One of the sources of confusion is the labels applied to evolution and religious belief. Where a Christian, Jew, or Muslim may say "I know there is a God", and (at least in their terminology and definitions) an agnostic would say they are fallicious, the scientifically minded person still calls evolution a theory. The religious immediately sieze on this - "See, you have no faith in your argument; you talk of probabilities while I speak of spiritual truth". It is a different arena of discussion. The religious person now that there is no hard evidence for their belief system but they use their desire, their fear, and yes, their faith to eliminate the gap between what is presented to them and what they feel is truth. The scientifically bent may believe in evolution just as strongly and with a greater sense of certainty when the lights are off, yet they refuse to enter a dogmatic phase: "I am right and you are wrong." is, in the ideal scientific arena, an impossible statement to make. They acknowledge the portion of the argument that goes "To the best of what I have been presented and currently hold as knowledge in my mind, the belief that I am espousing has greater evidence and likelihood than the one that you are championing. I can't prove that you exist outside of some sort of coma hallucination - to get all Descartes on you - but as a matter of faith I accept that you do in fact exist, that you speak what you truly believe, and that we are in disagreement. We go ahead and assume these parts of the arguement"
Yet, one cannot discount that there may be more to the story. Newton believed that gravity worked because of an ether throughout which everything is transmitted. Einstien destroyed that ideology, but in the end posited an absolute time-space matrix throughout which everything exists and lives in relation to one another. The ideas are similiar, but Einstien's is much more advanced and intricate; in the true sense of the world, it is more subtle. But he had to destroy the old paradigm of ether to construct a new, albiet similiar, paradigm of what "space" is.
In the same way, we needed (and as I rather less eloquently than Einstien attempted to do in my last post) to destroy the prevalent ideologies of morality and purpose before we could construct a new view of it.
Words are fickle things. A friend of mine and I argue constantly over them: she believes that the current usage, since it is the popular and known usage, supercedes the original intention of the word and that I get bogged down in etymology rather than move forward in conversation. I am a lover of what something is intended for and clarity thereof. We both have positive arguments and I believe it comes down to a matter of degree. Shakespeare, the author most people reference in "Proper English" loved portmanteaus and slang, often making up or altering words to suit his immediate purpose and corrupting the language of the time. In the end, recognizing the original intention of something as well as it's current usage and emphasizing the aspect that is necessary for the situation is the correct solution. So let's look at purpose:
The online etymology dictionary has this to say:
- c.1290, from O.Fr. porpos "aim, intention" (12c.), from porposer "to put forth," from por- "forth" (from L. pro- "forth") + O.Fr. poser "to put, place" (see pose). On purpose "by design" is attested from 1590; earlier of purpose (1432).
This is kind of what we thought - it has to do with intention, the phrase "by design" is kind of funny here, considering the subject matter. But let's just go ahead and eliminate the non-religious person's definition, which is more akin of the word "reason"; they would say there is a purpose in a tree's side exposed to the sun growing faster than the shady side - but that is a reason. There is no intent there, it is simple cause and effect.
So, since we went all Galileo on purpose in the last post, can we - now understanding where the Earth is in relationship to the solar system, perhaps find greater systems? Can we, taking purpose back from the great "Father God", now look for intent and aim in the universe as a whole and perhaps find a more comprehensive understanding? And once we do that, can we modify our own self-generated purpose based on a detected intent on such?
That's what we're looking at next....