Lesson 95- A Case for Accidental Rational Evolution
As I ended my last program, I was making the case for a type of evolution that was both accidental and rational as the Christian “theory of choice” when it come to this issue. Purely accidental evolution was rejected because it strains rational belief to think that an evolutionary process can move from a hydrogen atom to a human being through a totally accidental process. Totally rational evolution was rejected because the evolutionary process contain dead-ends with creatures who either haven’t changed in million of years or who have become extinct. In other words, instead of being totally linear in its movement from the simple to the complex as it moves from the Alpha to the Omega, it deviates from a totally rational path. Therefore, the available evidence reveals a process that seems to contain both accidental and rational elements.
Thus, the theory that best fits the evidence is an accidental/rational model in which a rational mind is judging non-rational events. I demonstrated how this could happen by my example of throwing a handful of fish tank pebbles into the air and on the fiftieth try having completed the spelling of my name. Obviously, the pebbles fall in an accidental fashion. However, my rational mind, which is looking for a pattern that corresponds to my name, selects out of each throw those pebbles that add to the completion of my pattern while removing those that don’t. After cementing in place those that fit the pattern, those that didn’t are thrown up and the selection process begins again. After each throw, the missing parts of the pattern are completed until, by the fiftieth throw, my name has been spelled. The obvious conclusion is that “an accidental process can result in a rational end so long as there is a rational mind judging it.” And that is exactly what the present theory of evolution describes in its duel theories of Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest. Even the most rabid defender of atheistic or accidental evolution admits that it is the result of these two theories. How, it makes you wonder, can they insist that it is a totally accidental process when they admit that there are built in laws that are judging the process, moving it from the simple to the complex, from the non-conscious to the conscious, from the non-rational to the rational, from the potential to the actual, from the non-living to the living. In other words, the system is not neutral but, rather, places value on some actions and responses over others. And, as I said in my last program:
“any system that contains these two principles of Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest implies the existence of a value structure since some actions are valued over others And any system containing a value structure implies a direction. And any system that is directional implies rational intent. And since this is independent of us, the mind directing it has to be a Supreme Being or God.”
The fact that evolution shows regressive, as well as progressive tendency, is not problematic when one considers that many of the relationships are the result of accidental or non-rational forces that may run counter to its general progressive thrust. These relationships are merely the raw material that, like the pebbles in my example, the rational judging agent uses in its quest towards “higher forms of life.”
In short, evolution is a progressive system that seems directed towards something that could be described as the “fullness of life.” This is a concept that is found in the New Testament. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life, and have it fully.” The obvious conclusion to be drawn from this statement is that if He is, as He said He was, is the only begotten Son of the Living God who has existed from eternity, then in His God-like role as the Eternal Word that created the universe, He is the judging agent that has been moving the universe from its inception towards the “fullness of life.” And, if, according to the scientists, there is a law called Natural Selection that results in the Survival of the Fittest, then Jesus must be the operative behind this law. In other words, from the beginning of time, it has been the Logos or Logic of God that has been making the rational judgment concerning the accidental or non-rational events and selecting “in” those that fit into His Father’s overall plan, while selecting “out” those, that in the long term, don’t. In this context, it is interesting to note that Jesus said that those who follow His Father’s Will, will have their names written in the Book of Life and those that don’t will have their names removed. In another place, He says that His Father judges no one and that He is the source of all judgment.
According to modern brain researchers, the right hemisphere of our brains, which correspond to the Artistic Genius or Father in the rational mind of God, is non-judgmental, while the left hemisphere of our brains, which corresponds to the Logical Craftsman in the rational mind of God, is the source of logical judgment. Thus, based on this analysis, to the question of “what is Natural Selection” the Christian should answer, “Natural Selection is the process by which Jesus, the Logos or Logic of God, judges and selects those elements of reality that match the pattern that constitutes His Father’s plan or vision for creation.” Therefore, evolution, instead of being a totally accidental process, which is the inference contained in the statements of many of its supporters, is, in reality, the result of “intelligent design.” This is a theory of evolution that Christians can live with and it has as much, if not more, intellectual credibility than the present theory.
