REASONED SPIRITUALITY: exploring spirituality, the meaning of life, the concept of God.

| PART~1 | PART~2 | PART~3 | PART~4 | PART~5 | PART~7 | PART~8 | PART~9 | PART~10 | PART~11 | PART~12 | PART~13 | PART~14 | PART~15 | PART~16 | PART~17 | PART~18 | PART~19 | PART~20 | PART~21 | PART~22 | PART~23 | PART~24 | PART~25 | PART~26 | PART~27 |

Home to Reasoned Spirituality



Each principle that establishes a concept we can refer to as "God", has to be analyzed on its own; but all are interconnected. Most of these principles have been touched on earlier in this work, but will have to be restated for clarity. Taken individually, they can stand on their own as reasonable conclusions; viewed as a whole, they result in the most logical conclusion possible.

The most obvious principle, is that we live within an ordered universe. Whether examining matter from our planet, or from meteorites originating elsewhere in the universe, the atomic structure is the same. All particles maintain the same balance; precisely aligned so that the attractive force equals the repulsive force: electrons are not pulled into the nucleus, nor does centrifugal force fling them away. We, of course, also see this balance on a planetary scale. The natural order is obvious in the way life exists on this planet; with all living things fitting within a balanced ecosystem: changing to adapt to fluctuations in the environment, yet maintaining the overall ratio that ensures a vibrant, and varied, community of life. Each species fills a niche, controlling the balance simply through its existence.

It can be argued with validity, that the physical order of the universe is the result of infinite progression: that over an infinite span of time, matter and energy settled into the most stable form possible; developing from a chaotic state. This is a logical conclusion; however, it is not so easily applied to life. The Earth is finite, and there has been a relatively short period of time, for all life to attain this perfect balance; let alone develop from inanimate material. Think about the complexity of the biological system on this planet. Creatures, such as the dung beetle, which help dispose of the massive amount of excrement produced by the other animals. Bacteria, that live in the intestinal tract, and enable the host animal to digest food. Plants, that convert carbon dioxide into oxygen during the day, when most large creatures are active, and require more of it; and then use the oxygen the plants themselves require, at night. The dust mites, which live in your bed by the millions, and eat the dead skin cells you shed. From the tiny parasite that depends upon one specific species for survival, to the animals that can eat only one particular type of life form; the intricacies of our ecosystem are incredible to behold, and well beyond our comprehension. It is difficult to reason that such order could result from random chance.

The strongest factual evidence of the concept of God, comes from a source that many religions deny: evolution. The basic reason that these religions are afraid of accepting evolution, is because they are aware that it removes the foundation for the belief in a humanoid god, and consequently, the superiority of man. If man, and all other life, evolved into their present forms from something else, it becomes impossible to claim a defining image for your god.

Darwin's theory was a landmark in biological science, and laid the foundation for our current understanding of evolution. The numerous errors in Darwin's works have been corrected through modern research, and evolution is now fact, rather than theory. The basic concept established by science, is that the makeup of a species changes due to alterations in the environment, and those best suited for survival, will gradually replace the others ("survival of the fittest"); this is held to be accomplished through random chance, where the regular pattern of genetic mutation leads to some creatures being, accidentally, better able to survive, and subsequently flourish; while the other genetic mutations die out. In this way, the genetically superior replace the genetically inferior.

There are fatal flaws in the standard evolutionary position. First of all, the fossil record shows that the various types of man, for instance, did not evolve sequentially; they coexisted at numerous stages, and for substantial periods of time. When dramatic changes in the environment occurred, one species would adapt, while another would not; and be driven to extinction. Random mutation should apply equally, but it obviously does not. The pattern of mutation should appear consistent, with gradual and regular change within a species; but this does not happen: fossil research has shown that life goes through long periods of time without discernible change; and very short periods of major change.

Let's use the peppered moth (Biston Betularia), which has a well documented history of recent evolution, as an example. In England, the peppered moth rests on tree bark, its color allowing it to camouflage against the background, which protects it from predators. With heavy industrialization, the air pollution substantially darkened the color of the trees; and the moths quickly evolved into a darker color. Recent research has shown, due to tighter emission controls on coal-burning factories, that the tree bark is returning to a lighter color; and so are the moths. Using the standard model of evolution, we can immediately notice errors. If the moths spent the first few million years living on pristine tree bark, with natural selection allowing light moths to live, breed, and pass on their pale coloration; while predators feasted on the dark variants: all traces of the dark gene would have been eliminated. Yet, when it became necessary to change color to adapt to the environment, the moths quickly did so. The evolutionary process was rapid and widespread; this was not a case of one batch of moth offspring turning up darker because of a random mutation, and slowly passing on their genes throughout the moth community: it was a uniform reaction by the species to an immediate threat to their survival. It is safe to assume that the peppered moths did not communicate their concerns to one another, nor settle on a plan to begin having offspring of a different color.

