17. "PLANNED (ENGINEERED) CREATIVE EVOLUTION" VERSUS "UNPLANNED (UNENGINEERED) SPONTANEOUS EVOLUTION"
In a previous section it has been suggested that both evolution and creation are forms of creation.
I would now like to propose that they are also both forms of evolution.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary includes the following in the definition of evolution "... appearance in due succession ... development (of organism, human society, the universe, design, argument, etc); origination of species by development from earlier forms, not by special creation ...".
In seeking to converge the analysis in this document towards something that i think i can offer as "solid" and "provable" it increasingly seemed important to more closely define what i perceive to be the principal attributes of the two arguments.
Following are my suggestions.
17.1. INSTANTANEOUS CREATION
I have indicated in a previous section that i do not believe that creation took place in six consecutive twenty four hour periods. By extension i do not believe that creation of all that exists today took place instantaneously, that is in periods of less than twenty four hours.
For the sake of this point i would like to define such concepts as "instantaneous creation".
I do not believe that instantaneous creation is a necessary pre-requisite for the existence of a creator. I see no reason why a creator who says He is eternal would need to resort to instantaneous creation, even if He IS capable of it.
As far as i can see, the time frame of creation is not relevant to establishing whether there is a creator or not. The time period since the completion of the creation of man may be more relevant but even then i do not see that disputing the time period will can have any impact on whether there is a creator or not.
Accordingly, i appeal to those who believe there IS a creator NOT to attach issues of timing to any argument that they advance in support of a creator.
I appeal to those who do NOT believe there is a creator also to find another basis to present an argument to prove there is no creator.
I will not address this scenario further in this document and in the remainder of this section will focus my attention on two definitions that seem to me to be important.
17.2. PLANNED (ENGINEERED) CREATIVE EVOLUTION
Having accepted that belief in creation of the universe and humankind in six consecutive periods of twenty four hours is not a precondition for belief in a creator and that creation may have taken millions or billions of years, opens up some other possibilities. Specifically that it seems to me that it is quite possible for creation, by an eternally self existing creator, to have taken place in an evolutionary manner.
A fundamental engineering principle in designing complex systems is that one builds one or more prototypes, operates them, identifies opportunities for improvement and then builds production units. As one gains experience with the operation of production units one identifies areas for further improvement and these are incorporated into subsequent versions of production units which may also go through one or more prototype stages.
If one is seeking to create something that has never existed before, such as a heavier than air flying machine, one may create numerous prototypes before one even begins to function in the manner envisaged. It can take many iterations even after a functioning prototype has been created before one can achieve the level of performance, functionality, reliability, etc that one envisages when one first embarks on the project.
In the case of heavier than air flying machines, it took centuries before a machine that flew for any distance was created and many decades further before the levels of performance, functionality, reliability, safety and affordability that we are accustomed to today were achieved. Today, engineers continue to make improvements to flying machines in order to improve their operating attributes.
The need for prototypes is NOT an indication of lack of intelligence or other deficiency, it is simply evidence that when creating a complex system that has never been created before it is to be expected that the first design will offer opportunity for improvement as one gains experience with the design, construction and operation of the particular system.
In my experience, these principles apply whether it is a twelve year old trying to build a simple kennel for their dog or an international space agency cooperative programme designing a "space station".
If one has never designed, built and operated something before, it is necessary to gain experience with the design, construction and operation of that something before one can build a "something" that is reasonably optimized. Alternatively one can learn from others who have done the same or similar things previously, this is the basis of engineering education.
This being so in terms of my life experience, i hold it to be so in all areas of development that i have ever read about or heard of.
At a more personal level, it is my observation that if someone designs and builds a house for themselves, when they take occupation they will always find opportunity for improvement unless they employed a really skilled architect who really understood their requirements extremely well and the person briefing the architect was very clear about the requirements and had considerable experience.
I would like to suggest that if you have ever designed and built anything you have personal experience that indicates that it is not trivial to accomplish the outcome you desired at the start and you may also have experience that indicates that if you undertook the same project again you would do it differently with the expectation of an improved outcome.
It is my belief that the Almighty has created a universe like ours only once.
Accordingly, it seems to me that it is certain that creation was undertaken on an incremental basis similar to that described above.
In the hope of demonstrating what i am suggesting, i would like to suggest the following scenario as one possible view for consideration:
1) A limited amount of matter was created in order to develop the periodic table of the elements. This may have taken any number of prototypes (or experiments).
2) Some or all of the amount of matter that exists in the universe today was created. This could have been created as a single mass and distributed through some form of "big bang" or it could have been created a step at a time, each sun, planet, etc in it's place and motion.
The term "big bang" is defined at http://dictionary.reference.com as "big bang n. The cosmic explosion that marked the origin of the universe according to the big bang theory".
3) Any number of prototype "solar systems" could have been created in order to obtain a particular desired set of conditions. This would have eventually resulted in the construction of our solar system.
4) As the design was unfolding, different components of the universe could have been given different trajectories, orbits, rotations, etc. This could also have taken place on a step by step experimental / prototype basis.
5) Any number of prototype "earths" could have been created in these solar systems in order to obtain the desired levels of temperature, ecological conditions, etc. This allows for the possibility of any number of other habitable or near habitable planets to exist in the universe.
6) Once the present planet was stabilized there might have been any number of iterations of refinement of the atmosphere, biosphere, etc. Such iterations may also have occurred on other prototype earth planets before being implemented here.
7) As the environment on earth stabilized there could have been a progressive implementation or development of increasingly sophisticated life forms and organisms, starting with any number of the one cell organisms which i understand to be an essential part of evolution theory.
