by Denyse O'Leary
Forget every conspiracy theory you know on the subject.
Either you think the universe is
- top down, in which case mind comes first and creates matter. (Intelligent design, theism, traditional Eastern philosophy, and perennial philosophy are all in this camp.)
- bottom up, in which case mind accidentally arises from matter (Darwinism, universal Darwinism, and materialism are in this camp.)
Note that the two positions are not strictly identical to theism vs. atheism. It is true that the great majority of top downers are either theists or adherents of traditional non-theist religions such as Buddhism.
A very high proportion of the bottom uppers are atheists, compared with the general population.
Bottom up has been aggressively promoted since the late 19th century, even though the science evidence is mixed at best.
Note: Go here for the audio.
Atheists who insist that the evidence for bottom up is "overwhelming" are overwhelmed by the force of their own convictions. They mistake rock-like conviction for rock-solid evidence.
Top down has always been viable in science, but in recent decades it has not been popular. It is now making a comeback.
Not surprisingly, interpretations of the history of life that include design are emerging.
The intelligent design (ID) theorists speak the language of information theory , and information is not a material concept. That drives materialists crazy. Their main response from the materialist majority so far has been hostility and suppression.
(Note: You will occasionally hear materialists bellyaching that ID is merely the "new creationism" and that it got started because US courts have ruled that materialism but not fundamentalism can be taught in publicly funded schools. Such an explanation demonstrates the depth of the materialists' conviction that the public school system should finance their views from tax money.
The resultant growth in support for top down approaches to life is thus seen as a conspiracy and not as the natural development that it in fact is.
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the forthcoming The Spiritual Brain (Harper 2007).
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