Geneticists can suggest that the dark gene remained a recessive trait within the moth, and became dominant when the environment dictated a response. This brings up a number of questions. Are creatures capable of retaining, on some sentient level, certain genetic patterns, in anticipation of events: such as man evolving, industrializing, burning coal, and darkening the tree bark? Can an animal, that science suggests lacks the ability to reason, react to a situation in this way? If this response is termed instinctive; is that acknowledging the existence of a mechanism for order within nature?

The giant panda demonstrates another aspect of evolution. This large bear evolved to fit a very specific niche in nature: developing a specialized thumb in order to grasp bamboo plants, which account for ninety-five percent of its diet. Unfortunately for the panda, it still retains the digestive system of a bear, and cannot efficiently digest bamboo; and therefore must spend ten to sixteen hours a day, eating up to eighteen kilograms of plant material, simply to gain enough nutrients to survive. The giant panda began to evolve to suit a certain purpose; but apparently, it is no longer needed, and cannot adapt to the environment. It is likely the most protected creature on the planet, yet the best efforts of man are failing to preserve it. Pandas will not adapt, and will not reproduce at a sufficient rate: they are an evolutionary "dead end".

There are examples of living things that readily adjust, either physically or behaviorally, to change; and others that do not. Why does the incredibly promiscuous, and intelligent, pygmy chimpanzee fail to thrive, even under the perpetual care of humans; while the comparatively mindless mosquito flourishes under constant chemical attack? Why, in a few generations, does a rain forest parrot evolve a different beak to crack other types of nuts, because man has eliminated its original food source; when thousands of other species become extinct because of tropical deforestation? It appears that nature has ultimate control over the survival of a species. Man has driven countless living things to extinction, but others: thousands of types of viruses, weeds, varmints, and insect pests; thrive despite the greatest of efforts by humans, and their technology, to eradicate them. Any species can face a situation where its continued existence is dependent upon changing to fit within a new system of balance; but some sort of control factor may actually determine whether or not the species can change.

The next principle we must examine is innate knowledge: knowing something without learning it through experience; commonly referred to as instinctive response. The amount of knowledge a creature is born with is truly remarkable, involving complex skills that have never been taught. There is a school of thought (Empiricists), which contends that the information gained from experience is the source of all knowledge; but considerable evidence to the contrary has muted this point of view. Arguing that instinctive knowledge is not knowledge as such, is purely semantics; being aware of how to perform an intricate series of actions, in order to achieve a desired goal, can be interpreted as nothing other than having this information in your mind: knowing it.

For my first example, I will use a well-known experiment, that you could perform yourself. Obtain chicken eggs, that are ready to hatch, from a company that supplies chicks to farmers. Once the chicks have hatched, and are dry and alert; place them in a large box with a light overhead, and pass the silhouette of a bird of prey over the box, so that a shadow passes over them. The chicks will react by crouching down, or moving to the walls of the box; and will be noticeably agitated. Now pass the silhouette of a duck over the fledglings; they will not react. This experiment establishes that chickens have innate knowledge: they can identify a predator, know what defensive action to take, and are able to determine the difference between types of birds (tests have concluded that they check for neck length relative to body size: birds of prey have short necks). There are several interesting aspects to this demonstration. The most obvious, is that the chicks have never seen a predator; or even a chicken, for that matter. Going further: these birds have not encountered a natural threat in hundreds of generations; they have been genetically engineered to gain maximum weight and maturity in a matter of weeks, rather than years, and are incapable of living a normal life span. They live out their existence inside a barn, often in cages; and experience nothing outside of their captivity. Yet, even with excessive inbreeding, they have knowledge of the natural world. The fact that these creatures start life as simple fertilized eggs, that are nurtured inside a machine until ready to hatch, isolates them from even the most indirect forms of parental influence; but they retain a species identity: knowing what to eat, how to mate, and care for offspring; and behave exactly as chickens do.

Let's take a brief look at kangaroos; specifically, their system of gestation. A baby kangaroo is born prematurely, and is actually still a foetus when it emerges from the birth canal. It then crawls by grasping its mothers fur, from the vagina to the pouch, where it enters and attaches itself to the nipple, and begins suckling. It knows the correct direction to go to find the mother's pouch, and knows how to obtain sustenance, once there. The foetus accomplishes all this while blind, and without any assistance from the parent. The kangaroo has all the knowledge and skills it requires to ensure survival, prior to development.

