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Sunday, November 08, 2015

A "Mechanical" Philosophy for the 21st Century

"The Elizabethan concept of a universe running like clockwork must give way to a new philosophy for the information age." continues Evolution News & Views

Photo: From The Workhorse of the Cell: Kinesi

In Francis Bacon's day, it was easy to oversimplify nature. Elizabethan scientists began to conceive of a world that ran like a machine. Robert Boyle was a strong proponent of the mechanical philosophy. Soon, Isaac Newton's clockwork heavens reinforced the notion that all the Creator had to do was wind it up, and let it run all by itself. From Boyle to Babbage, the Newtonian revolution showed the way for scientific progress: just uncover the natural laws that make the universe run.

By the late 18th century and into Victorian times, mechanical philosophy was sufficient unto itself. An original Designer could be conceived of, perhaps, but as science progressed, the Prime Mover had less and less to do. Some argued that it was an insult to the Watchmaker to suggest he needed to intervene and fix the watch.

Then molecular biology arrived, and we found out the clocks are real. Literal machines made of molecules make life run. Simultaneously, the computer age dawned and we learned a bit about programming. Now, robotics is here. We're going to need a new philosophy: one that can handle realities the Elizabethans and Victorians could never have imagined.

It's important to note that we're not speaking of mechanistic or reductionist philosophy. See Jay Richards's clarification. We seek an explanation for how natural machinery can operate without continuous intervention.

Source: Discovery Institute

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