You might remember when I was doing my analysis of the left and right lobes of our brain that one of the conclusions was that “without a goal there is no morality” because all choices would be equal and it really wouldn’t matter which way one went. And, of course, this was the conclusion drawn by those who believe in an accidental universe when they concluded that all moral choices were personal and subjective. In short, there was no objective morality and it was “different strokes for different folks.”. However, the opposite is also true. Whenever there is a goal, there is morality. Thus, if evolution is goal directed, and it certainly appears to be, then it contains a moral component. Its basic premise is “life is preferable to death” and “the fullness of life” is preferable to its more limited forms. There are some other conclusions from former programs that could be applied here too. For example,
“Without reflection there is no progress…”“Without judgment there is no progress…”“Without variety there is no judgment….” “Without the male principle there is no variety…” Let me analyze each of these statements.
First, “without reflection there is no progress.” To illustrate this point, I ask my students to imagine a world in which reflection was impossible and there was no way for anybody to ever see their own face. Imagine in this world of trying to improve one’s appearance. No matter what steps you tried, there would be no way of evaluating whether the results were better or worse.
Reflective agents help us to evaluate results by allowing us to see the consequences of our actions so that we can decide whether or not they improved our appearance. Every time we step before a mirror, we are, in effect, doing the same thing as the evil queen in Snow White who asked, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” and then she waited for the mirror to reflect back to her its answer. The only difference is that when it give us a negative answer, we ask “Why not?” and when it reflects back “because you need a haircut, or a “nose job”, or to lose weight” it direct us towards some progressive measure to improve our appearance.
Thus, “without reflection there is no progress” and that is why we can conclude that our reflective brains are progressive because there is a dialectical interaction between the intuitive right lobe and the logical left lobe in which the thoughts of one are evaluated and reflected back by the other according to its own particular perspective. Thus our actions are the result of a dialectical interaction in which the Thesis of one lobe is Antithesized by the different perspective of the other lobe. For example, when buying a car, the right lobe, which is concerned with “form” or style, enters a dialectical conversation with the left lobe, which is concerned with function. Between them, they try to work out a compromise or synthesis that includes both of their concerns.
Animals, on the other hand, whose right and left hemispheres are duplicates, have non-reflective brains, in which both hemispheres are looking at reality from the same point of view. Therefore, there is no reflection or dialectical interaction and the result is a non-progressive existence symbolized by a circle signifying a life lived through the repetition of instinctual patterns with very little linear development. On the other hand, a reflective mind would be symbolized by a line signifying progressive development resulting from a dialectical process. Thus, if evolution is progressive then it must be the result of a reflective agent that mirrors back to the creatures involved the results of their actions.
The second statement, “Without judgment there is no progress” is similar to reflection because once the consequences of one’s actions are reflected back, the next step to make a judgment as to how one should respond. If a system lacks judgment, it also lacks progress and the enemy of all judgment is “equality.” If all things were equal there would be no basis for judgment because judgment implies a “decision between” at least two things. If the things are identical and equal, then there is no basis for making the decision. In other words, equality leads to a non-judgmental situation in which any possibility of evolutionary development becomes impossible. And that is why asexual reproduction is inadequate to creating all the variety of creatures that we see today. Asexual reproduction is essentially the act of cloning one’s self by splitting in two. How can one judge between a series of identical clones. Which one is faster, stronger, healthier etc…? In short, if they are all equal, which one is more fit? Thus, asexual reproduction is an evolutionary dead-end because, like the identical lobes of an animals brain that are non-reflective and non-dialectical, it keeps repeating the same patterns over and over again in a cyclical fashion. This leads us to another statement, “without variety there is no judgment.”