Now look at the human infant; it doesn't possess the amount of knowledge that many other creatures require at birth, but it does know enough to survive. It can locate its food source, and knows how to draw milk from it; and it is aware that crying results in its needs being fulfilled. Other, intuitive knowledge is evident throughout human life; but that will be discussed later.

We have determined that living things are born with knowledge, and skills, that are not learned. Examining creatures that have no contact with parents during development, such as those hatched from eggs, demonstrates that there are no last minute instructions somehow transferred from parent to offspring. Pursuing this line of reasoning, we must conclude that all the knowledge necessary for survival, and species awareness, exists on a cellular level. Since it is obvious that single-celled creatures are complete entities from the start, we will concentrate on the more complex organisms. Life, as an individual, begins as a single cell, which, through division, gradually forms a viable creature. All that can be referred to as instinctive knowledge must be passed from the parents to the offspring at the beginning; this is when a cell ceases to be entirely of the parent, and becomes another life. In humans, this would be the moment of conception, when the incomplete sperm cell joins with the incomplete egg cell; allowing the split chromosomes to pair up, and form a complete cell (a zygote). This transfer of knowledge is remarkable on the level discussed; but it goes further than that. The zygote also carries a set of instructions that the conscious mind is unaware of: the blueprint for life. The fertilized cell must assign a destiny for each new cell produced through division: cells must become nerve cells, heart cells, brain cells, etc.; and each must know when to stop, when to change, and each must carry the information contained in the blueprint. Every cell must know everything that is a living organism: species awareness, how to survive, and how to construct a life form; cell by cell. Each must know how to reproduce and feed itself; and must cooperate with the entire cellular community, in order to survive.

We can see that all knowledge necessary for life, including evolutionary change, is passed along a species, generation to generation; a physical piece of each generation exists in the next. There is an unbroken chain stretching back to the beginning of life on this planet, and therein lies the question: where did the first single-celled life forms get their knowledge? How did life, not only spontaneously generate; but how did it know what was required for survival? It is not necessary to spend much time arguing the theory that an accidental chemical reaction caused the origin of life: obviously, laboratory experiments creating proteins and amino acids, from matter and energy, are only demonstrating that complex molecules can be formed in that way; it is not life. The important point is that for life to exist, it must function within its environment. Living things must be aware of, on some level, how to gain nutrients, how to excrete wastes, and what type of conditions are detrimental or beneficial to survival. Life must know the mechanics of reproduction, including the methodology of passing on the genetic blueprint, and all its innate knowledge. Life must know how to adapt to changes in its environment; which implies something comparable to reasoning. In other words, life cannot spontaneously appear as just a complex structure of molecules; it must begin as a complete entity, with all the knowledge and skills, as well as the perfect molecular structure required for existence, or it is not life. If one attribute is missing, the organism cannot exist: there is no room for trial and error in this situation. Life must come into being with purpose; if it does not have the intent of perpetuating itself, it exists for a moment, and then is gone forever. Life cannot appear as one random cell in a hostile environment, where no organic compounds exist, and fill a planet in such a relatively short period; there must be widespread seeds of life to ensure success. I cannot logically reason toward a scenario where all of these conditions are met by one random mixing of chemical components: life is constructed of atoms; but knowledge, reason, and intent are not defined as matter.

The various principles discussed in this chapter lead me to only one conclusion: there is a form of order in the universe that we do not have words to describe; therefore, God is the only appropriate term we can apply. A universal, infinite awareness? Something that balances and controls all that exists, and exists within all? Ancient man, and his Animism, viewed the world in this manner; but required the attachment of human characteristics to make it conceivable. Philosophers over the ages have come back to principles of Animism, while trying to interpret existence. Perhaps there is an instinctive awareness of this natural order; and all our religions, philosophies, and moral guidelines; are our futile attempts to make this innate knowledge understandable to everyone. Pantheism is reasonably close to my conclusion, with one notable exception: there is purpose; everything perpetuates. Life is given every opportunity to succeed within the balance. Living things do not decide to evolve to follow changes in the environment, it is accomplished on a different level. If there was no purpose, to perpetuate, then there is no advantage to order over chaos; it is not necessary for the universe to settle into a stable form, when everything can exist in an eternal chaotic state. Without purpose, there is no reason for a species to adapt, or disappear: balance would not be an issue, and one species would come to destroy all others, and subsequently itself, because there is no reason for life to continue.

