The View From 1776

§ American Traditions

§ People and Ideas

§ Decline of Western Civilization: a Snapshot

§ Books to Read


Liberal_Jihad_Cover.jpg Forward USA

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Paul Johnson on Darwin

An opinion echoing views recently voiced herein.

Historian Paul Johnson has written about the sorts of issues covered in several recent postings on this weblog, in a piece titled “Thoughts on the Existence of God.”  His column in the June 20 issue of Forbes Magazine can be accessed here, though you will have to register in order to use the website.

Some samples from the column:

Darwinians and their allies dominate the scientific establishments of the West. They rule the campus. Their militant brand of atheism makes them natural allies of the philosophical atheists who control most college philosophy faculties. They dominate the leading scientific magazines and prevent their critics and opponents from getting a hearing, and they secure the best slots on TV. Yet the Darwinian brand of evolution is becoming increasingly vulnerable as the progress of science reveals its weaknesses. One day, perhaps soon, it will collapse in ruins….

If the theory of natural selection is incorrect, then the Darwinians’ view that there is no need or place for God in the universe is itself weakened, though not necessarily overthrown. Physics, however, increasingly tends to suggest that there is a God role, particularly with regard to the origin of the universe. We now know this occurred about 13.7 billion years ago, and our knowledge of what happened immediately afterward is becoming increasingly detailed, down to the last microsecond.

Few now doubt there was a Big Bang. We know when it occurred and what followed. But we are just as far as ever from understanding why it happened or what—or who—caused it. Indeed, all calculations about the Big Bang are based on the assumption that nothing preceded it. It took place in an infinite vacuum. There was no process of ignition, or traces of it would have been left. Hence, this fundamental happening in history seems to conflict with all the laws of physics and our notions of how the universe operates. It was an event without a cause.

It also produced something out of nothing. More: It produced everything out of nothing. The expansion of the universe has proceeded ever since, and all the creative processes involved in it—including Earth and homo sapiens—were written into the laws laid down in that first tremendous explosion. We do not have to believe in an entirely deterministic universe to see that the first microsecond of history foreshadowed everything that has followed over the last 13-plus billion years.

If the laws of physics cannot explain how and why this event occurred, we must invoke metaphysics. And that means some kind of divine force. I’ve been rereading what Sir Isaac Newton wrote about God in the second edition of his Principia (1713). Newton saw God not as a perfect being—or any kind of being at all—but as a power, what he termed a “dominion.” “We reverence and adore Him on account of His dominion,” he wrote. This power was exercised “in a manner not at all human ? in a manner utterly unknown to us.” Newton knew God only through His works. “He is utterly void of all body and bodily figure, and can therefore neither be seen, nor heard, nor touched.” Our knowledge of Him is limited “by His most wise and excellent contrivances of things.”

Visit MoveOff Network Members


Posted by Thomas E. Brewton on 06/16 at 12:48 AM
Junk Science • (0) Comments
Print this ArticleEmail A FriendPermalink