Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Creator Myth

Humans are evolved to lead a social life in which hierarchies are established which help out to minimize frequent quarrels & waste of energy. We respect and revere our elders and those above us. These behavioral patterns gave been deciphered by observing closely related species. We often extrapolate these instincts when we conceptualize the head of to universe, the creator. People have been confounded by the extreme complexity & orderliness of our universe and ascribe it to the work of an intelligent mind. But the mind that contemplated these should be even more intricate. The original problem is intact simply transferred to higher order. If you say the creator was eternally present why can't the universe have been so? The replies are that you can't ponder about the creator's mind or his origin. The instinct to answer this mystical way is there for some reason. Those too adventurous, who ventured out too far out alone, & in the night didn't survive and we inherited the genes of those who told their kids the stories of the monster out there in the dark- origin of mysticism.

Universe is not that smooth and orderly as we think. In medieval times planets were thought of as made of gold and diamonds, and that they were perfectly smooth heavenly bodies and even that they produced music as they moved. It turned out that they are all over dented by asteroids. The only smooth streamlined objects you see are the works of natural evolution. (including the ones produced by man). All the magnificent beauties of living world are evolved from humble self-replicating molecules. The universe at large is governed by few simple rules and made up of a few fundamental particles.
The question about relation creator to universe is interesting. Suppose he is within our universe, and a part of it. Then so are we. He is only more powerful and bigger, not the greatest- universe itself is bigger than he is and he couldn't have created it. May be he is out side our universe and controls everything inside. (there is a logical snag- anything that influence the objects within our universe is within it, but let us think otherwise for argument's sake). He produces order, the simple laws, fundamental particles, the sins, the virtues etc. Then he could well be a kid in another universe of an highly advanced civilization who is playing a complicated video game with us- not that respectable. Or he may be within the universe, all pervading, every matter emanating from him. So are superstrings, which make up all of the universe. Then they are synonymous with god. Then it's a matter of terminology.

We often ascribe the universe the qualities of our own creation (man made objects)- the purpose. We hope it was created for us- the sun is there to provide us warmth, the flowers- to make the world pretty & to help bees make honey for us, Savage beast to provide training for war (bishop James Pilkington), the sheep- to keep the meat fresh till we eat it (Henry More) and HIV Virus to punish the sinners. Infact the world is unconcerned to our existence. Calamities occur, innocents die, grief and sorrow never depart us. We derive pleasure from what ever is there around us. A purposeful creator would never allow natural evolution where animals compete, few succeed, and the rest perish. Living things are designoid objects, which simulate the ones designed for a purpose. Evolution works it out- those less suited for the purpose die & leave fewer descendants. Our ancestors two hundred thousand years ago never had purpose of producing Homo Sapiens. There is no end in mind, and no mind to keep an end in mind. (Richard Dawkins). Orderliness is produced which is negative entropy (the measure of disorder) using the energy from sun, thus total entropy always increases. Universe proceeds from order disorder, which a well-meaning god would not allow.

The very idea of virtue, sin, good, evils are relative. Polygamy is considered sin because a long lasting monogamous relationship helps to build up a family environment needed for the development of the young of our species especially their highly developed neocortex. Many a living being mate temporarily and then separate. The mark of our species is neocortex- giving us ability to think logically. We should refrain from reaching any conclusion using only our instincts- working in the oldest part of our brain. Some turn skeptics without understanding the logical concepts and later say- when I was young I also used to say so, now I have become wiser. The cause of the phenomenon lies in our evolution. Evolution works faster when a population is split into different groups & evolves independently with occasional mixing of genes. Within us there is an impulse to defy the elders, the social hierarchy, to run away from existing group, to join another one- which gets activated in the mating age. This instinct evolved because it helps us to evolve faster- a metaevolution. Later people fall back on older lines- hierarchy, beliefs, rules etc.

People get horrified at thought of the universe without a protector. It is the new knowledge about a little of the universe that makes man arrogant enough to defy the god- they think. Infact the alternate worldview is much more beautiful. To know the true extent of universe- consisting of billions of galaxies, containing billions of stars, whose age is 200 million times a human life span, which is made of billions of particles which are one in 10^25th the size of human body makes us feel humble. It makes living in the universe more wonderful and more adventurous. "We are fleeting transitional creatures, snowflakes fallen on hearth fire. That we understand even a little of our origin is one of the greatest triumph of human insight and courage" (Carl Sagan). Let's not be falsely reassured and feel protected and take all precautions and necessary measures for the survival of our species. When we know the cause of our instincts, hopes and fear it makes our experiences more wonderful. In the spirit of Richard Feynman who used to sleep as well as observe his own process of sleep, we can live and watch ourselves live. Our newly acquired knowledge makes our life worth living and provides us with more than anything gained by fear, hope and prayer.

1 comment: