Archive for June, 2013

June 24, 2013

The Cosmogony of Suddha Sanmargam: Development By Intelligent Design (2)

“Siphonophorae” in Ernst Haeckel’s “Kunstformen der Natur”

The cosmogony of Suddha Sanmargam excludes both randomness and ex nihilo creation (instantaneous creation out of nothing) in its explanation of the complex forms and structures of the universe, including, of course, those of terrestrial life.

Rather, it offers an explanation in terms of a vast process of fine-tuning and development by intelligent design from an initial state of primordial, undifferentiated, and impure matter.

In fact, one of the key concepts in some of the central verses on the compassionate cosmic action of Arutperumjothi in Ramalingam’s magnum opus Arutperumjothi Agaval is “தெருட்டல்” (teruṭtal: fine-tuning, development).

The Agaval also affirms that Arutperumjothi brings about, in its turn and by means of the power of its grace or compassion, the fine-tuning and development of millions of Godheads or supernatural “leaders” (Tamil: தலைவர்கள்) entrusted with the functions of fine-tuning and development of the cosmos:

தெருட்டுந் தலைவர்கள் சேர்பல கோடியை

Godheads of fine-tuning and development (of the cosmos) by the millions


அருட்டிறந் தெருட்டு மருட்பெருஞ் ஜோதி.

themselves fine-tuned and developed by the grace of Arutperumjothi!

(Arutperumjothi Agaval, 861, Trans. Thill Raghu)

What this clearly implies is that complex forms and structures in the cosmos are the results of processes of development by intelligent design, a function of processes of development designed and governed by supernatural intelligent agents who are themselves, of course, governed and guided by Arutperumjothi.

The concept of fine-tuning and development by intelligent design clearly excludes both randomness and ex nihilo creation in accounting for the existence and nature of the cosmos, including terrestrial life.

Since randomness is excluded, the cosmogony of Suddha Sanmargam is inconsistent with the Darwinian explanation of the diversity of life and “Darwinian cosmology” or the attempt to extend the Darwinian model of evolution to the entire cosmos.

In a process of development designed, initiated, and governed by intelligent agents, randomness cannot possibly play a central role in accounting for the forms and structures generated by this process of development. Both the concepts of development and  intelligent design also imply teleology or purpose-driven development which is excluded by the Darwinian model.

Development is a fact of nature. So, no scientific theory, including Darwinism, can deny it.

The central issue, however, is whether the processes which have led to the emergence of diverse  complex forms and structures in the cosmos, including the diversity of organic forms, are developmental processes, or, instead,  evolutionary processes in the Darwinian sense, i.e., processes in which randomness rules and teleology and intelligent design have no place whatsoever.

Suddha Sanmargam holds that these processes which have led to the emergence of diverse complex forms and structures in the cosmos, including the diversity of  organic forms, are actually developmental processes governed by intelligent design.

It would follow, for instance,  that the genetic mutations which play a central role in the Darwinian account of the diversity of life are not random mutations, but a function of intelligent or intentional design.

The case for the cosmogony of Suddha Sanmargam rests on two types of evidence: a) evidence showing that developmental processes have brought the diverse complex forms and structures of the cosmos, including those of terrestrial life, into existence, and b) evidence showing that these developmental processes are a function of intelligent design.

I will build this case in subsequent posts in this series.

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June 24, 2013

The Cosmogony of Suddha Sanmargam: Development By Intelligent Design (1)

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/22/Haeckel_Ascidiae.jpg/426px-Haeckel_Ascidiae.jpg

Haeckel: Kunstformen der Natur: An Exuberance of Development By Intelligent Design?

A peculiar feature of debates on evolution in the West, particularly in America, is the glaring fallacy of false dilemma shared by protagonists and antagonists alike: evolution OR creation ex nihilo (creation out of nothing).

In other words, both the protagonists and antagonists on evolutionism share the wrong assumption that the solution to the problem of explaining the diversity and complexity of  forms of life is simply a matter of choice between two mutually exhaustive alternatives: Darwinian theory of evolution OR the Biblical theory of creation out of nothing.

This assumption embodies the fallacy of false dilemma because there is, at least, one other alternative to consider: development by intelligent design. I will call this Developmental Intelligent Design Theory (DIDT). This is the cosmogony of  Suddha Sanmargam.

This cosmogony of Suddha Sanmargam differs from the Biblical creationist intelligent design theory in that it holds that the diversity of the material,  physical, or  organic forms in the cosmos, and indeed the origin of the cosmos itself, is the result of an ongoing process of development by intelligent design, or development governed by intelligent agency,  rather than creation ex nihilo or instantaneous creation out of nothing.

The notion that the cosmos is the result of a vast process of development is an entrenched one in Indian cosmogony, e.g., the cosmogony of the Sāṃkhya metaphysical system, or the cosmogony of Śaivasiddhānta (Tamil: சைவ சித்தாந்தம்).  Unfortunately, both the protagonists and antagonists in the evolution debates in the West display a deplorable ignorance of Indian cosmogony, and, hence, remain ensconced in their false dilemma of evolution or ex nihilo creation.

How does this developmental intelligent design theory differ from Darwinian evolutionism?

The key difference is that whereas Darwinism accords a central place to randomness in shaping the diversity of the forms of life, developmental intelligent design theory affirms that the diversity of complex forms and structures, not only of life, but of the cosmos itself, is the result of processes of development designed and executed by intelligent agency.

Two questions may arise here: one pertaining to the nature of this intelligent agency governing the processes of development which have produced the diverse complex structures and forms in the cosmos, including those of terrestrial life, and the other pertaining to the modus operandi employed by the intelligent agency and/or intelligent agencies in question.

But these questions or issues are logically independent of the issue of whether recourse to the concept of development by  intelligent agency provides the best explanation of the diversity of complex forms and structures of the cosmos, including those of living beings on earth.

Explanation by recourse to the concept of  development by intelligent agency or development by  intelligent design is not undermined by lack of information on the nature of the intelligent agency or designer(s) at work in this context. Such explanation is also not undermined by any lack of information on the modus operandi of the intelligent agent or intelligent agents in question.

For instance,  an explanation of the existence of a supercomputer in terms of intelligent agency or designer(s) is not undermined by lack of information on the personal characteristics of the agents or designers in question. Nor is it undermined by lack of information on their modus operandi.

Hence, the demand that the proponent of developmental intelligent design theory must also specify the nature of the intelligent agency, or agencies, at work in bringing about and governing processes of development which have produced the diversity of complex forms and structures of the cosmos, including life, and their modus operandi, is irrelevant to the task of examining whether recourse to the concept of a process of development governed by intelligent agency provides the best explanation of the complex structures and forms of the cosmos, including those of terrestrial life.

Of course, there are alternative conceptions of intelligent agency, e.g., the notion of a single intelligent agent, the notion of a plurality of intelligent agents, the notion of a plurality of intelligent agents governed and guided by a single intelligent agent, differing conceptions of the moral character of the intelligent agent or agencies, etc.,  but the issue of adjudication among these different conceptions of intelligent agency is logically independent of the issue of whether the developmental intelligent design theory offers the best explanation of the diverse complex forms and structures of the cosmos.

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