Intelligent Design


Atheism, Deism, Naturalism, Panthesim, Theism, or what?………..

Although Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” was published in the century after the Constitution, with its emphasis on John Locke’s Natural Rights, its publication continues to ignite inspired debates on the nature of creation, not to mention the origin of the universe. Although this article differs from my polemics on the current administration and a few historical economists, I believe the Founding Fathers would have had much to say on this issue should they have been magically transported into modern times.

 

Creationism, evolution, or an alternative?

Running a searches on local and national newspapers and other media on captured countless hits for “religion”, “faith”, and “secular”, obviously a continuing theme. The Seattle Discovery issue addresses the Intelligent Design (ID) issue extensively.

Archived letters and articles I dug up in my search ranged from widespread condemnation of religious belief, to advocacy of biblically defined creationism.

Most ply one side of the ideological chasm between creationism and the secular majority view of evolution. Creationists believe in a strict biblical interpretation of Time’s opening act, while secularists insist on strict procedural study of biology and physics.

Pure biblical creationism doesn’t pretend to meet the modern definition of methodical inquiry- it’s deliberately based on faith. However, the secular scientific conventional wisdom on the creation of the universe and biological evolution also can fail to meet a logical test. ID is a third alternative.

Briefly, ID is defined as an intelligence-directed evolution acknowledging the march of life in its ever-increasing complexity and endless variegation. But ID also is a foundation for explaining how our universe came to support life in the first place, which in the final analysis cannot exist without intelligence outside of known space and time.

ID recognizes that the genetic code in our DNA is a repository of information; “information” being key, and the key concept being information always arises from intelligence. Given this understanding, Darwin himself employed the technique of figuring out what happened in the past by analyzing what’s happening now (DNA in its current evolutionary state), like reverse engineering: taking something apart to see how it’s built: similar to linear regression for you math minded types.

Evolution, increasing in complexity and information from the time the first molecule “built itself”, goes against the concept of natural decay, or entropy. The natural order of life is entropic, the opposite of a net gain in complexity, complexity being impossible without the addition of more energy. For example, a leaf on the sidewalk will not spring into ever more complex forms of life; on the contrary, during the process of entropy it gradually and naturally declines and its component chemicals dissipating into entropic energy. The evolution of coded information – the opposite of entropy – implies a beginning, or original source.

ID also advocates for an intelligently guided process prior to the universe’s creation- the big bang, also known as the singularity. (This being a tiny point of infinite density before known space and time, implying that a creative-intelligence existed prior.) There are several reasons why. The structure of our universe described by Einstein and others is infinitely curved and small; intelligent intervention is therefore necessarily required for matter to exist under these conditions. Additionally the anthropic principle, first introduced by physicist Fred Hoyle, means that fine-tuning of physics by an intelligent source is the only explanation for the perfect conditions that exist in our universe allowing life to develop.

These perfect conditions are byproduct of the perfect balance of several forces that govern the universe: gravity, the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism, and gravity. Gravity for example, is balanced exactly strong enough to allow matter to coalesce into stars, and exactly weak enough to keep stars from burning out before planets can coalesce. For the universe to be configured this way, against monumental odds, requires if not a belief in ID, then necessarily a belief in multiple parallel universes (part of what physicists call M-Theory). Only this explanation of multiple/infinite universes; other than our most unlikely fine-tuned cosmos, would allow for such an incredibly friendly habitable environment. Therefore denying both ID and parallel universes invites a difficult contradiction.

One physicist, Dr. Stephen Meyer, (associated with Seattle’s Discovery Institute and interviewed by David Bose), identifies several world/theological views, which address the possibility of an ultimate creator who kick-started the universe and guided evolution.

Materialism/Naturalism. This view states that matter and energy are the substances everything comes from. There is nothing beyond the physical world, the laws of nature are supreme, and there is no purpose for the universe. This worldview does not explain the increasing complexity of coded information like DNA, nor does it answer the question of the perfect balance of forces required for life.

Deism/Agnosticism. There is a God that created the universe and the conditions that allow for intelligent life, however this God is unknowable, and has long since “checked out”, and left us on our own. This worldview also doesn’t answer the above questions.

Theism. This is the religious worldview most in conformity with ID. There is a God- the ultimate intelligence that created our universe and the unique conditions allowing for life. God built in the capacity to pass down genetic information through millennia, and periodically intervenes as an agent of order and creation. Examples of the latter include the Cambrian and Marine Mesozoic explosions of life (information), which occurred in very narrow geological bands, negating the Darwinian view of gradual evolution through the natural trial and error of accidental chromosomal mutation. This worldview does although, fall short of a God that “personally” intervenes in our lives.

