14. SCIENCE - ENGINEERING - RELIGION
Since writing the outline of section 16 approximately a week has elapsed.
In this time i spent several hours on the internet researching further information, i corresponded with the television channel director mentioned previously and obtained more information from him and i spent considerable time thinking and observing the world around me.
In all of this i was seeking to obtain data with a view to improving my understanding of the situation, understanding other view points and seeing if i could agree with them and seeking to validate or invalidate what i believe based on my life experience and my living environment.
In particular, i was seeking to find "solid provable evidence" of creation.
I was also seeking to better understand my interpretation of the world in which i live and which i have PERSONALLY experienced.
I was also looking for data that would be readily available to as many people as possible and which, as far as possible, would be personally experientially verifiable to as many people as possible.
I was trying to look "close to home" and not rely on any data from third parties but rather to rely on my own personal living environment and life experience with particular emphasis on those components that it seems to me that most people on the planet will be able to relate to at some level.
Each person's environment and life experience is different, however, it increasingly seems to me that there are components that are common to the majority of human beings at some level.
In the sections that follow, i hope to present the evidence that i have found in the hope that you will be able to relate to and personally verify at least some of it.
In doing the above research, analysis and thinking, i became increasingly focused on applying lessons that i have learned as an engineer and scientist.
At the time of writing, i am fifty years old. For about forty five years i have been designing and building things. In my childhood i built things with Meccano (metal components for building models) and built electrical circuits. I graduated to building aviaries (large bird cages) and doing household maintenance and alterations. I have been involved in a "hands on" way with building major extensions to houses, rebuilding motor car engines, rebuilding a boat, building a twenty story office block, a major highway, road cuttings, blasting, major open pit mines, a diversity of computer software, strategic designs for large organizations and many other things.
I have a four year engineering science honours degree in Civil Engineering with distinction and a PhD in materials for construction of large dams for which i received a national award. My basic engineering degree required me to study mathematics, chemistry, physics, statistics, thermodynamics, geology and computer science as scientific disciplines.
I am a registered professional engineer, which means that i have undergone an "apprenticeship" and qualified to take lead responsibility for engineering projects within my domain of knowledge and experience and i accept my responsibility to call in other professionals when required.
I have also been involved in the military as a military engineer and have commanded a regiment of over five hundred men. I have been trained in the tactical and strategic analysis, planning and conduct of military operations up to the scope of thousands of men and all associated land and air combat machines and supporting logistics.
I have also had a lifelong interest in plants and animals and in my youth owned aviaries and bred birds, owned a collection of exotic plants and collected and classified insects as well as collecting rock and mineral samples. Accordingly, i have a hands-on working knowledge of botany, zoology and geology.
I studied Biology at school and excelled, coming first in a national youth science exam and thus have a reasonably solid grounding in zoology, botany, anatomy, taxonomy, etc.
At the time of writing, i have spent the last fifteen years working as a management consultant designing business computer software solutions, advising clients on the implementation and optimization of such solutions and assisting clients with strategy development and implementation.
In the process i have learned much about the psychology of change, what is required to bring about sustainable corporate improvement and about psychology generally.
I have received international recognition for my work on why seventy percent of all business information technology investments fail totally and another twenty percent fail to meet the original business requirement. This recognition includes listing in "Who's Who in the World" for four consecutive years and three other international accolades, refer http://www.jar-a.com for details.
I have recently published a book on "The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success" which seeks to explain why the failure rate is so high and sets out an approach to designing failure out of the solution.
In summary, i have forty five years of extremely diverse experience in the design, construction / creation, implementation and operation of numerous engineering and other systems as well as experience of life and nature.
In this time, i have found that the rigorous approach that i was trained to use at University and my first years in practice as an engineer have been vital to solving complex problems and designing systems that work.
I have also experienced a number of traumatic events in my life, including an extramarital affair, divorce and the loss of access to my children. I have learned much about what it means to be a human being, much about love and grief and other intensely human experiences. I have come to understand that human beings are extremely complex and not amenable to simplistic engineering solutions.
At the same time, i have come to understand that a rigorous engineering approach, appropriately applied, CAN enable one to better understand the "human condition" and spiritual matters and better explain the complex physical, psychological and spiritual organism that i have experienced myself and other human beings to be.
