The Words of the Haines Family

Is this our Galileo moment?

William Haines
April 27, 2010

One day a cardinal from the Vatican came to visit Galileo to discuss his advocacy of Copernicus' theory that the earth went round the sun. The Catholic Church up until then had held to the geocentric model embraced by Ptolemy, Aristotle and philosophers of the ancient world that the Earth was at the center of the universe. The geocentric model however made it very hard to reconcile actual observations and make the predictions necessary for accurate calendars. Copernicus' heliocentric theory that the sun was at the center of the solar system produced better results and was listened to with interest by Catholic scholars and cardinals including the Pope.

However some years later, in a different political environment, Galileo started promoting the heliocentric view. He stirred up a lot of opposition mostly because he insulted and offended potential allies and former supporters such as the new Pope. So when a cardinal came to visit him and asked for evidence for his outlandish theories, Galileo invited him to peer through his telescope and observe for himself the moons revolving around Jupiter. Up until then it had been assumed that all celestial bodies revolve around the Earth. After a while the cardinal stood and announced that there were no bodies going around the planet. He denied what his eyes saw because what he saw didn't fit into the theory he either believed or had to support.

I was reminded of this incident, which led to the discrediting of the Catholic Church, when I read page 33 of the Original Divine Principle where it states "The argument of creation vs. evolution is finished => it is creation." There then follow some arguments to support this assertion:

(1) Was existence first, or thought first? (motivation and purpose come first)

Now when did thought appear? Let's imagine the Earth 10 million years ago, before the appearance of homo sapiens. Was there existence? Yes, there were millions of species around. Was there thought? That all depends on whether you think animals are able to think or not. Suppose we go back 700 million years before what we call animals appeared. Was there thought? So this argument isn't up to much.

(2) All things are born for the sake of love (existence) and therefore exist in pairs.

Can this be described as an argument to support creationism?

There then follows the most common argument which is stated twice:

(3) In order for something new to come out there must be an input of energy (ideas, skills). New developments always need the investment of creativity. Without this, there can be no development.

But this has been found not to be the case. There are many many examples of order and complexity emerging spontaneously. They look as if they are the product of design but are actually examples of self-generated 'purposeless' order. One can learn about and see this for oneself in the recent BBC program: "The Secret Life of Chaos"

Coming back to evolution, there is so much evidence that it happened that one wonders why people dispute it anymore. Trying to explain how it happened, what the mechanisms might be, is still in the realm of theory; a fruitful research program. Traditionally Christian Churches have found no intrinsic problem with Darwinian evolution. His ideas were accepted and promoted by scientists who were also Christians very soon after the publication of the Origin of the Species. They believed in creation and evolution. They saw no need to choose between evolution an creation. In other words it was through the processes of evolution that God acted. It wasn't until recently that fundamentalist Christians in America, who take a literalist approach to the Bible, rejected evolution and advocated the theory of creationism. This of course is to mistake the kind of book the Bible is. Since the Divine Principle has always been critical of a literalist approach to the Bible, with its suggestion that much of the Bible is written using symbols and metaphors, it is odd to find a literalistic approach in this case. It is even odder because the Divine Principle advocates the integration of science and religion suggesting that it is a weakness of traditional religions that they allegedly didn't have a comfortable relationship with science. Maybe our community has more recently been affected by fundamentalist ideas floating around in Korea and America?

A good selection of papers discussing these issues from what I would describe as a Principled point of view than that of ODP can be found here 

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