Materialism, the doctrine that the entire cosmos and all living things can ultimately be reduced to mindless stuff, has many fundamental flaws. Here is one of them:
Even in the mindless, God-less, designer-less worldview of materialism, a mind is still present. Where is this mind? In the head of a scientific theorist who imagines that the intelligence and organizational ability of matter is much more creative than it could ever be on its own.
Let me provide a bit more detail.
At bottom, material scientists believe they can explain the entire universe using only matter and the laws of nature. The laws of nature are necessary to give order and regularity to the dust that would otherwise scatter in the wind. For example, the laws of gravity, chemistry, quantum theory, and nuclear fission are considered among those responsible for sculpting the large-scale structure of the cosmos, such as galaxies, stars, and planetary systems.
. The laws of nature possess at least two noteworthy features: (1) they are
engrained “rules to the game” of the universe and considered integral to the physical world; and (2) if these rules were changed even slightly, life would not be possible. This last point is the source of the anthropic principle, the notion that life constrains, or perhaps even dictates, the physical laws that make life possible.
All scientific theorists assume the laws of nature as given, as if this dead and dumb matter came off the assembly line nicely programmed with operating instructions, like marching robots. Material scientists appear more comfortable assuming the laws of nature than invoking some mysterious spirit or intelligence as because it sounds more scientific, which is to say less supernatural.
But if we remove the “laws of nature” from the equation we have only mindless stuff, and under any story of creation this mindless stuff will never form into an ordered universe, or stay in place once it got there.
So we have this formula:
Matter – Laws of Nature = Chaos
So scientists, unable to place mind out in the world due to their materialistic prejudices, resort to the only resource available to them: their own minds. Faced with a chaotic world of mindless matter, scientists use the creativity of the scientific imagination to create matter, organize it, and give it life.
Here are three examples of how the scientific mind resorts to the creative imagination when trying to explain how dead and dumb matter formed the world standing in front us.
Example 1: Creation from nothing theories.
The quantum creation story goes something like this: Under quantum theory, we are unable to attribute an exact energy state to a vacuum. Therefore, there is a chance the vacuum may contain a probability cloud or virtual particles. Theorists then say that this quivering, uncertain energy state somehow morphed into a real world, with a 100 billion galaxies, each with 100 billion stars. (See Lawrence Krauss, A Universe from Nothing).
Notice something here that is indisputable: this quantum creation theory originated in the mind. Consciousness, it turns out, is an integral part of quantum theory and most physicists acknowledge that what we call the “real” world is in some way bundled up with the mind. Therefore, for these quantum-creation theorists to imagine creation without consciousness contradicts the basis of quantum theory. See, e.g., B. Rosenblum & F. Kuttner, Quantum Enigma.
Without the creativity of the scientific theorist there would be only a nothing trying to become something. So the modern theorist implants his theory upon the dark void and imagines that nothing became something, without an observer or consciousness.
We already know one way the mind can create an external world without bothering with the quantum theory: the power of the dream. This is something we can test everyday, for at night our mind naturally conjures up a real-seeming world from nothing but itself. And, unlike the quantum creation approach, with the dream perspective we do not separate ourselves from creation, but find it linked to the soul.
Example 2: The origin of life
Despite the numerous books written about how life rose from the dead, scientists have no credible, testable theory to explain the origin of life. But they have a lot of theories, and one thing again is for sure: all the theories are a product of the ingenuity of the theorizing mind.
Look at the dirt on the ground. Does it look alive? Does it look like it can someday become alive? I thought so. To imagine how dirt and slime became alive requires a leap of the imagination, something minds are very good at. But not dirt.
So what’s the alternative explanation? Well, if the dreaming power projects a world, one might think it someday would want to experience its creation. So life becomes the mind’s best idea of how to lose itself in the dream – and to forget it is nothing after all.
Example 3: The blind watch-making capabilities of Natural Selection
Then there is natural selection, the all-purpose life-sculpting power responsible for turning bacteria into Marilyn Monroe and Rock Hudson. Here again we find a big disconnect between the actual working parts of natural selection and the artwork attributed to it. Natural selection is the term used to describe the theory that creatures better adapted to the environment are more likely to survive and pass on their genes to offspring. Random mutations at the level of DNA provide the raw material for changes in organisms. As these copying errors mutate an organism, once in a while a mutation will prove beneficial and allow an organism to outlast its competitors; the mutant organism will then pass on the favorable traits to its offspring and so on. Through this process, biologists believe a primitive organism mutated its way to the human form.
But looking strictly at the working parts to this theory – random mutations and the survival instinct – it is not easy to understand what caused exactly the necessary mutations to march out of DNA randomly– but wind up at the human figure.
Doesn’t it seem a bit odd that the human figure is also the best form our minds can imagine? Isn’t Marilyn Monroe a dream image of a woman? (Woman can imagine their own male dream image; I have a feeling it’s not the Alien, Tyrannosaurus Rex, or a hippopotamus.)
So scientists take the mind out of the physical world and then use their own minds to imagine a way for the cosmos to have evolved into a place of apparent order.
They drain mind from the physical world and absorb the creativity as part of their own theorizing.
And we can make this point into a principle:
To the degree scientists take mind out of the physical world they must use greater theorizing power to imagine how this mindless stuff assembled itself into world of perfect order.
But a mind is always present, either out in the world organizing the dream, or in the mind of the theorist imagining how mindless stuff evolved into a world. With the dream perspective, we do not have to take wild speculative leaps imagining how an infinitely condensed seed of matter sprang from the void; how life rose from the dead; or how bacteria evolved into a perfect human form. We finally admit, in other words, that a scientist is both theorist and creator in our world. And if you think about it, that’s not so bad.