Even Dr. Michio Kaku, a world famous Theoretical Physicist, no fan of theological principle, postulates that the reason a subatomic particle exists simultaneously as a wave, and then as a particle when being observed, may be because its very existence depends on this observation, otherwise its component matter might just “blink out”. “You observe me, therefore I am.”

To paraphrase Dr. Meyer: “maybe the subconscious fear of the lay scientific community, is this: As they climb the steep mountain of scientific inquiry, while in search of the ultimate secular scientific answer to the birth of the universe and life, that they’ll finally reach the top and discover sitting and staring at them: a creator. Kind of makes you want to go hmmm.

Welcome to the Liberty thru Knowledge Blog. How would Hayek, Jefferson, Friedman, Washington, Von Misis, Adam Smith and others react to our current political climate?


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Adam Smith, author: “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” and “The Wealth of Nations”

Appointing department heads with rule making power ignoring constitutional law regarding when the Senate is or is not in session. What’s next?

Maybe abrogating the rule of bankruptcy law for Chrysler bondholders?

Maybe taking over the student loan program?

Maybe dictating what kind of cars Detroit has to build?

Maybe hiring a self-described 911 Truther and self-described member of the Communist Party as a rule making czar for “green jobs”?

Maybe forcing a thousand-plus page bill through congress without letting Representatives read the bills, resulting in a board of approximately 15 people in charge of the country’s medical decisions instead of your doctor?

Maybe cutting out huge swaths of the military budget without mention of cutting other discretionary spending? 

Maybe a Dodd/Frank financial bill so ambiguous that another unelected board of self-described policy experts using their self-created scientific methods will control our financial system without a peep of input from the end users? And those end users would be industries like heavy manufacturing that now have to use the same leverage/reserve requirements to buy steel contracts that large brokerages do?

Maybe pressuring the President of S&P to resign because you don’t like the downgrade of your poorly managed fiscal policy?

Maybe creating an unheard of position called regulatory czar manned by one Cass Sunstein, a self-described mastermind who thinks he can coalesce millions of wage and price signals to micromanage every aspect of a multi-trillion dollar economy. (While he’s busy insisting that a horse should have counsel in a court of law.) Mr. Hayek, we’ll need you to join us here via my time machine to quickly help us with this one.

Maybe hiring a czar who identifies as her inspiration two people: Mother Teresa… good so far… and then Mao Tse-Tung: a genocidal maniac responsible for the murder of over 50 million people (at least).

Oh wait! Sorry Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Bastiat, and Mr. Madison, we’ve actually done this!

Please see my previous post below on a workable time machine so you and your compatriots can join us here again in 2012 and give us some sage advice. We’ll have the receiving transporter set up for your arrival through the wormhole at the next Gig Harbor Republican Women meeting. Mead, whiskey, venison, and hasty pudding will be provided.

The protestors outside will want to take your farthings and Golden Eagles to pay for their demonstration complaining about the need for more spotted owls. WA state 26th LD Representative Larry Seaquist, as per his comment at the recent Chamber of Commerce meeting at Tacoma Community College about proposing start up of a new CCC and WPA, will lobby to have the entire town of Forks, WA march out and light up the Olympics with sustainable fluorescent lights. (Including, for the poisonous mercury, a chemical capture facility installed in the Hoh Rain Forest Visitors’ Center.) This new government WPA should more than make up for all the lost logging jobs. 

Don’t worry, after your concern precipitated by viewing our master planned futuristic society, I’ll take you out to the Tide’s Tavern for a sarsaparilla or Scottish whiskey.

Published in: on January 23, 2012 at 00:29  Leave a Comment  

Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, and Friedrich Hayek Join Us Through a Time Machine


A Machine called

Our Last Chance


Major scientific break though just announced. Advances in quantum physics have allowed visitors from the past. The first three, after exiting a time machine, spent a few weeks touring the U.S.  All, after revealing much disappointment, unanimously decided to run for Tacoma area political offices.

Friedrich Hayek – economist and social theorist, 1899-1992 – first out of the time machine (nicknamed by prankster inventor Our Last Chance) has announced a run for a 26th District Legislative seat, under his newly formed party, the Decentralists. He will be debating his opponent – allied with the new CentralPlannerist party – at Artondale Elementary School Saturday night.

A flyer Hayek’s volunteers are passing out at Ace Hardware, quotes Friedrich: “The problem of economic order is determined by the fact that the knowledge of what we must make use of exists as dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory information.”

Hayek told the Tacoma News Tribune science reporter, he implores us to learn from the past.  We should understand from his quote, that it is impossible for government legume quantifiers to efficiently glean vast amounts of conflicting economic data, in order to make rational decisions regarding picking winners and losers in the market place. He indicated shock, when he heard about the bail out of GM, vs. the proposed but tabled “cash for cluckers” chicken farm bailout. Mr. Hayek insisted to the reporter , that money injected into the economy through tax cuts is better directed by individuals reacting to natural market forces, than by the CentralPlannerist Party’s stimulus. His campaign sign maker, Milton F., also pointed out that unbridled entrepreneurship (until 2009) allowed inventions like the transistor, major medical breakthroughs, and the Internet.

