Above the entrance to the library where I first went to college (CU Boulder, Colorado, 1966-70) are these words:
"Who knows only his own generation remains always a child."
I have always been a fan of very old wise sayings, and this one stands out for me, over the 44 years since I first read it, as particularly appropriate for our time. I am quite sure that not until we all make a renewed effort to reclaim the wisdom of the far past (from before the beginning of known history, it turns out), and integrate it with our modern knowledge and experience in a more thorough understanding of our humanity, will we be truly grown-up.
We don't have to go back too far to begin to see how scientific belief has changed, in just a few generations. Here is how Isaac Newton, the father of modern physics, thought about the world as little as three centuries ago:
"Newton was not the first of the Age of Reason. He was the last of the magicians... Why do I call him a magician? Because he looked on the whole universe and all that is in it as a riddle, as a secret which could be read by applying pure thought to certain evidence, certain mystic clues which God had laid about the world to allow a sort of philosopher's treasure hunt to the esoteric brotherhood. He believed that these clues were to be found partly in the evidence of the heavens and in the constitution of elements... He regarded the universe as a cryptogram set by the Almighty..."
(from Newton the Man by John Maynard Keynes, quoted in the preface of Hamlet's Mill, which can be found at phoenixandturtle.net)
Now here is Charles Darwin, a century and a half ago, or two centuries after Newton's Principia inaugurated modern physical science:
"I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems too much misery in the world..." (from a letter to American botanist Asa Gray)
Note that it is the lack of beneficence, not design, upon which Darwin hangs his reasoning. His is basically the quintessentially childish complaint of every generation--"it's not fair!"--that adults should be able to answer with real wisdom ("No, it's not, but there is more to it than you yet know, and reasons for everything, many of which you can and will learn as you go through life, if you will keep your eyes and mind open.")
In another interview, upon the publication of his The various contrivances by which orchids are fertilised by insects (and note that a contrivance is a design--"artificial arrangement or mechanical assembly as opposed to natural or logical development", as Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines it), Darwin noted:
"I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton..."
Fair enough, but note his use of the term "designed laws." He could not escape consideration of design, something that modern science refuses to honestly and properly acknowledge. Design of the natural world is a taboo subject within science, to their intellectual discredit and ultimate shame.
Now, if the world were not now full of stubborn children knowing only their own generation, I shouldn't have to instruct anyone on "why is there evil in the world," the thing that was such a stumbling block for Darwin--though he led a charmed life of financial security and the admiration of others--but not for Newton. Not to make a big deal out of it here, as I won't be dwelling on it, but the short answer is: Because we are here to learn, dummy, and especially to learn that this world is not the end-all and be-all of our existence.
I intend, if this blog generates sufficient interest, to demonstrate in coming posts that Newton was, astonishingly (to the modern scientific mind), right about the world being a complex riddle or cryptogram, whose solution indeed partly involves the "evidence of the heavens"--though the world design I have uncovered was not Creation, nor was it done by the Almighty. Darwin, and all the undirected evolutionists of the last century and a half, have indeed been weak-(and generally closed) minded in failing to honestly recognize real design(s)--as Darwin himself insincerely admitted in the above--instead opting to celebrate design by other names, such as "contrivances", "co-evolution" (something quite contrary to supposed "universal competition" or "survival of the fittest"), "self-organization", and even "natural selection". But don't think this is a Creationist or Intelligent Design rant. I won't be dwelling on the living world, but the physical, for that's where the verifiable world design is to be found--involving the actual layout of the landmasses on the Earth, as well as the observable forms in the heavens, or the celestial sphere. I'm talking about new knowledge, new facts proving a real world-encompassing design, which science does not want to hear and refuses to hear.