"Deus sive natura" (God is/or nature); this is the simplest way of looking at it: the words "God" and "nature" are the same, and are interchangeable. The concept of God goes considerably further than our limited perception of nature, but it is a starting point. If we strip away all the anthropomorphic attributes of God, and quit trying to make ourselves into gods, we are left with a natural balancing force that exists eternally as part of the universe. Man has no preeminence over anything else; he is simply part of the order, part of the universe, and part of God. As cells are part of living things, and molecules are part of cells; so man and all his components, are part of God. There is no ultimate creator; in an infinite universe, creation is meaningless. If you cannot accept the principle of infinity; then who created your creator? There is no ultimate doomsday; man may become extinct, but the universe continues on, as does the sum of the components that were once man.

Earlier, we analyzed the way cells in your body work as a community to allow you to function as a complete entity, yet each cell has certain knowledge that you are not capable of understanding (e.g. blueprint for life). Every cell functions as an individual in some ways, but must also work within the community of cells toward the same goals, in order to survive. It is very unlikely that a cell is aware of you as an entity; just as you are unaware of the individual workings of each of your cells. You and your cells function on different levels of awareness, yet are dependent upon each other for survival. The cells are each part of their immediate whole, your body; just as you are part of Nature/God. On a grander scale: everything that exists is a component of God, paralleling the cellular example. God is the sum of all the awareness that exists in all things, and subsequently, God is without a defining image or location; and is therefore by definition: omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient (all present, all powerful, all knowing). All the religions that are striving to become "one with God" are pursuing a redundant point: we are already there. The argument over one god is also unnecessary; if everything is a component of God, then there is only one sum of everything.

In a fundamental way, we will always be part of God/Nature. Matter and energy, which are the basic components that make us what we are, exist forever. Death is only an end to the structure of the form, not the constituents of it. Your cells die every day, yet you do not mourn the loss of those entities that gave you life, and hold all the knowledge that is you. The elements that made up the cells go on to be part of other life, other things, other energy. The awareness that was part of them goes...? That is a question which cannot be answered using reasoned analysis; there is not enough information available to reach a logical conclusion. I can only speculate on several points, and ponder a number of questions. Mass and energy are merely the components that enable awareness/thought, and the amount of mass and energy constantly fluctuates within an entity; therefore awareness is not dependent upon an exact pattern of basic elements. Does this mean that your sentience can exist within other patterns? The number of brain cells constantly declines from your thirties, until your death: has part of your awareness dispersed into other forms, or is it handicapped by physical constraints? If your mind is attuned to the universal awareness that is God/Nature, is the transition from your present form, into another state, more likely to preserve your connected awareness within God?

Thousands upon thousands of religions have created mystical answers to these questions, but they all require the suspension of reason. Viewing their explanations from a logical perspective, they inspire compassion within me. It is so sad that so many people are desperate for the promise of another chance, that they will intentionally block out reasoned thought, in order to have some element of hope in their lives. Too many people carry a burden of subconscious guilt; too many individuals demand a reward for a life of "good" behavior. I wish all people could be happy with their existence within the universe, and live a life that does not require a chance for atonement; because they have lived with an understanding of their part of it all, and therefore have nothing to regret, and nothing to make amends for. If you know your place within God/Nature, you will do what is right, simply because there are no alternatives. These principles, that we define as morality, can be defined logically, and are part of our roles as components of the human race. In the next chapter, we will begin looking at the fundamental animal drives that create the basic moral structure. Later, we will look at going beyond animal instinct.

Site map indexHomeComments?Links to other interesting sites
Part 1:  IntroductionPart 2:  BalancePart 3:  DivisionsPart 4:  Unitypart 5:  Concept of GodPart 6:  Defining GodPart 7:  SexualityPart 8:  Instinctive MoralityPart 9:  Moral Compromise - ReproductionPart 10: Moral Obligation - reproductionPart 11:  DeterminismPart 12:  Determining Our DestinyPart 13: Good and EvilPart 14:  Crime and PunishmentPart 15:  Belief - fact and faithPart 16: MaterialismPart 17: AppreciationPart 18: Abstract PerceptionPart 19:  RelationshipsRelationships (conclusion)Part 21:  DeathPart 22:  KnowledgePart 23: Knowledge - geneticsPart 24: Knowledge (conclusion)Part 25: Meaning of LifePart 26: Meaning of Life (continued)Part 27: Meaning of Life (conclusion)

Copyright 1998 B.W.Holmes - all rights reserved (unless noted otherwise). Quotes from ancient literary works do not carry a copyright.