Lord, You Must Be So Disappointed in Us
Physicists are now in general agreement that our Universe must have been designed; there are too many critical forces and relationships that are necessary for its creation and continued existence for it to have been an accident. Our Universe, our Solar System and our Planet contain many wonders, but for billions of years there was no-one to observe these wonders and contemplate them until the arrival of humans.
Still, at the present time, most other scientists profess to believe that life and its development was through a series of accidents. Increasingly, as the genomes of different life-forms are studied, this position becomes more and more untenable, but the scientific establishment continues strenuously to suppress all challenges, by threats, intimidation and ridicule.
Not until the Cambrian explosion were there creatures with eyes to see and brains to register the wonders of our surroundings, but it took the development of mankind for there to be life-forms that could realize, study and appreciate our world. That so many people still consider it all to be accidental must be a great disappointment to God, because it may be undoing the main reason for our presence here. Still, our concept of time is different from His.
From page 148-9 of the book, “Why Us?”, by James Le Fanu, Pantheon Books, New York, NY, 2009. This is definitely a book worth reading and re-reading.
“The strangest thing about the universe of which we are part is that there should be 'something rather than nothing'. The second strangest, that we humans are the only beings (as far as we can tell) to know both that it does exist, and the extraordinary events that brought it into being. Without that human presence, 'This moving and sublime spectacle of nature would be sad and mute: observed the eighteenth¬century French philosopher Denis Diderot. 'Everything would be a vast solitude, a phenomenon taking place obscurely, unobserved.'
This uniquely human capacity to know the universe exists is predicated on three separate events, each by itself almost as remarkable as the fact of there being 'something rather than nothing'. The first event was the emergence of 'life 3,500 million years ago, touched on in the preceding chapter, where the simplest of single-celled organisms is both an astonishingly complex chemical factory and an encyclopaedia of genetic information transmitting the necessary instructions for those chemical reactions from one generation to the next. The second event was the arrival of the earliest marine creatures, such as the trilobite, six hundred million years ago, with the capacity to see, and so be aware of the external world - thanks to the twin and simultaneous 'innovations' of both the seeing eye and a brain capable of interpreting the image that falls upon it.
That brain would, over time, become enormously more sophisticated and complex, but the universe would still not become 'knowable' till the third and final event, the emergence of humans, with the faculty of language that permits them to think, and then to think about those thoughts and discuss their significance by inserting them into the minds of others gathered around the campfire. Thus, the arrival of our species, witnessed so eloquently by the wondrous art and technology of our earliest ancestors, introduces a radically new element into the universe that had never existed before - the thoughts, values and understanding of what it might all mean.
And it does not end there, for that self-reflective human brain comprehends the world from the perspective of the individual to whom it belongs - so that brain must also acquire the sense of that inner person we know our¬selves to be, and to whom those thoughts belong. And further, that now reflective self must be free to prefer one thought over another, to argue one interpretation over another and recognise the sovereignty of some 'higher court' than its own immediate impressions: the notion of 'the truth', on which all discourse (whether around the campfire or in the university seminar room) depends - where agreeing with another individual is to acknowledge the truth of his argu¬ment, and to disagree is to reject it.
There is more, but the gist is clear enough. The privilege of our species in having a larger brain is by itself not sufficient to 'know' the universe. Man must also possess that perception of himself as an 'autonomous self, free to choose' - or, as the eighteenth-century philosopher Adam Smith put it, 'the impartial and well informed spectator' of himself and his thoughts:
When I endeavour to examine my own conduct. . . I divide myself as it were into two persons; and that I, the examiner and judge, represent a different character from the other I, the person whose conduct is examined into and judged of. The first is the spectator. . . the second is the agent, a person who I properly call myself, and on whose conduct I was endeavouring to form some opinion.
That sense of the autonomous self is more than just a property of the non-material mind, but has a distinctive character whose beliefs and attitudes may change over time but whose personality remains resolutely the same.”
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”