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May 07, 2004

On Teleology

I've just added Teleologic Blog to the blogroll. Do check it.

Following up on denBeste and the reactions to him, especially Steve D, I'd like to take the issue a bit further. This follows also from an epiphany I got reading Allen Wheelis when I was a college sophomore.

Ultimately I am willing to believe that the emergent behavior of humanity itself, if it could be viewed as we view the emergent behavior of ant colonies, is uninterpretable by humans. But it is interpretable by 'God' and it is human destiny to attempt to make sense of the mind of god and thereby understand the context by which all human behavior can be understood, or judged.

This task by definition is both noble and futile, but it gives us a reason to try, and that is part and parcel of the human condition. We must assign it reason, we are compelled to try to figure it out. It is our instinct, and it gives us meaning.

I beleive that it is provable that without this instinct to discover the mind of god, human life would fail to have meaning. We would be more self-destructive than we are. But that we are held in awe of understanding our collective meaning means that we are permanently invested in our collective survival. My gripe with anti-theists is that they don't grasp, or that they fail to acknowledge that this is proximate cause of theology - the yearning of the faithful to discover the mind of god. Without this practice of transcendance, we accept that we are butt sniffing sheep and that nothing matters but our herd. Without it, we abandon responsibility for humanity. Without it we are, as Buddha suggests, trapped in the dusty details of domesticity.

To fail to seek the mind of god is to deny human instinct, the instinct for collective survival.

Posted by mbowen at May 7, 2004 11:10 AM

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I tried to post this as a comment to the T. blog article linked, but I got a Perl error, so I'm sticking it here:

FYI, it seems that if we set aside our prejudices about time and causality, then we can have a "science of teleology". You might want to check out the Reciprocality Project, or, if you find that a bit heavy going, The Third Age of the World.

Posted by: Steve D at May 8, 2004 01:47 AM