Emerging from Our Last Chance behind Hayek, Frederic Bastiat – hailing from the French Liberal School of Economics, 1801-1850 – additionally expressing disappointment after his tour, has decided to run for the Tacoma City Council. Joining the Decentralist Party also, Frederic’s campaign is titled “Hands Off My Business”, reminding us of the futility of government attempts to kindle growth by selective stimulus in 19th century France.

Bastiat’s campaign literature paraphrases a whimsical story he wrote about a fictitious petition to the French government in 1845: “To the Honourable Members of the Chamber of Deputies.  I present a petition from the Manufacturers of Candles. What they pray for is that it may please you to pass a law ordering the shutting up of all windows and skylights, by or through which the light of the sun has been in use to enter houses.”

This tongue-in-cheek parable suggests that if the government bans windows, then British candle makers (very overcast there) wouldn’t have an unfair advantage due to the fact sunlight enters through the candle maker’s windows in sunny France and melts their wax!  Frederick will explain at the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce, that the moral of the story is that the unintended dire consequences of protectionism to Tacoma window makers and their suppliers, will outweigh any advantage to the economy by a betterment of local area candle makers’ circumstances.

The flyer also illustrates CentralPlannerist Party efforts to ban the entry of 95 trucks into the U.S. from Mexico, to save a few union-trucking jobs. This to the possible detriment of countless jobs in the U.S. to include local Washington State wine and apple exports due to retaliatory tariffs.

The last candidate to join us via the space-time continuum through Our Last Chance is Adam Smith – one of the fathers of modern economics, 1723-1790. Taking a two year leave of 18th Century Scotland, Dr. Smith will run for Tacoma’s 6th Congressional District seat. His guineas being refused by all the local banks, in the neighboring city of Gig Harbor, the Gig Harbor Decentralist Women’s Club will be throwing a fundraiser and auction for him at Jerisch Park on Monday.

The fundraiser’s theme will be one of Adam’s 18th century quotes: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard [for their] their own interest”. A local caterer serving venison, sarsaparilla, and loaves, will provide lunch at competitive cost. An insider in Tacoma area food services, leaked the rumor that the caterer is not benevolent, but only concerned about maximizing her profit by insuring quality. (Also whispered is that picketing CentralPlannerists will be objecting to their lack of entitlement to great catering at their desired cost, and will be petitioning the Tacoma City Council to set maximum catering prices.)

The MC, George Washington, also with us (inadvertently sucked into the wormhole), unfortunately can’t stay long as he has an urgent meeting in Yorktown.  George will open the event with one of his quotes: “A people… who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything.”  Miles Standish, sucked into the wormhole along with George thanks to the properties of String Theories 11th dimension, will present a PowerPoint lecture (weather permitting) on how Plymouth Colony was saved from starvation by eliminating collective farms, instead allowing the pilgrims to work their own fields.

Fundraiser open to the public. The Gig Harbor Decentralist Women’s Club requests volunteers bring a hasty pudding for desert.

Your most humble and obedient servant, etc, etc

Chief Time Travel Correspondent, Poor Richards Almanac

Published in: on October 9, 2010 at 09:46  Comments (6)  

Constitution of Liberty Part II… Please Click Here and scroll to the bottom of the page to add a comment.


This is the 2nd part of my discussion of Frederick Hayek’s  The Constitution of Liberty Chapter 5, and the book’s remarkable foresight concerning the current assault on free markets and liberty.

 

The Great Man himself

The Great Man himself

 

So continuing on from my previous post, how else does this dissertation on individual responsibility tie in with current events?  In one word-entrepreneurialism.  How about the current legislation on “tax cuts” for those not paying taxes, and the inverse relationship taxes have on motivation and risk assumption?

Regarding motivation, Hayek says:  “Yet there can be no doubt that the discovery of a better use of things or of one’s own capacities is one of the greatest contributions that an individual can make in our society…  Whoever leaves to others the task of finding some useful means of employing his [own] capacities must be content with a smaller reward.”

Besides this wonderful argument for entrepreneurialism, there are additional parallels.   How about the continual debate between conservatives and liberals on risk assumption and its relationship to success?  (Or failure!)  And how about those who believe the successful should be punished by making them responsible for those unwilling to risk the consequences of their own decisions?  (Class warfare and income redistribution.)  This is another great tie between Hayek’s ideas in The Constitution of Liberty and our current dilemma.  In other words, he says there are no guarantees in life, and government picking winners and losers in the marketplace is highly destructive.