8) Over time this progressive evolution of life may have resulted in any number of prototypes that did not fully conform to the original design objectives and these forms may have been formally extinguished or else allowed to die out. Either way, this represents a form of "survival of the fittest".
9) As the plant life on the planet stabilized this would have created the environment for increasingly complex animals until eventually the full range of land mammals was in existence. At each stage of development there could have been multiple prototypes and the successful prototypes could then have become basic patterns for different groupings of animals such as horses, cats, dogs, cattle, antelope, apes, rodents, etc. Prototyping at each stage seems quite possible to me.
10) In the process of developing these life forms, at some stage animal spirits may have been introduced. There are many who believe that animals have spirits. It is my impression that the spirits commonly referred to as angels or messengers may have been created before any physical matter was created. It is my understanding that they were active agents in the creation process. This is not a necessary condition to the validity of this scenario.
11) Once the animal ecology was well established (it may have been continuing to develop) initial prototypes of human kind may have been developed. There may have been many prototype iterations, thus accounting for the range of intermediate forms that are reported to have been found.
12) Eventually, once a final design had been arrived at, human kind would have been put "into production". While there are other reasons why a decision as to whether this took place thousands of years ago or millions of years ago seems to me to be significant, it does not seem to me to be important for the current point.
13) One could argue that the earth has continued to evolve from the time of creation of man or one can argue that it has been deteriorating since then. I hold the latter view and hold that there is evidence of this. However, this is not relevant to this point.
It also seems possible that in the above scenario many types of animal could have further evolved since the completion of a formal development process. It seems to me that there could be ongoing evolution / mutation / of present forms with or without the intervention of a creator and / or with or without the intervention of other spiritual beings. Thus all dogs may have evolved from one created pair, all cats may have evolved from one created pair, all butterflies, all human beings, etc may have evolved from one created pair.
In the event of evolution without a creator it is my understanding that it is taken as given that all dogs must have evolved from one successful pair and that the same applies to the other examples given above. In sections that follow i will seek to demonstrate that this is a necessary requirement for evolution without a creator to happen.
It seems to me that progressive development of dogs and other animals does not indicate the existence of a creator or not. At some level i accept that it can be taken as indicating that evolution without a creator IS possible within the constraints of a particular form, such as dogs.
In other words, there can be spontaneity of development at a level of some complexity without it proving spontaneity at a macro or universal level.
The essence of my point above is that i can see no reason why creation by a creator could not have taken place in a manner that it seems to me is entirely congruent with possibly all of the verifiable data that i have encountered offered in support of evolution without a creator.
In other words, it seems to me that there is no available physical evidence that i am aware of that proves that there is not a creator.
I am willing to accept that there is much evidence that proves that what some people who believe in a creator have said was not accurate. This does not prove that there is not a creator, it simply proves that some people made mistakes. I hold that all human beings make mistakes and that the fact that some people and even most or all people who have believed in creation up to the present have made mistakes does not prove anything other than that they are human and make mistakes.
Insofar as this document is likely to contain mistakes, this does not prove anything about the existence of a creator, it simply proves that at some level i made mistakes and therefore i deduce that i am human.
I hope that this helps to present a point of view on creation that may help some to look at the available data differently.
In the interests of more narrowly defining the above concept, i have elected to call the above "Planned (Engineered) Creative Evolution".
- "Evolution" because i am convinced that what exists today evolved and was not instantaneously or near instantaneously created but developed one increment or prototype at a time.
- "Creative" because i am convinced that this process of evolution required an external agency to happen. More evidence in support of this is offered in subsequent sections.
- "Planned" because i am convinced there was a clear objective of creating an environment in which human kind could be brought into existence and because all the evidence that i see around me about the universe, the planet, plants and animals, etc tells me, as an engineer, that this could not have come into existence without a clear plan.
- "Engineered" because i am convinced that the creative process took place in a systematic manner that embodied the disciplines of engineering, prototyping, progressive development, etc.
As i see it, "planned" and "engineered" are redundant in terms of my understanding of the word "create", it seems to me that others do not all see things this way.
I would therefore like to offer the term "Planned (Engineered) Creative Evolution" as a more detailed definition of "creation" for your consideration.
I leave it to you to decide whether this works for you at some level or not at all. Whether it works for you or not, i ask you to please consider what follows.
17.3. "UNPLANNED (UNENGINEERED) SPONTANEOUS EVOLUTION"
In contrast to planned (engineered) creative evolution, i have concluded that my understanding of "evolution" is currently best summed up by the term "Unplanned (Unengineered) Spontaneous Evolution".
- "Evolution" because i am convinced that there was evolution and it fits.
- "Spontaneous" because i understand "evolution" to be about a process which was not initiated by an external agency and which took place in response to environmental and other stimuli which resulted in progressive, incremental mutation / adaptation of life forms, etc.
- "Unplanned" for the same reason as the previous point. I understand "evolution" to hold that there was no external agency and therefore, i understand this to indicate that there was no plan to evolve to any particular intermediate or end state, it "just happened".
- "Un-engineered" (which i understand is not necessarily "good" English, but i cannot think of another term) for the same reason as the previous point. I understand engineering to require an experienced and knowledgeable being to bring to bear their intellect, knowledge, experience, etc to conceptualize, specify, analyze, design, build, commission, implement and sometimes operate anything that has any complexity.
I accept that the definition offered above is redundant in some respects. I have chosen to accept this redundancy in order to comparatively align the two points of view as i currently think i have understood them. I would like to think that these two definitions more specifically home in on the essence of the point of whether there is a creator or not in a way that you will find at least to some degree useful.
I leave it to you to decide and ask you please to persevere with me even if you do not agree.