Accordingly, in thinking about this analysis, i have increasingly come to conclude that, as far as i can see, there are three major disciplines that have a bearing on this discussion.
In the interests of making my point, i would like to offer three simplified definitions that seem to be helpful to categorise my thinking. These definitions are not intended to be definitive but are intended to demonstrate a point that seems important to me at this time.
I would like to define three specific disciplines of human endeavour, that is science, engineering and religion. My reality is that, in practice, there is significant overlap in interpretation of some of these terms, however, it seems useful to adopt a simplifying definition for the balance of this document.
Defining "science" and therefore "scientific" seems important since i have encountered a number of statements regarding proof of evolution versus creation that make use of the word "scientific". For example, it has been suggested to me that the arguments used by "creationists" to counter the arguments of a particular proponent of evolution have "major flaws in their scientific reasoning".
I read this to indicate a clear and specific definition of the term "scientific". In other words, i read this particular statement to indicate that "scientific reasoning" is a recognizable discipline that any person debating creation versus evolution should be able and willing to apply.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary includes in it's definition of "science" the statement "Systematic and formulated knowledge".
This seems to me to conform to my perception of what is "scientific". I understand science to relate to systematically gathering data, verifying it and documenting it on the basis of "scientifically" reproducible experiments or other approaches.
To me science is very much about documenting what "is" - things that are verifiable and reproducible.
I am aware that the term "science" is applied much more widely than what i have suggested above, such as in "social science" where, in my experience, one is dealing with relatively abstract interpretations and explanations which are not necessarily always reproducible. There seems to me to be a tendency in such areas for the interpretations and explanations to shift and change.
Once this happens, it seems to me that one is dealing more with the personal opinion of a specific individual or group of individuals rather than with verifiable "scientifically" reproducible fact.
It seems to me that there is a significant difference between stating that one has found a fossil and that it "appears" to be an intermediate form between apes and man and stating that it "is" an intermediate form.
Having said this, it also seems to me that there is a considerable body of evidence to support the view that such fossils do provide evidence of intermediate forms.
The term "missing link" (731,000) is widely used to describe intermediate forms between apes and humankind which are a necessary requirement for evolution without a creator. I am aware of much debate about whether these "links" exist, whether the fossils that have been found are such links, whether there are "sufficient" intermediate forms to explain evolution from ape to man, etc.
While i can accept that there is evidence that appears to indicate the existence of intermediate forms or missing links i have much greater difficulty with statements which i interpret to indicate that this intermediate form (missing link) progressively transformed itself into the form of human being that exists on the planet today in some manner of evolutionary mutation without external intelligent influence.
Since i am absolutely certain that no human being on earth today was present at the time this transformation took place i do not understand how this can possibly be stated with absolute certainty and then be called "scientific".
As i see it, this is a "theory" and the existence of fossil evidence of apparent intermediate forms does not prove or disprove the existence of a creator. It seems to me that until a group of ape's have been isolated in a closed environment for however long it takes for them to change into humans i cannot see how it can be held to be "scientific" that this is possible. If such an experiment requires millions of years then that is how long it will take to prove or disprove evolution without a creator.
It also seems to me that if one is willing to apply the term "science" to "social science" and theories of evolution, that it would be helpful to apply the term science to the study of spiritual matters. It seems to me that if one is willing to call an unreproducible theory about something that allegedly takes millions of years "science" then it would be equitable to be willing to apply that term to matters relating to spirits which millions of people hold to be experientially valid and, at some level, reproducible.
I understand that argument from incredulity neutralizes much of what is written above and i choose not to debate whether this is scientific or not in this section. I consider that this is a personal choice for each reader.
As a graduate scientist, i would like to appeal to anyone who reads this and who holds that evolution without a creator is scientifically verifiable to check out for themselves whether they can really say that the theory of evolution without a creator really is science and whether they are willing to consider other ways of arriving at a conclusion.
14.2. ENGINEERING (AND ARCHITECTURE)
In considering the information that i have at my disposal regarding evolution and creation, i have concluded that both approaches are dealing with the coming into existence of a new state that did not exist before.
As a graduate engineer, i hold that the knowledge and experience associated with bringing new physical states into existence that have not existed previously is primarily a form of engineering.
There is also a role for the "architect" as someone who conceptualizes the overall aesthetics, appearance and, in some cases, broad function of a particular design. This applies particularly in the case of buildings and in certain other design situations.