This is a can of worms that has been opened in our recent political climate with regards to the debacle of GSEs (govt. sponsored enterprises: Fannie Mae etc.) and their unintended consequences of an unsustainable real estate bubble based on a home ownership entitlement for all regardless of credit.  This trend towards the government “insertion” of  individuals into a higher demographic without their earning it cancels out the oftentimes unpleasant but necessary results of risk assumption.  These consequences are what’s called “moral hazard”:  meaning the government mandated reduction of risk caused by bailing out losers in the marketplace. Whether it be the Treasury bailing out defaulting homeowners, or the Treasury bailing out corporate  holders of Mortgage Backed Securites (MBS) at above market prices:  it’s all the same.   The result of market manipulation by the government never changes when people are not allowed to reap the rewards, or suffer the consequences of their decisions and assumption of risk.

The new president and congress is taking us down disappointing and uncharted territory.   Free market conservatives must impress upon their entitlement-centered liberal friends the wisdom of Frederick Hayek’s not only historic but continuously relevant ideas.

For those interested in further review of Frederick Hayek’s works, I recommend these sites.

http://homepage.newschool.edu/het//home.htm

http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Fperson=52&Itemid=28

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2247048/posts

Comments con and pro from readers most welcome!

Welcome to the grand opening of the Liberty Through Knowledge blog. The Constitution of Liberty Part I


“The greatest tyranny has the smallest beginnings.  From precedents overlooked, from [remonstrances] despised, from grievances treated with ridicule, from powerless men oppressed with impunity, and overbearing men tolerated with complaisance, springs the tyrannical usage which generations of wise and good men may hereafter perceive and lament and resist in vain.”

The Times of London, Aug. 11, 1846.

Welcome the grand opening of the blog Liberty Though Knowledge

 

In this blog I will be discussing some of the great free market thinkers throughout history:  From Adam Smith through Milton Friedman.  Specifically this blog will be addressing the remarkable prescience these individuals had on not only the conundrums of their own time, but on the current political assault on liberty and the free marketplace.

My first entry on the Liberty Through Knowledge blog is a discussion of Frederick Hayek’s book The Constitution of Liberty.   Specifically Chapter 5- Responsibility and Freedom

This chapter is a great reflection of our current state of affairs!  In Hayek’s description of the slide of 1950s society towards socialism, his discussion centers on the need for personal responsibility and its relationship to a free society.   Although written in the 1950s, it specifically addresses our current mortgage crisis, spawned by the recievers of Fannie Mae campaign contributions: Barney Frank, and Chris Dodd (The President was one of the top three receivers when he was a U.S. Senator), The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), The Assoc. for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), and generally coercive actions and regulations by Congressional Committees towards home lending institutions to grant mortgages to those without the wherewithal to keep up payments.  An altruistic intent to a large extent, but as usual the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

In this chapter, Hayek emphatically states that a free society can’t function unless individuals accept that their position and success is directly attributable to their personal choices, regardless of luck or the lack of it.  Everything from an individual dishonestly signing a mortgage agreement to the above politicians and their proxies such as ACORN coercing banks to lend to un-creditworthy customers through the CRA, are harbingers of this country’s slide away from personal responsibility and its inseparable relationship to liberty.

Frighteningly today, many American’s desire for liberty is coming into question; just as it apparently did during the writing of this book, as liberty does not guarantee happiness or success. Hayek goes on to explain that those who insist their lives are dependent on circumstances outside of their control are those who tend to be afraid of (or even hostile to!) liberty itself.  He continues by explaining that this fear of liberty therefore leads to a predisposition towards governmental largess in areas from income redistribution to outright legalized moralizing.  A great current example is House Democrats’ motif that everyone be given the “right” to own a home.  Or how about the President’s government guarantee of General Motor’s warrantees?  (Now the govt. is going to fix your muffler for you.)  These current examples illustrate that:  We as conservatives believe that liberty means freedom from governmental coercion.  Liberals believe that liberty means freedom from all want or need.

This avoidance of individual responsibility also stems, according to Hayek, from something deeper than a fear of freedom (e.g. failure to succeed).  Hayek describes this avoidance of personal decision making as universal determinism, a concept originating in the 1800s.    All this term represents is the false belief that the general state of affairs in one’s life is determined by external events, or fate if you will.  (“Oh well, everything’s out of my control, why should I bother to try to improve my standard of living.”)  Basically, what this boils down to is: do we have free will and do our decisions have concrete consequences on our personal circumstances? (By the way, Judeo/Christian theology says we do.)

My next entry will finish the discussion of the Constitution of Liberty, Chapter 5, and it’s relevance to our modern times.

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