September 03, 2019

David Gelernter, Rebel

Very interesting to see Yale professor and intellectual David Gelernter give up on Darwinism (which, oddly, he called a “beautiful theory”, perhaps due to the simplicity of it - at least compared to Intelligent Design).

He makes the persuasive point that Darwin did not know biochemistry, could not have predicted how mathematically impossible it is to create a new protein.

But the problem is that I.D. is likewise unsatisfying and has “a long way to go” in Gelernter’s words:
An intelligent designer who interferes repeatedly, on the other hand, poses an even harder problem of explaining why he chose to act when he did. Such a cause would necessarily have some sense of the big picture of life on earth. What was his strategy? How did he manage to back himself into so many corners, wasting energy on so many doomed organisms? Granted, they might each have contributed genes to our common stockpile—but could hardly have done so in the most efficient way. What was his purpose? And why did he do such an awfully slipshod job? Why are we so disease prone, heartbreak prone, and so on? An intelligent designer makes perfect sense in the abstract. The real challenge is how to fit this designer into life as we know it. Intelligent design might well be the ultimate answer. But as a theory, it would seem to have a long way to go.
Reminds me of the first reading from Sunday's mass, from the book of Sirach:
Do not try to understand things that are too difficult for you, or try to discover what is beyond your powers...Do not meddle with matters that are beyond you; what you have been taught already exceeds the scope of the human mind. 

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