In the balance of this document i will refer to engineering and not mention the role of the architect in order to reduce complexity. Having said this, i DO consider that there IS an architectural role in creation as i perceive it relating to the overall aesthetics of plants and animals including form, flowers, etc. This seems to me to be further evidence of a creator.
I understand "engineering" to be the analysis, design, construction, implementation and operation of systems, structures, etc which did not exist previously. This includes buildings, vehicles, aircraft and nearly every material item that human beings have brought into existence on this planet. This includes formal and informal engineering.
Engineering as i have experienced it throughout my life is founded on verifiable and reproducible laws and principles of mechanics, physics, chemistry, mathematics, thermodynamics, etc. Engineering is coupled with a large body of knowledge and experience about how to design and build systems that work, whether buildings, machines or any other type of engineering output.
This is supported by "Codes of Practice", standards, professional societies, regulatory bodies and legislation. An engineer who designs or builds a system that fails in a way that suggests negligence or bad practice faces disciplinary hearings and potentially criminal or other legal charges. This can result in an engineer being debarred from practice temporarily or permanently and also result in the engineer and their employer being held personally financially accountable for the damage.
An engineer who publishes a formal technical white paper or book which contains verifiably false on unprovable information that causes loss to others could also face disciplinary measures or at least peer approbation.
Since i perceive the essence of the debate regarding evolution versus creation relates to the manner in which a wide diversity of complex systems came into existence, it seems to me that the application of engineering principles and disciplines is an appropriate approach to seeking to resolve the debate.
Accordingly, i have chosen in that which follows to place considerable reliance on my engineering knowledge and experience and to seek, as best i can, to offer information based on this approach.
I recognize that since we are dealing with abstract and intangible issues arguments can be offered against what i have to say. Again this is a matter of personal choice which i ask you to evaluate.
It seems to me, from my perspective, as one who believes in a creator, a Day of Judgment and a lake of fire, that engineering discipline indicates a requirement for anyone who publishes on this subject. Specifically, it seems to me that someone who alleges that they can prove that there is no creator and speaks about it or publishes about it, to place on record their willingness to accept responsibility if they are in error.
In other words, a statement like "i ... do solemnly take oath and swear that there is no creator, no day of judgment and no lake of fire and declare that if i am in error and there is a creator, a judgment and a lake of fire i will take the place in the lake of fire of everyone who trusts my opinion and acts on it". It seems to me that anyone who tells people that there is no lake of fire should be willing to go there on behalf of those who believe them in the event that they are mistaken.
I consider such a declaration to be comparable to the statutory responsibility that a registered professional engineer or medical doctor carries.
It is not my intention to debate this point. I leave it open to each reader to consider.
One of the things that i am increasingly finding extremely challenging with regard to researching and writing this document is to reconcile the concept of there being a dispute between evolution and creation. This is discussed in more detail below in section 17.
In essence, it seems to me that both creation and evolution are speaking about creation. One is speaking about creation by an external intelligent "engineer" and the other is speaking about creation without a creator, that is, without an engineer.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines create as "bring into existence, give rise to; originate".
It seems to me that what i understand the theory of evolution to offer is a theory about how the universe, the earth and all animals, plants, etc on the earth "originated". I understand this to be the same as saying that the theory of evolution is a theory of creation without a creator. This seems to me to be a contradiction from an engineering sense at least.
In the light of the above, it seems to me that the debate about evolution versus creation is first and foremost a debate about engineering and NOT about science.
It seems to me that at some level all engineers are scientists but most scientists are not engineers. Accordingly, i think that the creator, if there is one, must be an architect and an engineer as well as a scientist.
In making this point, i would like to stress that i, together with many other engineers, regard engineering as an art as well as a science. The phrase "the art of engineering" occurs 2,570 times when searched on Google. Pages with the words -the art of engineering- occur 5,710,000 times. The phrase "the art and science of engineering" occurs 341 times and pages with the words -the art and science of engineering- occur 3,690,000 times.
Based on the points in this section, the remainder of this document makes reference to a number of aspects of widely available data that seem particularly important to me from an engineering point of view. In other words, points that are important in the context of the practical issues which in my experience are really important in designing and building complex systems that work reliably and sustainably in practice.