Ming the Mechanic:
The Universe as God

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 The Universe as God2008-05-16 13:34
9 comments
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How wonderful. Stuart Kauffman, theoretical biologist and complexity theory pioneer, talks about reinventing the sacred, getting over reductionism, appreciating the awesome wonder of existence, and redefining God to be essentially the creativity of the universe. You just can't explain the complexity of the universe by reducing it all to physics that all were pre-determined. There's an article in New Scientist: "Why humanity needs a God of creativity", there's his excellent entry at Edge: "Beyond Reductionism", and there's his latest book "Reinventing the Sacred".
[T]he unfolding of the universe - biotic, and perhaps abiotic too - appears to be partially beyond natural law. In its place is a ceaseless creativity, with no supernatural creator. If, as a result of this creativity, we cannot know what will happen, then reason, the Enlightenment's highest human virtue, is an insufficient guide to living our lives. We must use reason, emotion, intuition, all that our evolution has brought us. But that means understanding our full humanity: we need Einstein and Shakespeare in the same room.
“Reason is an insufficient guide to living our lives: put Einstein and Shakespeare in the same room”

Shall we use the "God" word? We do not have to, yet it is still our most powerful invented symbol. Our sense of God has evolved from Yahweh in the desert some 4500 years ago, a jealous, law-giving warrior God, to the God of love that Jesus taught. How many versions have people worshipped in the past 100,000 years?

Yet what is more awesome: to believe that God created everything in six days, or to believe that the biosphere came into being on its own, with no creator, and partially lawlessly? I find the latter proposition so stunning, so worthy of awe and respect, that I am happy to accept this natural creativity in the universe as a reinvention of "God". From it, we can build a sense of the sacred that encompasses all life and the planet itself. From it, we can change our value system across the globe and try, together, to ease the fears of religious fundamentalists with a safe, sacred space we can share. And from it we can, if we are wise, find means to avert wars of civilisations, the ravages of global warming, and the potential disaster of peak oil.
The EDGE article is dense with science, and I understand less than half of it, but very worth reading, even if you don't get it all. So I'm just quoting the easy-to-read conclusions. Remember, this is a hard-core scientist here, not just somebody who writes popular books that involve scientific metaphors.
To ever succeed, this new view needs to be soft spoken. You see, we can say, here is reality, is it not worthy of stunned wonder? What more could we want of a God? Yes, we give up a God who intervenes on our behalf. We give up heaven and hell. But we gain ourselves, responsibility, and maturity of spirit. I know that saying that ethics derives from evolution undercuts the authority of God as its source. But do we need such a God now? I think not. Nor do we need the spiritual wasteland that post-modernism has brought us. Beyond my admired friend Kenneth Arrow, natural parks are valuable because life is valuable on its own, a wonder of emergence, evolution and creativity. Reality is truly stunning. So if you find this useful, let us go forth, as was said long ago, and invite consideration by others of this new vision of reality. With it, let us recreate spiritual community and membership. Let us go forth. Civilization needs to be changed.
Count me in.

(Via BoingBoing)


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9 comments

16 May 2008 @ 22:49 by b : God, creator of the universe.
Count me in too!  


20 May 2008 @ 01:45 by deepwater : Beautiful.
Thank God for those that can see. The imminent unification of Science and Spirituality is underway and we are those so privileged to witness and participate in these extraordinary times. Civilization as we know it is transforming through all who open to the unlimited potential of the creative essence of the universe.  


3 Jun 2008 @ 23:32 by b : We have a good start
as human beings of and on planet Earth. Human beings are a composite of body, mind, spirit. Spiritleaves the body at death. Mind that is part in body, part in spirit.  


8 Jun 2008 @ 02:25 by Roan Carratu @98.202.63.219 : Of course.
It's good that someone in science is talking the 'g' word. It's been a meaningless grunt for way too long, a variable that meant whatever the speaker meant by it. Those who identified the sound as 'creator' of the Universe had a little more meaning in it, but somehow they seem to picture it as Zeus, huge invisible man with a long white beard that shot lightning bolts, had tantrums, and tortured babies to death... etc. The idea that the creator and the creation are One, and that we are 100% part of that One is a relatively new concept, from the meeting of the western and eastern cultures. Although Buddha and Jesus did obviously have that concept, and perhaps the earliest Christians, dunno.

