7:30 pm, Wednesday, December 12, 2007|
Fairmont Social Lounge, St. John's College
Reinventing the Sacred: Breaking the Galilean Spell
University of Calgary
Since Galileo, Newton, and Laplace, Western science and civilization
has been under the sway of a reductionist 'Galilean Spell', whereby
everything in the universe is ultimately governed by natural law.
But the evolution of life is emergent and cannot be reduced to
physics alone. Darwinian pre-adaptation is the evolutionary
emergence of a novel function for an unused part of an organism. A
classic case is the emergence of swim bladders from lungs in certain
fish. However we cannot finitely prestate all the relevant selective
environments that might call forth, by selection, the pre-adaptation
with its novel function. If a natural law is a compact description
of the regularities of a process, then Darwinian pre-adaptations are
not sufficiently covered by natural law. The evolution of the
biosphere and human culture are thus partially lawless and creative
in unpredictable ways. We have, if we wish, the right to use the
"God" word to stand for the natural creativity in the universe.
This, I hope, is a 'reinvention of the sacred', that can be a shared
spiritual space for all of us, amidst growing fundamentalisms.
Lives, as well as the sacred, hang in the balance.
Find out more
by visiting his website.
Additional resources for this talk: video.