If, in order to progress, I must make judgments between contending factors, then there must be some significant difference upon which to make a judgment. And, since asexual reproduction is inadequate to produce the necessary amount of differences between off-springs to allow for evolution, then a new type of reproduction had to be created that would produce the necessary variety to allow for Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest. A cell interacting with itself, resulted in a duplicate of itself. Therefore, there had to be a type of reproduction that allow two different cells to interact with each other to produce a third cell that contained the combined qualities of both. This is sexual or bi-sexual reproduction and it is simply the Hegelian Dialectic taken to the biological reproductive level. Sexual reproduction results when one sex, the Thesis, interacts with the second sex, the Antithesis, and produces an offspring, the Synthesis, that contains genetic material from them both. And how does this come about? How does an asexual, non-reflective system, turn into a sexual, reflective system? I suspect that it occurs by modify one asexual cell so that it can penetrate another asexual cell with its genetic material. In other words, by creating the concepts of male and female.
Based on what we now know about embryology, the default or basic sex is female since every one of us started out as females. However, early in our embryonic development, those of us who had a “Y” chromosome got a shot of testosterone and our ovaries started to descend outside of our bodies to become testicles and our clitorises enlarged to become a penises.
I suspect that many of you, like me, might be shocked to hear this not only because it goes against many of our preconceptions about the intrinsic separation between the sexes but also because it seems to contradict the Biblical account that Adam came first and Eve was made from his rib. I have already explained in my last the program the problem of interpreting the Bible too literally and this is another example. Once you think about it, it’s not so shocking or unusual at all. The evidence has been staring us in the face but “having eyes we could not see.” Men, for example, have nipples on their chest which, biologically speaking, are the beginning of mamilla glands that the female uses to produce milk for her young. Also, most of us have heard of people known as hermaphrodites who are born with both sexual organs. The chasm between male and female is not as deep or as wide as we once thought. I may have mentioned that in one scientific journal it was reported that a family in the West Indies had daughters, who because of a genetic defect that cause large doses of testosterone to be released into their systems at puberty, changed from females to males. Their wombs healed over, their breast disappeared, they grew hair on their chests, their voices deepened, and their clitorises enlarged and became penises. Not only were they biologically male, but they became masculine in their behavior and attitudes. The only defect was that they were unable to reproduce.
Thus, it appears that the female is the basic and most important sex and that the males was created from her to be a reflective agent with whom she could interact to reproduce a variety of offsprings that would allow for the selection necessary for evolutionary development. If she, like Hegel’s Thesis, represented stability and order, then he, like Hegel’s Antithesis, represented change and freedom. And between them they reproduce a new variation of life that, hopefully, contained the best that both had to give. Thus, we could conclude that the female principle represented stability and “what is”, symbolized by a circle, and the male principle represented change and “what could be”, symbolized by a line and between the two of them they represented the age-old interaction between order and freedom.
Seen from this perspective, we could say that the female principle begot the male principle by creating from its own being a reflective agent that would allow it to progress. I said principles rather than sexes because sexuality is better understood as a principle of interaction rather than as biological sexes.
I addressed this question in a previous program when I reviewed the concepts of Yin and Yang that was developed by a Chinese philosopher, Lao Tsu. We would make a big mistake if we did not at least consider the insights that have come from other philosophies and other religions. We don’t have to accept the total package.As in any dialectical process, one has to know how to incorporate what is compatible with one’s identity while rejecting those parts that are not. So lets take another look at Yin and Yang and see what parts of Lao Tsu’s theory are compatible with our own faith.
First of all, Yin and Yang describes a dialectical process between a Female Principle, called Yin, that was built to receive and a Male Principle, called Yang, that was created to give. Any dialectical process ought to be of interest to us as Christians because it appears that our God is a dialectic himself. Once we understand that a dialectic is an event in which two things interact in a dynamic way to produce a third, it should be obvious that a Trinitarian God in which the interaction between the Father and the Son produces the Holy Spirit has a dialectical nature and it should not surprise us that He would create a dialectical universe. Add to this that the fact that our God is also defined as a rational being and we now know that all rational beings have a dialectical mind in which the creative, artistic right lobe reflects and interacts with a logical, technological left lobe to produce a frontal lobe that combines the two perspectives into a final decision. In essence we could say that the creative right lobe thinks of “what to do” and the logical left lobe thinks of “how to do it.” And the decisive frontal lobe says “Do it!” This, by the way, seems to be the process followed in all creative activities.
