is how a child or an adult of no scientific education (the authors of the Bible) would imagine the beginning of the world to happen.
I find the ideas put forth by people like Paul Davies not only to be far more plausible scientifically, but also far more spectacular and way more in tune with a deity that is supposedly so far beyond our scope and comprehension. How can people believe that such a being would create the world in the way a child creates animals and people from clay?
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