Are there strains or signs of new conceptual maps of
evolution that have caught traction in the scientific
community? Is it now understood, due to DNA mapping,
that man did not descend from the apes? Or is this still a
bone of contention?
It is indeed, but Gerry, do you think it is worth it to
still use the term "intelligent design" or something like
it, while strongly showing the difference between the
thought of the creative personal god in intelligent design
from what the traditional teachings have to say? Almost
every person I've gotten into a conversation with that
necessitated my opinion on modern speculations of the origin
of man, e.g., the other always assumes (suspects) that I'm a
creationist. Even if you use the word 'intelligent design'
to make the difference, the person still automatically
assumes the idea of a personal god is apart of that. Plus,
science students or enthusiasts I've known seem to see
anything not Darwinist or evolutionist as utterly not worthy
of time to understand. I am beginning to use other
alternative terms something like progressive emanationism,
but I don't know if that solves much. It helps to make
distinctions, but I would like to see the term intelligent
design saved from its present misunderstanding.
Good point Dominique. The concept of Intelligent
Design has great meaning from a Theosophical standpoint.
We have the Platonic idea of Nous that lends itself to this
cause. But Christian fundamentalists have kind of
co-opted the term in their battle to get the Bible into
Science classes. So I don't have a good answer.
I wonder what others think. The Secret Doctrine
certainly provides the alternative to mindless physical
evolution and creationism of orthodox religion.
"It appears that for many the term "intelligent design" has
become a code word for a personal God."
I agree. However I don't think the creationists are
considering the potential outcome of such a strategy. A
grade school student that is shown the empirical evidence
for intelligent design in Nature might end up forming a
pantheistic conception. Oops.
Just wanted to toss in one of my favorite quotes on the
subject, from the Secret Doctrine:
No Occultist would deny that man -- no less than the
elephant and the microbe, the crocodile and the lizard,
the blade of grass or the crystal -- is, in his physical
formation, the simple product of the evolutionary forces
of nature through a numberless series of
transformations; but he puts the case differently.
It is not against zoological and anthropological
discoveries, based on the fossils of man and animal,
that every mystic and believer in a divine soul inwardly
revolts, but only against the uncalled-for conclusions
built on preconceived theories and made to fit in with
certain prejudices. Their premises may or may not be
always true; and as some of these theories live but a
short life, the deductions therefrom must ever be
one-sided with materialistic evolutionists. SD 1:636-37
I think we can see that theosophy doesn't deny darwinian
evolution, per se, but only seeks to put it in its proper
place and call it what it truly is: transformation and
adaptation. Evolution is much more than these mechanisms,
though they undoubtedly play a role. The problem is only
that scientists take one minor aspect of evolution and
mistake it for the whole.
I also think a theosophical version of "intelligent design"
is far different than a monotheistic one. Our "creators", in
my understanding, cannot create whatever they wish - they
must 'create' within the limits imposed upon them by the
fundamental principles of the universe. For instance,
'creators' couldn't just decide, willy-nilly, to create a
27-fold Man; no, they must create a sevenfold Man because
that is the structure of the universe to which he belongs.
They're bound by laws as much as we are. Monotheistic
'creationism' imposes no limits on their creator's
abilities, giving him the power over all laws, which of
course is philosophic nonsense.