The brilliant thinkers at the Discovery Institute are so far ahead of you, dear reader, that they are pioneering a whole new concept of science — one which you are far too primitive to realize is necessary. The latest (anonymous) post at their creationist website is provocatively titled A “Mechanical” Philosophy for the 21st Century. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
In Francis Bacon’s day, it was easy to oversimplify nature. Elizabethan scientists began to conceive of a world that ran like a machine. Robert Boyle was a strong proponent of the mechanical philosophy. Soon, Isaac Newton’s clockwork heavens reinforced the notion that all the Creator had to do was wind it up, and let it run all by itself. From Boyle to Babbage, the Newtonian revolution showed the way for scientific progress: just uncover the natural laws that make the universe run.
By the late 18th century and into Victorian times, mechanical philosophy was sufficient unto itself. An original Designer could be conceived of, perhaps, but as science progressed, the Prime Mover had less and less to do. Some argued that it was an insult to the Watchmaker to suggest he needed to intervene and fix the watch.
Yes, that’s how it was in the old days — including the time of Charles Darwin. Your thinking, dear reader, like Darwin’s, is probably still mired in that obsolete worldview. But things are different now. and the Discoveroids are insightful enough to recognize this — even if you aren’t. They say:
Then molecular biology arrived, and we found out the clocks are real. Literal machines made of molecules make life run. Simultaneously, the computer age dawned and we learned a bit about programming. Now, robotics is here. We’re going to need a new philosophy: one that can handle realities the Elizabethans and Victorians could never have imagined.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — clocks, machines, programming! [*End Drool Mode*] It’s a whole new ball game!
Then, for at least 16 paragraphs, the Discoveroids present us with an overwhelming number of little quotes from various publications, describing dazzling biological phenomena, which use words like clock, engine, mechanism, rhythm, timing, factory, assembly line, repair station, and intricate machinery. It’s an extremely impressive collection. After that they tell us:
Those are a few recent examples of the “machine talk” pouring out of labs around the world. This is not just metaphorical language for “nature” like the Victorians used. It’s observation and description of realities the early mechanical philosophers could not have imagined. And it’s everywhere. Machine talk is driving an explosion of discovery in science.
And that is why, dear reader, your current mode of thought is utterly outdated. Fortunately, the Discoveroids offer a solution:
The old mechanical philosophy is hopelessly inadequate for these realities. The reason? We know from our experience that unguided natural law does not produce machinery, factories, and quality control. Something else is required: information.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — information! [*End Drool Mode*] See Phlogiston, Vitalism, and Information.
After discussing some books and videos, the Discoveroids declare:
Information is the key to a “mechanical” philosophy for the 21st century. We know, because we have a great deal of experience producing information and imposing it on matter. We build computers. We make robots. We make clocks and trucks and factories. Indeed, we can even make machines that make other machines, and robots that increasingly look and act like us.
Yes, and if we do it, then so does the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — and we know this because the Discoveroids say there’s no other explanation. Their final paragraph makes it all clear:
Our machines can run like clockwork, not because we shined sunlight on a “disorderly lump” and waited for natural laws to take their unguided course, but because we infused the lumps with information. And since we know that intelligence was the true cause that resulted in those lumps of raw material becoming Steinway pianos, Toyota robotic assembly lines, and New Horizons spacecraft, it’s a fair inference that intelligence is the true cause behind atoms that become kinesins, ribosomes, and circadian clock proteins.
And so, dear reader, you have a lot of re-thinking to do. At the moment, your foolish mind is mired in the outmoded ideas of the past. Isn’t it time you got up-to-date and accepted the wondrous worldview of the Discoveroids? You can do it — if you have the courage.
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