I know it when I see it.
In 1964, US Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart, passed the above judgement.
It was about Pornography!
What the h*** he was doing with Pornography?
A French drama film, The Lovers, which was box-office hit in 1958 in France, became highly controversial when released in 1964 in US for showing obscene material. The film was sued by the public and Stewart had to decide whether the film was +18 or not.
The question in hand was What is obscene? What is Pornography?
Since different people have a different threshold for obscenity and sexual provocation, it became difficult for him to decide. And then he passed the above judgement.
He was depressed after passing the judgement, not because his judgement was wrong or not to the point, but because, he said, “People will remember me not for all my good works, but for this statement.”
Yes. He was correct.
His statement is now used not only to define pornography but in all kinds of fields.
One of the fields is biology.
When it comes to define life, some biologists claim that life is also like pornography. Only when we see life, do we recognize it.
Biologists are simply not able to define life. But then how come even a child can understand, simply by seeing, that a table or a chair is not living, and a cat or a human is living?
In fact, in his book, ‘Biology and the Riddle of Life,’, biologist and theologian, Charles Birch, states, “The riddle of life is yet undefined. My central interest is not to try to define life, which is probably a hopeless undertaking.”
Baffled in their attempts to define life, biologists tried to break life in molecules and genes and proteins and chemicals to understand life. Hoping that in the attempt to understand life, they will define it. But they utterly failed.
Failed in defining and understanding life, they tried understanding its origin. But they miserably failed.
Somehow, some mavericks thought to create life in their laboratory, hoping that if they can somehow create life, then all puzzles will be solved. But this time they fell flat on their faces.
When it comes to life, nothing at all is explainable. Life still remains a puzzle! It’s a big, big, failure.
The Big Question
Why is life still a mystery?
There are two reasons, one philosophical, another psychological.
The philosophical reason is more of an error in the ideology of science. Science believes that everything can be finally reduced to molecules, information and mechanisms. What we call as Reductionism.
In fact, in the twentieth century, Francis Crick, the famous discoverer of the DNA structure, and a reductionists’, once said “One should always remember that life is not designed. Life is molecules and information.”
But back in the middle of 19th century, Louis Pasteur had already proved experimentally that life doesn’t arise from molecules or chemicals, in short, life does not come from matter. Ironically the scientific community came to the conclusion that at least once life should originate from matter. They perhaps could not digest the Biblical view that life comes from life. Because if life comes from life, then that life comes from where? And it would quickly cascade towards Supreme Life, God, the origin of all life.
And since scientists by that time were mostly atheistic, due to separation of Church and Science, faith and rationality, they had their atheistic worldview, their Godless ideology, and that prevented science from accepting life comes from life.
The psychological reason is more of ‘God of gaps.’
God of gaps is a phrase used by scientists to say gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence of proof of God’s existence by the theists. And this God of gaps, although true in one sense, has utterly failed when it comes to life.
Since science has been trying to understand life since the last three hundred years and has failed repeatedly, is it not appropriate to propose a different view? And in that view why can’t we put forward an age-old God centered view?
Is there more to the Big Question?
Even we do not talk of God, at least science should propose an alternate hypothesis that life comes from life. At least now, science should shed its long-held prejudice that life comes from matter. This must take place before we question who created life? Before we even consider that God created life.
But science fears that if they accept life comes from life, then automatically the conclusion would be life comes from God. And ‘God’… God is banned in science.
If you find some lines on the wall of a cave, you might not think much of it. Assume that those lines represent Chinese alphabets. And assume the dating of those lines go back thousands of years. What would this mean to an archeologist? His whole carrier and fortune. Right? If he misses to identify that these random lines as Chinese letters, his fortune is lost. But if he does. He might become very famous. Because he proved that even thousands of years back in China there was intelligent life!
Similarly, since last thirty to forty years, SETI, Institute for Search for extraterrestrial intelligence, California, are dying to see just one thing in their radio signals from space. A signature of life. A Pattern! A pattern in the signals will confirm that there is intelligent life out there. And their project will be successful. And then what they will do, I have no idea!
Anyway, so why not conclude the existence of God by seeing the beautiful patterns in the biological systems. Why not accept the existence of God by seeing the complex structure of genes, packed with patterned information?
Scientists are ready to conclude that there are intelligent aliens, by seeing only one pattern in their radio signals, so why not deduce an intelligent God by seeing so many patterns in objects and in information all around and within us? Is this not some kind of madness?
To Sum up
It seems that science is not accepting God due to an obsession for an atheistic worldview.
In fact, Physicists, John Polkinghorne put it straight to the point, “There is no God of gaps. It is people of gaps. People are coming in between God and the evidence.”