Human beings are a composite of dirt, water, air, sunlight, and Mind. There is no separate spirit, just the one phenomena which in each of our body systems contains the ego, which has as a fundamental part the Illusion of Separation. But science cannot find any separation between one thing and another, one phenomena and another, the same way they cannot find any 'nothingness' anywhere in existence. Everything is energy, everywhere, all the time. And through Synergy, great things are formed, some of which think they are separate, but aren't. When they transcend the concept of 'separate' they then perceive God.  



11 Jul 2008 @ 03:24 by jason thornburg @75.172.58.231 : rather i support or not
not sure at this point, i have read on this amtter and im not surewhat i believe in as far as this subject goes, i cant form an opinion one way or another at this time, if there really even is a time, all i know is half of what i read when i wasa looking at those books, im still to be quite honest with you sure if i even understood what it was i read or was reading it corectly without my own twists on it that i seem to put on different subjects throughout time, its interesting, thats for sure , do i think its possible? of course , i know anything is possible  


3 Oct 2008 @ 23:05 by Egoigwe @88.202.124.6 : Really quite simplistic
"From it, we can build a sense of the sacred that encompasses all life and the planet itself. From it, we can change our value system across the globe and try, together, to ease the fears of religious fundamentalists with a safe, sacred space we can share. And from it we can, if we are wise, find means to avert wars of civilisations, the ravages of global warming, and the potential disaster of peak oil."

I have never read stuff quite as simplistic and naive. I tell you, if there was no concept of a biblical God, people would invent one. They would worship the god of water, sun, oil, governments or that of living persons. It's human nature and in doing so the strongest would seek to impose their will of worship or self on the weak. Fundamentalism is not about religious warfare but the control of people and the mind. Religion is only the pretext that allows for that brutal invasion and curtailment of a people's freewill and freedom of worship. Already, the author by his inclination veers to another mode of worship and belief and in so doing worships the 'god' of nature and creativity.

I prefer the God Jesus teaches about because it offers peace, love and accommodation in his teachings. There's a useful purpose that it serves in human co-urbanization that I cannot find in the worship of nature and creativity. The latter does nothing but to create new territories to be fought over and coveted.  



4 Oct 2008 @ 15:00 by sovereignjohn @74.141.45.7 : Yet Antoher God Concept?
Whether you make god nature or an invisible force beyond nature god is not an answer but a question. Three people are born in a box that has no windows, no doors no entry or exit. One day one of them asks, "how did we get here?" The question almost drives them all insane. Then one day one of them says "god put us here' and everybody lived happily ever after. The mind wants to think it has an answer though a God Concept doesn't answer anything.

As a matter of fact a God Concept is dangerous especially if the box is about to explode and thsoe inside need to figure a way out. It would be good for us to figure out how to live in space off planet earth as one day it might become too hot, too cold or destroyed.

Native Americans were defeated because they had too many gods and we only had one. When Native Americans said we couldn't go into the mountains as it would anger the moutain gods we went anyway. So the less gods you have the better. Gods don't make you more ethical anyway, one simply claims their god approves of a new action. Simple. A God Concept is useful if you want to control others and that's all its good for.

So now the Universe itself is god? It won't be long before someone starts claim the Universe put them in charge over us and we must obey. Let's cute the Horus Shit some may be selling cause we ain't buying.  



2 Jul 2010 @ 16:40 by Stuart Kauffman - video @195.149.90.73 : I agree
I like his view on life a lot. I've found a very interesting interview. There is high credibility that he is right: we cannot explain everything with Physics only. There is a lot of things we do not know.  


10 Dec 2010 @ 07:20 by scraps @182.177.142.65 : universe
The universe is a huge wide-open space that holds everything from the smallest particle to the biggest galaxy  


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