Add to this Hegel’s statement that “Truth is a union of opposites” and Buckminster’s Fuller’s, a modern day Renaissance man who invented the geodesic dome, statement that the triangle is the basic form of the universe because, since it is a “union of opposites”, it is the only structure that has enough internal integrity to stand by itself and one starts to suspect that we live in a dialectical universe full of Trinitarian relationships.
It was the Trinitarian nature of Hegel’s dialectic that first drew me to it and it was this same Trinitarian nature that drew me to the Eastern philosophical theory of Yin and Yang. Basically what Lao Tsu said was that everything that comes into being is the result of the interaction between the Female Principle of Yin and the Male Principle of Yang of which biological sex is just one of many examples. According to Lao Tsu everything that receives is female or Yin in principle while everything that gives is male or Yang in principle. When one makes a list of the qualities that Lao Tsu assigned to the Yin and Yang principles, they come very close to being the same qualities that correspond to those between the right and left lobe of the brains. For example, Yin is earth and Yang is heaven; Yin is passive and Yang is active; Yin is unconscious and Yang is conscious; Yin is intuitive and Yang is logical; Yin is the dark side and Yang is the Light side.
You have probably seen this symbolically expressed as a circle, separate in the middle by an “S” curve. On one side of the curve it is black, with a little circle of white in it; on the other side it is white with a little circle of black, indicating that in every Yin there is a little Yang and in every Yang there is a little Yin.
It is amazing that thousands of years before Christ, Eastern philosophers intuitively sensed that every creative act involved a sexual-like union between a passive receiver and an active giver. In the West we find the same intuitive sense in Aristotle’s analysis of Potential and Actual existence. The Actual is the Yin, representing passive existence that “is” while the Potential is the Yang representing active creation of “what is yet to be.” Later, the same intuitive insight is express by Hegel in his dialectic where the Yin, is the Thesis or Conservative Female principle representing “what is” and the Yang is the Antithesis or Liberal Male principle, representing “what could or should be.”
When I say intuitive I mean an inner sense that we all possess on the unconscious level of the basic laws of the universe that are so deep that we can express them only symbolically and in theories. Somewhere, deep within all of us, we sense that sexual union has a sacred dimension to it that is related to the very nature of the universe.
The Bible, itself, is full of such references. For example, in the Book of Hosea, Hosea the prophet is told by God to marry a prostitute. Obediently he finds one laying in the gutter and takes her home to his mansion where he feeds, cleans, and dresses her with the finest of everything and treats her with love and respect. However, every time he turns his back, she is back in the gutter practicing her whoring ways. Yet, he keeps taking her back and she keeps betraying him. Finally, as the story unfolds, we discover that Hosea is a symbol for God and the prostitute a symbol for the Hebrew people or us.
This theme of marriage and sexual union between God and humanity is carried on throughout the Bible and it suggests that God desires to have intercourse with us: He wants us to be His bride and our union is to take place at a Wedding Banquet. Of course, this immediately offends us because we think that the Holy Bible is suggesting the type of carnal sex that took place between the Greek and Roman gods and human females. But that is not the case with Yahweh. He is spiritual, not carnal and the type of union he desires with us is spiritual. In fact, it is more accurate to say that he desires to have intercourse with us rather than sex because intercourse suggests more than a biological sexual union. There is social intercourse, intellectual intercourse, economic intercourse, and spiritual intercourse. In fact, anytime that two things interact to produce a third result, it is a form of intercourse.
Like Yin and Yang, the Bible is looking at principles of interaction that correspond to male and female with one being the receiver and the other being the giver. Looked at from this context, God, the ultimate giver, is the greatest Yang principle in the universe whose very nature is “to give.” That is why he is Love. Everything else, in relationship to Him is Yin, the receiver and so long as we maintain this relationship the channels between us remain open with Him sending and us receiving. However, once we try to interfere with the relationship by assuming a Yang position we close down the channels through which His graces flow. This occurs when we want to be God and assume the Yang position. This is probably the sin that Adam and Eve committed and it is known as pride. Yang to Yang doesn’t work no more than Yin to Yin because neither is dialectical in nature. God, the giver, needs us to assume the female or receiving position. Thus, we can block God in two ways: either though the sin of Pride or by rejecting His amorous advances and sleeping around with other suitors.
