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Intelligent Design and the Multiverse (part one of two)

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The concept of Intelligent Design has been scorned and belittled by mainstream scientists and the intelligentsia since its introduction to public discussion, and with ample justification. It was created by the segment of society that is horrified by the idea that a supreme, transcendent intelligence, which most of us would call God, was not required for the proliferation of species and perhaps even the origin of life itself. As such it is a transparent attempt to undermine over 150 years of empirically gained knowledge in biology. ID supporters propose the existence of irreducible complexity, which suggests that some biological systems are so complex that they could not have resulted from the usual building blocks of natural selection. In essence they claim that this supposed complexity is such that science cannot possibly explain it, implying that God must be responsible. Even more objectionable is how this claim of science's inadequacy is presented with scientific language, giving it an illusory appearance of legitimacy. They are placing a scientific gown on a faith-based sow, all to promote an agenda that is the antithesis of science itself.

Irreducible complexity is much more a "theory" today than evolution has been since the 19th century, and there is no reason to believe that science will not eventually be able to explain even the minutest, most intricate changes in species development using natural selection and evolution as a basis for research and understanding. But where ID fails most profoundly as a science is in its biases and subjectivity. It is an agenda-based proposal; motivated solely by a need to have what some people feel is a vital function of divinity restored to God in the minds of the general public. After all if we don't need God for the proliferation of life then one of the most significant reasons we need God at all is lost forever. And if there is one thing we have come to understand about science as we have witnessed its tremendous achievements over the past few centuries is that it cannot be agenda-based if it is to be successful. A scientific pursuit motivated by anything other than the ascertainment of knowledge loses its objectivity and at that point ceases to be science.

Which brings us to the Multiverse.

The Multiverse has not attracted nearly the same amount of media attention and interest among the general public as Intelligent Design has, probably because it doesn't sit quite as squarely on the edge between those ancient antagonists, science and religion. But that doesn't mean there are not some interesting parallels that should bear closer scrutiny and perhaps show that the Multiverse may reside on a heretofore-ignored area between science and spirituality.

First for the uninitiated, the Multiverse is a theory posed by some cosmologists that suggests the universe in which we reside may be just one of an unknown number of universes that exist beyond three-dimensional space. Somehow at the moment of the Big Bang or some other spectacular cosmic event, through some quirky aberration of physics, these universes have come into being. They're very strange places too these alternate universes. Speculation is that they wouldn't be bound to the same laws of physics as our universe is. Perhaps they would have no gravity or different elements. They may be places where galactic or star formation is not possible, and thus would have no planetary systems. The potential weirdness of such places is limited only by the imagination, with "imagination" being the operative word here. The most powerful telescopes humanity could ever invent could never gaze upon these universes, and spaceships traveling at the speed of light with infinite power sources could never travel to them. That's because they are thought to exist beyond our universe, the space-time continuum we call home.

Well, one theory states that perhaps the matter which is sucked into black holes may actually emerge back out into these alternate universes, so if we could invent a ship that would allow us to travel through black holes we could actually go to them. But we wouldn't be able to stay for long if at all, because if there is one thing it seems all these other universes have in common is that they are completely inhospitable to the formation or experience of life. The implication is that there may be thousands or millions of these other universes, so it is to be expected that by pure chance one universe came into existence that did allow for the formation of life, which of course is the one we reside in.

And here my friends, is where you can be forgiven if your suspicion instincts are aroused.

(watch for part two in this space soon)