March 11, 2004 | David F. Coppedge

The Evolution of Omnipotence

With a headline like “New Theory: Universe Created by Intelligent Being,” one might think that National Geographic News has gone creationist and rediscovered Genesis 1.  The opposite would be true.  The article by John Roach explores the radical thinking of a lawyer/scientist named James Gardner, who has just published a book, Biocosm: The New Scientific Theory of Evolution: Intelligent Life Is the Architect of the Universe.  It is the ultimate statement, not of creation, but of evolution.
    Basically, Gardner believes that intelligent life inevitably evolves to the point of being omnipotent, at which time it will learn how to create a new universe.  He calls intelligent life the “reproductive organ of the cosmos.”  Intelligence gets passed on to the next universe like a DNA code, ensuring the daughter universe is fine-tuned for life.  This explains the Anthropic Principle (see 02/28/04 headline), the observation that our universe is life-friendly.  As to ultimate origins, he “postulates a closed time-like curve wherein the universe serves as its own mother.”
    But the all-powerful, intelligent creator Gardner imagines was no benevolent, self-existent Person, Someone who might love His creatures enough to become incarnate with them and die for their sins.  On the contrary; Gardner’s creator is selfish.  He calls his cosmology the “selfish biocosm” theory, an extension to the nth degree of Dawkins’ “selfish gene” concept – that there are entities that use organisms for their own propagation.  Gardner makes it clear his inspiration was Charles Darwin.
    John Roach doesn’t seem to have any qualms about this radical new theory; in fact, he gives it pretty good press.  He says, “Though Gardner admits the theory is speculative and out-there in the literal and figurative senses, it is grounded enough in serious research to at least tickle the fancy of some of the world’s most respected scientists.”  Despite the title and the subject matter, Roach makes no mention that any reputable scientist (or lawyer) could believe in an omnipotent, eternal, self-existent Creator in the traditional sense, or that such belief might be grounded in enough serious research to be taken seriously by any scientist.  He suggests, instead, that Gardner’s theory might some day be testable, though as yet there is no evidence for it.

Are there Mormons on the board of National Geographic?  They would love this cosmology.  It’s not new; Barrow and Tipler propounded it in their books, such as The Anthropic Cosmological Principle.  Actually, it is as old as the serpent who told Eve, “You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
    Pay no attention to the details of this “selfish biocosm” story, because despite what Roach claims, it is not based on “serious research.”  No human could ever observe or measure prior universes and ultimate realities.  What is notable in this foolish article is the effort unbelievers will expend in running from the obvious.  Does this syllogism make any sense?  Major premise: design implies intelligence.  Minor premise: our universe shows exquisite design.  Conclusion: It must have evolved.
    Also notable is the common practice of marginalizing people of faith by ignoring them.  This article sidesteps centuries of profound intellectual thought about the existence of a transcendent, infinite, eternal God, as if no scientist or philosopher of any merit, from any culture, had anything worthwhile to say about the subject.  Instead, a radical fringe “lawyer who moonlights as a scientist” gets the spotlight in one of the most popular magazines in the world.  This tactic parallels those on network news programs that grant friendly interviews to Gavin Newsom to make him appear mainstream, or American history books that spend pages on Marilyn Monroe but ignore George Washington.  We don’t mind NG mentioning this guy’s beliefs, but it should have been followed up by hard-hitting questions or rebuttals by reputable opponents, or else relegated to the funny pages.
    Ol’ Charlie probably had no premonition of the exaggerations his disciples would commit.  Evolutionist radicals have out-Darwinized the Mosstah (see 02/04/2004 headline), and made his guesswork into a full-fledged religion (see 02/13/2004 commentary).  When the light of evidence shines at them, they run further back into the darkness, bragging about how enlightened they are.

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Categories: Cosmology, Dumb Ideas, SETI

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