Thus, the Bible says that idolatry is a form of fornication and/or adultery because were are having spiritual intercourse with false gods rather than with the true God and whatever spiritual being we “sleep with” will result in the reproduction of its qualities in ourselves and our society.
But the most dramatic instance of God’s intercourse with a human being, from a Christian point of view, is the impregnation of Mary by the Holy Spirit of God. If the story of Hosea represents God’s frustration with the whoring ways of the Hebrew people through their sinning, it seems only reasonable that He would eventually go looking for a virgin. Of course, we tend to emphasize her physical virginity but I suspect that what was even more important was her spiritual virginity because, as we have seen, sin from God’s perspective is seen as sexual infidelity. Thus, one of the dogmas of the Catholic Church is the Immaculate Conception that states that Mary was sinless in two ways. First, she did not inherit the Original Sin of Pride that, according to the theologians, was the sin that broke our original connection with God. Second, she, through God’s grace, remained sinless through the rest of her life. In other words, she, unlike the Hebrews symbolized by Hosea’s wife, never committed adultery against her heavenly spouse.
Because she lacked Pride, she was full of humility which, on the spiritual level, is the female or Yin position that indicates an openness to receive what God wants to give. Eve block God through her Pride, which is Yang, and Mary was open to him through her humility, which is Yin. If you doubt this, read her prayer, the Magnificat, in the New Testament that begin with… “My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for He who is mighty hath done great things for Me and holy is His Name. He has looked upon the lowliness of His handmaid…etc…
Some people have a problem with the idea that she never sinned because only Jesus was sinless. Her defenders respond by saying that she, like us, remained sinless through an infusion of graces and not by any power of her own. However, I would like to add my own insight on this issue. Part of the problem is that some people interpret sinlessness to mean that she never made a mistake and that is not what it means. According to the theologians, in order to sin first one has to know it is a sin Thus, children, according to these same theologians, are innocent because of their ignorance and remain incapable of sin until they reach the Age of Reason around seven years of age. Second, a person must give the full consent of their will. Thus, when we are struggling with a temptation there is no sin until we give into it. In Mary’s case it appears from what we can surmise from the quality of her prayer that she would never knowingly offend her heavenly spouse.
By now, some of you might be wondering, what all this has to do with my analysis of evolution. And the truthful answer is “not much.” It is not totally disconnected from the topic but the truth is that I am running out of time and I don’t want to begin my description of the Catholic version of evolution unless I have enough time to finish it. However, I am not totally off the topic because I am going to make a case for the universe beginning as a birth process resulting from a sex-like interaction that took place in the Godhead, Itself.
Now before you start gathering the wood to burn me at the stake for heresy, please hear me out. We have grown up in a culture that has so degraded biological sex that we immediately react to any reference to intercourse of any kind with suspicion. And the idea that God might be sexual in nature seems to be highly blasphemous. However, I have spent the last ten minutes trying to shift your attention off biological sex to sex as principles of interaction in which two things, such as a Yin Principle and a Yang Principle, interact to produce a third thing that is a combination of them both. This is the definition for a dialectical relationship and a Trinitarian God is dialectical in nature and thus everything that is dialectical is a reflection of Him. The next time you recite the Nicene Creed pay attention to how it first defines the Father, and then the Son, and then concludes with the Holy Spirit by saying, “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.”
Sex is sacred because, as a trinitarian, dialectical relationship, it is a reflection of the Godhead, Itself and it is only our misuse and misinterpretation of it that makes it sound naughty and unholy.
The Church has said that Mary, who had spiritual intercourse with God when she was impregnated by the Holy Spirit, is a model for all Christians. In other words, observe what she did and do the same thing. Well, what exactly did she do? She humbly opened herself up to the Holy Spirit of Truth by assuming the Yin position of humility and gave birth to Wisdom. “Go forth!, says the Church, “and do the same!”
Well, I see that my time is up. Here’s Dom!